Social Security Income (SSI) is a federal income supplement program that is funded by taxes. It is designed to help those who are aging, disabled or visually impaired and cannot earn enough income to support themselves. It is not to be confused with Social Security, which is a retirement benefit earned through contributions while working. Let’s answer a few of the most common questions about SSI.
Social Security Income vs. Social Security
The most common source of confusion when it comes to SSI vs. Social Security is that SSI is need-based. Regular Social Security is not based on need, but is money for which the person is eligible depending on contributions during their working years. SSI is meant to provide food, shelter, clothing and basic needs. To qualify for SSI, you must be below certain income levels. If your income rises above these levels, you might no longer be eligible.
SSI and Grants
If you are on SSI, grants are available to help with housing, vocational rehabilitation, utility bills and other basic needs. SSI grants are also available to help certain disabled veterans with needed home repairs. Women with disabilities might also be eligible for SSI grants.
Hundreds of types of grants are available through government and private agencies for those in need. You can find out more about SSI grants that are available and how to apply by visiting the Social Security Administration website.
SSI Recipients and Stimulus
Did SSI recipients get stimulus checks? Yes, SSI recipients were eligible to receive the stimulus check. However, many SSI recipients never received a check. If this is the case, there are several things you need to do.
The first is to make sure you filed your 2019 and 2020 taxes, even if you do not usually need to do so. If you did not yet receive either the first, second or third stimulus check, you should go to the Get My Payment portal to find out the status of your payment. If the portal says you should have received it, but you did not, you need to call the IRS to find out what the issue is and how to fix it. Many people who are waiting for their stimulus checks need to provide updated bank account or address information.
Borrowing Against SSI
Can you borrow money from SSI disability? If you find yourself in a financial bind, you might wonder whether you can borrow from SSI disability. You cannot borrow against your SSI from the government.
However, there is a program available called the “Presumptive Disability Program” that is available through SSI that will give you a one-month emergency loan while you are waiting for your disability checks to arrive. This is a loan, and you will have to pay it back once you start receiving SSI. It is usually only granted for issues such as a lack of food or shelter.
Many states also have an interim assistance program that might be able to help out if it appears you qualify for SSI.
SSI Disability Payment Amounts
What is the highest SSI payment? The highest amount for an individual as of 2021 is $794 per month. An eligible couple can receive up to $1,191 per month. If you receive any type of income, such as part-time income, self-employment, income from your spouse, interest income, Social Security benefits or unemployment benefits, they will be deducted from the amount you could be eligible to receive. For SSI, any income that could be converted to providing food or shelter will be deducted from your monthly benefit amount.
Adam Luehrs is a writer during the day and a voracious reader at night. He focuses mostly on finance writing and has a passion for real estate, credit card deals, and investing.