96.006: Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Objectives: To assure a minimum level of income to persons who have attained age 65 or are blind or disabled, whose income and resources are below specified levels.



Applicant Eligibility: The eligibility of an individual who has attained age 65 or who is blind or disabled is determined on the basis of an assessment of the individual's monthly income and resources. In determining a month's income, the first $20 of Social Security or other income is not counted. An additional $65 of earned income ($85 if the person had no unearned income) received in a month plus half of the remainder above $65 (or $85) also is not counted. If, after these (and certain other) exclusions, an individual's countable income, effective January 1996, is less than $470 per month ($705 for a couple, both of whom are aged, blind or disabled) and countable resources are less than $2,000 ($3,000 for a couple), the individual is eligible for payments.

The values of household goods, personal effects, an automobile, and property needed for self support are, if within limits set out in regulations, excluded in determining value of resources. Burial spaces and a total of $1,500 each for an individual and spouse for separately identifiable burial funds, life insurance policies, and irrevocable burial funds are excluded. The value of a home is also excluded in resource valuation.

Beneficiary Eligibility: Individuals who have attained age 65 or are blind or disabled and who continue to meet the income and resources tests. Eligibility may continue for beneficiaries who engage in substantial gainful activity despite disabling physical or mental impairments.

Credentials/Documentation: Proof of age, marital status, establishment of income and resources, establishment of blindness or disability, proof of residence in the U.S. and citizenship, lawful admission to the U.S. for permanent residence, or permanent residence under color of law may be required.


Preapplication Coordination: None. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.

Application Procedure: Phone or visit the local Social Security Office.

Award Procedure: The individual (or representative payee) will be notified by mail of award or denial.

Deadlines: None. No benefits are paid for months prior to the month of application or days in that month prior to application.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time: Not applicable.

Appeals: Phone or visit the local Social Security Office. The appeal process ranges from a district office conference to a review by the Federal Courts. Appeals must be filed within 60 days of the date on which a written notice of unfavorable decision is received by the applicant.

Renewals: A redetermination of a person's benefit amount and continuing eligibility will be made on a scheduled basis at periodic intervals. Unscheduled redeterminations are made when changes in circumstances are reported. The length of time between scheduled redetermination varies depending on the likelihood that the beneficiary's situation may change in a way that affects payment amount or eligibility. About 28% of all cases were redetermined in fiscal year 1994.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals: Not applicable.

Examples of Funded Projects: Not applicable.

Range & Average of Financial Assistance: Monthly Federal cash payments range from $1 to $470 for an aged, blind, or disabled individual who does not have an eligible spouse, and from $1 to $705 for an aged, blind, or disabled individual and an eligible spouse. These rates became effective January 1996.

The average Federal monthly benefit for fiscal year 1995 was $335. The estimated average Federal monthly benefit for fiscal year 1996 is $345. The estimated average Federal monthly benefit for fiscal year 1997 is $360.


96.006 PROGRAM ACCOMPLISHMENTS: In fiscal year 1995, an average of 6,070,000 persons per month were Federal Supplemental Security Income recipients. It is estimated that in fiscal year 1996, an average of 6,310,000 recipients received monthly cash benefits. During fiscal year 1997, the average number receiving payments is estimated to increase to 6,478,000 per month. These numbers include all additional recipients anticipated as a result of the Zebley court case. Not included are those persons who receive only State supplementary payments, some of which are administered by the Social Security Administration for the States as part of the SSI program.



Type of Assistance: Direct Payments with Unrestricted Use; Direct Payments for Specified Use.

Obligations: (Benefit Payments) FY 95 $24,443,727,000; FY 96 est $24,230,000,000; and FY 97 est $27,955,000,000.

Budget Account Number: 75-0406-0-1-609.

Authorization: Social Security Act of 1935, Title XVI, as amended; Public Laws 92-603, 93-66, 93-233, 93-368, 93-484, 94-202, 94-331, 94-365, 94-455, 94-566, 94-569, 94-585, 95-171, 96-222, 96-265, 96-473, 96-611, 97-35, 97-123, 97-248, 97-377, 97-424, 98-21, 98-369; Public Laws 98-460, 99-178, 99-272, 99-514, 99-570, 99-643, 100-203, 100-360, 100-647, 100-707, 101-41, 101-239, 101-42, 101-201, 101-239, 101-277, 101-508, 101-517, 101-649, 102-170, 102-394, 103-66, 103-112, 103-152; Public Laws 103-296, 103-387, and 103-432; 42 U.S.C. 1381-1383d.

Regulations, Guidelines, & Literature: Code of Federal Regulations, Title 20, Parts 401, 416, and 422. "SSI for Aged, Blind, and Disabled People" and other publications are available from any Social Security Office without charge.


Regional or Local Office: Consult Appendix IV of the Catalog.

Headquarters Office: Office of Public Inquiries, Room 4100, Annex, Social Security Administration, Baltimore, MD 21235. Phone: (410) 965-2736. Use the same number for FTS.


Formula & Matching Requirements: This program has no statutory formula. Some mandatory State supplements are required by supplemental security income law to maintain former State recipients' December 1973 payment levels at pre-supplemental security income levels, increased by cost-of-living adjustments, where such payments were higher than the initial supplemental security income standards. States also have the option of paying supplements. The Social Security Administration will administer under agreements with States both mandatory and optional State supplements. States paying supplements are required by supplemental security income law to maintain their State supplement levels when Federal standards are increased.

Length & Time Phasing of Assistance: Benefits are paid monthly. Accrued benefits are paid in a lump sum.

Uses & Use Restrictions: Supplemental security income payments are made to persons who have attained age 65 or who are blind or disabled. There are no restrictions on the use of benefits received by beneficiaries, although the right to future benefits is not transferrable or assignable. The Federal government gives the State funds, in advance or by way of reimbursement, for necessary costs in making disability determinations under 20 CFR Part 404 Subparts P and Q and Part 416 Subpart I and J. Necessary costs are direct as well as indirect costs as defined in 41 CFR Part 1-15, Subpart 1-15.7 of the Federal Procurement Regulations System for costs incurred before April 1, 1984; and 48 CFR part 31, Subpart 31.6 of the Federal Acquisition Regulations System and Federal Management Circular A-74-4 as amended or superseded for costs incurred after March 31, 1984.


Reports: Any change of address or any event affecting eligibility or benefit amount (such as an increase in resources or income or improvement of disabling condition) must be reported to the Social Security Administration when the event occurs.

Audits: None.

Records: None.

What now?

[ Top | Main Topics | Related Programs ]

[ Start a new search | Home Page ]