What are the Requirements for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
In order to qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you need to have a disability that keeps you from working. You also have to be living on little income and resources. Unfortunately, applicants need to live on next to nothing to qualify for this program. This page discusses the exact resources that the Social Security Administration (SSA) uses to determine your eligibility for SSI.
What are "Resources" in SSI?
Resources are things you already own, as opposed to money in your bank account or what you make from income. Resources include:
- Bank accounts, stocks, U.S. savings bonds
- Life insurance
- Personal property
- Items you own that can be changed to cash and used as food or shelter
- Deemed resources
Deemed resources are those that you share with the spouse or parent you are living with. If a parent tries to get benefits for their disabled child and they are a single parent, $2,000 of their countable resources does not count. If the child lives with two parents, then $3,000 doesn't count.
The SSA does not consider the following items to be resources when determining SSI eligibility:
- The home you live in and the land it sits on.
- Your household goods and personal effects.
- Your wedding and engagement rings.
- Burial plots for you and your immediate family.
- Burial funds up to $1,500 for you and your spouse.
- Life insurance policies up to $1,500.
- One vehicle if you or a member of your household uses it for transportation.
- Retroactive SSI or other Social Security benefits for up to nine months after you receive them
- Property essential to self-support
- And others that can be found here.
Some resources are not counted for the first few months that a person has them. These include:
- Cash received for medical or social service.
- State or local relocation assistance.
- Crime victim's assistance.
- Earned income tax credit payments.
- Grants, scholarships, and fellowships.
- Gifts set aside for educational expenses.
Some individuals may find that the total value of their resources exceeds the limit for SSI eligibility. You may sell or give away some resources in order to meet the requirements, but you want to make sure that the benefits outweigh the hardships before making this decision.