What Can I Use My SSI Money For?

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Social Security Income provides monthly payments for people with low income who have few resources. These payments are for people who are age 65 or older, blind or are disabled. SSI is a federally funded program and pays the same dollar amount to all participants in the nation. Based on changes to the Consumer Price Index each year, cost of living adjustments change benefits each January. In 2011, however, because the cost of living had no adjustment, SSI remained the same. The benefit is $674 for an individual and $1,011 for a couple. States other than Arkansas, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee and West Virginia supplement this benefit.

Housing and Utilities

If you live in your own home or apartment, you can use your SSI money for housing and utility expenses. You can also use it to pay your portion of the expense of sharing a home or apartment with someone else. If you are homeless, you can receive your full SSI payment and may be eligible for subsidized housing. Anyone living in a public shelter will be paid SSI money for six months out of every nine months.


When you receive SSI, your state or county will also provide monthly food stamp benefits for food purchases. Income and expenses for mortgage or rent, utilities and child or elder care, if required, determines food stamp eligibility.

Medical and Dental Expenses

When you qualify for SSI, you will receive additional help. Medicaid pays for doctor and hospital bills, as well as prescription drug coverage. Your state may also pay for Medicare for additional benefits. You must receive SSI for 24 months to be eligible for Medicare benefits. You may use your SSI benefits for any medical or dental expenses not covered by Medicaid or Medicare.

Personal Care Items and Clothing

After you have used the SSI benefits for your housing, utilities, food and medical and dental expenses, remaining dollars can purchase personal care items and clothing. You can also use this money for recreation, phones and miscellaneous purchases.