Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

The Basics

If you have a disability, are blind, or are over age 65 and you also have low income and limited resources, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a program run by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

If you qualify for SSI, you get monthly payments to help you pay for your basic needs. A person who is single can get up to $974.25 per month in benefits. You also get Medicaid health coverage automatically, without having to file a separate application.

If you get SSI benefits and start working, you'll probably end up better off financially. SSI's rules are designed to help you find work and make sure that your total income will be higher after you get a job.

This article looks in detail at SSI’s rules for adults ages 18 64. Learn more about the rules for children under 18 in DB101’s Benefits for Young People article.

Don't get SSI mixed up with other programs

There are three public disability benefits with very similar names:

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) gives monthly payments to people with disabilities who have low income and low resources. You do not need to have worked in the past to get SSI. SSI is explained in this article.
  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) gives monthly payments to people with disabilities who qualify because they used to work. Learn more in DB101’s SSDI article.
  • New Jersey Temporary Disability Insurance (TDI) gives short-term monthly payments to people who have to stop working due to an illness, injury, or pregnancy. Learn more about TDI.

Some people qualify for both SSDI and SSI at the same time. If you get benefits from Social Security, but aren’t sure which ones you get, open a free my Social Security account or order a free Benefits Planning Query (BPQY) at your local Social Security office or by calling 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778 (TTY).

Get Expert Help

If you have questions about SSI and need to talk with somebody, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778 (TTY) or visit your local Social Security office.

If you want to ask about how work might affect your SSI benefits, try contacting:

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