SSI Eligibility

Financial Qualifications Requirements for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Individuals must meet very specific requirements to be eligible for Supplemental Security Income benefits. First you must meet the income and resource requirements which are outlined by the Federal government:

Limited Income
According to the Social Security Administration you must have limited income. Income can be earned income (wages), unearned income (Social Security benefits, pensions, state disability payments, unemployment benefits, and cash from friends and family), in-kind income (any food or shelter that you receive which is less than the fair market value), or deemed income (income from your spouse or parents). However, If you meet the federal requirements and were denied SSI you may need to contact a disability lawyer in your state.

Not all types of income are counted as “income” for the SSI program, but in general, the more income you receive the less Supplemental Security Income benefits will be paid to you. If your countable income is higher than the amount allowed, you will not qualify for Supplemental Security Income payments.

Limited Resources
To qualify for Supplemental Security Income, you must also have limited resources. The Social Security Administration considers resources as things you own such as: land, vehicles, personal property, bank accounts, United States’ Savings Bonds, life insurance, and cash. The current limit for 2011 is $2000 per individual and $3000 per couple.

Not all resources are counted by the Social Security Administration. Currently, the SSA exempts the following resources: See

Your primary residence and land
Personal effects and household goods.
Burial plots for your immediate family members
Burial funds for you and your spouse up to $1,500
Life insurance policies for $1500 or less
One vehicle
Grants, fellowships, or gifts which are set aside to pay for educational costs within 9 months after their receipt

Retroactive SSI or Social Security benefits for up to nine months after you receive them

Non-economic Eligibility Requirements for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
In addition to the economic eligibility requirements listed above, you must also meet the non-economic requirements to receive Supplemental Security Income. SSI will only be awarded to you if you are one of the following:

Aged — You must be age 65 years or older.

Blind — You must be considered “blind” by the Social Security Administration which means you must have “a central visual acuity field of 20/200 or less in your better eye after corrective action or you must have a visual field limitation in your better eye, such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees.”
Disabled — You must be considered disabled by the Social Security Administration which means you must have a mental or physical health condition that causes such severe functional limitations that you are unable to perform substantial work, and the condition is expected to last for at least 12 continuous months.

Additionally, you must be an United States citizen or national or be included in a certain category of alien.