Qualifying for Supplemental Security Income With Social Security

By Deborah Banikowski
District Manager, Syracuse

We pay monthly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to people with disabilities who have low income and few resources, and people who are age 65 or older without disabilities who meet the financial limits and rely on medicare supplement options.

Income is money you receive, such as wages, Social Security benefits and pensions. Income also includes things like food and shelter. The amount of income you can receive each month and still get SSI depends partly on where you live.

Resources are things you own, including real estate, bank accounts, cash, stocks and bonds, which we count in deciding if you qualify for SSI. You may be able to get SSI if your resources are worth $2,000 or less. A couple may be able to get SSI if they have resources worth $3,000 or less. If you own property that you are trying to sell, you may be able to get SSI while trying to sell it.

We will not count economic impact payments, also known as coronavirus stimulus payments or CARES Act payments, as income for SSI. These payments will also not count as resources for 12 months. You can read more about qualifying for SSI at www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-11000.pdf.

If you’re an adult with a disability intending to file for both SSI and Social Security Disability Insurance, you can apply online for both benefits at the same time if you:

  • Are between the ages of 18 and 65;
  • Have never been married;
  • Aren’t blind,
  • Are a U.S. citizen residing in one of the 50 states, District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands; and
  • Haven’t applied for or received SSI benefits in the past.

We’re here for you. You can find more information at www.ssa.gov/benefits.


Q: How can I get proof of my benefits to apply for a loan?

A: If you need proof you get Social Security benefits, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Medicare, you can request a benefit verification letter online through your personal “my Social Security” account at www.socialsecurity.gov/myaccount. This letter is sometimes called a “budget letter,” a “benefits letter,” a “proof of income letter,” or a “proof of award letter.” You even can select the information you want included in your online benefit verification letter.

Q: I’ve decided I want to retire. Now what do I do?

A: The fastest and easiest way to apply for retirement benefits is to go to www.socialsecurity.gov/retireonline. Use our online application to apply for Social Security retirement or spouses benefits. To do so, you must:

  • Be at least 61 years and 9 months old;
  • Want to start your benefits in the next four months; and
  • Live in the United States or one of its commonwealths or territories.

Q: Although I stopped working a few years ago, I had additional seasonal earnings after my retirement. Will my monthly Social Security retirement benefit increase?

A: Each year, we review the records for all working Social Security recipients to see if additional earnings may increase their monthly benefit amounts. If an increase is due, we calculate a new benefit amount and pay the increase retroactive to January following the year of earnings. You can learn more about how work affects your benefits by reading our publication, “How Work Affects Your Benefits”, at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs.

Q: I am receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Can my children receive dependent’s benefits based on my benefits?

A: No. SSI benefits are based on the needs of one individual and are paid only to the qualifying person. Disabled children are potentially eligible for SSI, but there are no spouse’s, dependent children’s, or survivors benefits payable as there are with Social Security benefits. For more information, see our publication, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), available online at www.socialsecurity.gov/pubs. Simply type the title of the publication in the publication search box at the top of the page. You also may want to read Understanding Supplemental Security Income (SSI), available at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi/text-understanding-ssi.htm. For even more information, visit www.socialsecurity.gov.