The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, which provides benefits to certain low-income citizens and permanent residents of the United States. Though administered at the federal level, the specifics of the SSI program differ slightly from state-to-state contingent upon the structure of state social programs. Some states, including Washington, make supplemental payments to certain qualified SSI recipients. Those eligible for SSI also qualify for some related benefits in Washington state.
The SSI program provides cash benefits to low-income blind, disabled or elderly Americans aged 65 or older struggling to purchase basic necessities like food, clothing and shelter. Families of blind or disabled children may receive SSI for the benefit of the child. The program does not set specific income limits in its eligibility requirements, but considers a number of factors, including income level, sources of income, living situation and other assistance from nonprofit agencies. In 2011, the maximum monthly SSI payment is $674 for individuals and $1,011 for couples. The monthly maximum changes in accordance with the Consumer Price Index.
Washington State Supplement
The government of Washington provides supplemental payments to SSI recipients. As of 2011, SSI recipients living independently or in the household of another receive a maximum supplement of $46 per individual and $92 per couple. Individuals living with an ineligible spouse or in the house of another along with an ineligible spouse receive a maximum supplement of $46 in 2011. Those living in a Medicaid facility receive a maximum supplement of $27.28 for individuals and $47.36 for couples.
Additional Washington Payments
Washington provides some financial assistance to SSI recipients in addition to the standard supplements. Blind individuals receiving SSI may qualify for an additional monthly payment of $33.66 designed to assist with the purchase of food for a seeing-eye dog. The state also awards $11.13 for laundry costs and $187.09 per month, or $6.04 per day, for meals purchased in restaurants. Benefits exist to pay for telephone service and meals on wheels, though the amount of such benefits varies based on location and the cost of such services.
SSI and Other Benefits
The eligibility requirements and application materials are the same for SSI and Medicaid in Washington. Medicaid constitutes a form of medical coverage provided jointly by federal and state governments to low-income Americans. When you apply for SSI in Washington, you automatically apply for Medicaid as well. Eligible applicants receive both benefits and medical coverage. Americans eligible for both SSI and standard Social Security benefits may receive both. Because the funding for these programs comes from different sources, they are not mutually exclusive.