The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides monthly payments to people who are low income, age 65 and older or are blind or have a qualifying disability. Blind or disabled children can also receive SSI. The Social Security Administration manages the SSI program with U.S. Treasury general funds. As the Social Security Administration points out in its online booklet, "Supplemental Security Income (SSI)," SSI is not paid for with Social Security taxes.
Single Income Qualifications
In addition to meeting threshold qualifications of age or disability, getting SSI depends on your income and resources. Income includes wages, Social Security payments and pensions. Some amounts that are not counted toward income include the first $20 a month of most income, food stamps and energy assistance. Resources include real estate, bank accounts, cash, stocks and bonds. Generally, more than $2,000 in resources disqualifies you from getting SSI. For 2010, the monthly income limit for an individual with income only from wages is $1,433. For an individual getting income not from wages, the maximum is $694.
Couple Income Qualifications
A couple whose income is solely from wages is limited to $2,107 per month. For a couple with income not from wages, the SSI cutoff is $1,031 per month. When married, part of your spouse's income and resources will be counted toward disqualification limits. Some resources that are not counted toward qualifying for SSI are the land and house where you live, usually a car, small life insurance policies, burial plots and $1,500 each for burial funds for you and your spouse.
Other SSI exclusions
For potential SSI recipients under the age of 18, part of the parents' income and resources are included to determine eligibility. For students, some wages or scholarships may not count.
SSI Income Reductions
For SSI recipients with income, the Social Security Administration cautions that a monthly benefit will generally be lower than the maximum SSI federal payment. For 2010, maximum SSI federal payments are $674 for an individual and $1,011 for a couple.
Austin resident Thomas Charles has written professionally for more than 30 years, first as a daily newspaper reporter, more recently online with SEO content, consumer and high tech marketing, public relations and grant campaigns. He holds a journalism and law degree from the University of Texas.