Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") is a federal program administered by the the Social Security Administration.
Eligibility for SSI
It is for people with limited income and assets, similar to Medicaid. If you get SSI, you will also get Medicaid. It is not a lot of money, but is is a lifesaver for disabled people who cannot work. In NY and CT, the state adds some money to the monthly benefit the federal government provides.
SSI and SSDI
It is all a bit confusing, but it should not be confused with Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI"). SSDI is a Social Security program that covers you if you become disabled before you reach retirement age and aren't able to work. SSDI is based on your contributions to the Social Security System and is not based on need.
SSI is for people who are disabled, blind, or age 65 or older.
SSI is paid as a monthly benefit.
SSI beneficiaries also receive food stamps in NY and CT.
SSI Asset and Income Limits
To get SSI, your assets have to be less than $2K ($3K for couples) and your monthly income less than $733 ($1,100 couples) in 2015. You are allowed to keep some assets such as a home, car and things needed for work. If you are working, only half your paycheck counts against the income limit.
Special Needs Trusts and ABLE Accounts
One of the primary planning tools for SSI recipients is the Special Needs Trust, Pooled Trust or ABLE account.
In addition, Special Needs Trusts and ABLE accounts can often allow you to have assets and still receive SSI. These Trusts are authorized by Section 1917(d)(4)(A) and (C) of the Social Security Act.
Getting on SSI and then maintaining eligibility may be very confusing and difficult and the right lawyer can help walk you through the process, protect your assets and maximize your income.