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Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) pays monthly cash benefits to people who have both limited income and limited resources. The Social Security Administration administers this federal program. If eligible, individuals may receive both SSI and Social Security benefits. In addition, and in most states, a person who receives SSI benefits is automatically eligible for health benefits under Medicaid.

What You Should Know

To qualify for SSI, individuals or couples must be age 65 or older or blind or disabled. Individuals or couples also must be U.S. citizens. There are certain exceptions for non-citizens.

Applicants' resources (cash, bank accounts, real estate, life insurance, stocks and bonds, and the like) cannot exceed: 

  • $2,000 for an individual
  • $3,000 for a couple

Certain resources, such as a home, a small burial fund, or one car, usually do not count.

Monthly SSI benefit would be:

The amount of the SSI benefit depends on the income the individual or couple receives. The average federal SSI benefit for 2009 is:

  • $674 per month for an individual
  • $1,011 per month for a couple

For More Information

The Social Security Administration provides a great deal of information on its Web site: 

You can find out whether or not you're eligible for SSI by visiting your local Social Security office or by calling the Social Security Administration, toll-free, at 1-800-772-1213 (English and Spanish). You can also apply over the telephone, and it's best to apply as soon as possible. There is no charge to apply for SSI benefits.

In addition, you can identify valuable state, federal, and private assistance programs on AARP Foundation Benefits QuickLINK. Answer a few questions, and get fact sheets, applications, and Web sites for help that you, your grandchildren, or your parents may be eligible to receive.

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