Eligible for Supplemental Security Income? Here's How to Apply

You may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income. Here's how to apply.

Katie Teague Writer II
Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she's not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
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Nina Raemont Writer
A recent graduate of the University of Minnesota, Nina started at CNET writing breaking news stories before shifting to covering Security Security and other government benefit programs. In her spare time, she's in her kitchen, trying a new baking recipe.
Katie Teague
Nina Raemont
3 min read
$100 bills scattered

You could be eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income.

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Around 8 million Americans receive Supplemental Security Income each year, according to a 2021 report issued by the Social Security Administration. Though the SSA administers SSI, it is actually financed through the general funds of the US Treasury. The program provides SSI beneficiaries with money designed to pay for basic needs. 

If you're interested in applying for SSI, we'll explain how to get started. The first step is to make sure you're eligible to receive the benefits -- we've outlined what the qualification requirements are below.

For more programs, here's how to apply for Social Security Child's Insurance Benefits, Social Security Disability Insurance and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

Who's eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income?

There are requirements when it comes to who can receive Supplemental Security Income. Here's who qualifies for the SSI program. 

  • Those who are at least age 65, or those who are visually impaired or disabled.
  • Those with limited income, including wages and pensions (see below).
  • Those who have limited resources.
  • US citizens, nationals of the US and some noncitizens.
  • Those who live in one of the 50 states, Washington, DC, or the Northern Mariana Islands. Children of a military parent assigned to permanent duty outside the US.
  • Certain students temporarily abroad.
Piggy bank standing over $100 bills

There are certain income limits to be eligible to receive SSI, but it depends on where you live.

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What are the income limits for receiving SSI?

The state you live in widely determines how much money you can receive in SSI, as well as your income limit to receive benefits. Income includes your wages, Social Security benefits and pensions and noncash benefits you receive, such as food and shelter. Here's what's not counted when it comes to your income.

  • The first $20 of your monthly income.
  • The first $65 of your monthly earnings from working and half the amount over $65.
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.
  • Shelter you get from private nonprofit organizations.
  • Most home energy assistance programs.
  • If you're married, part of your spouse's income and resources are included when determining if you qualify for SSI. 
  • If you're younger than age 18, part of your parents' income and resources are included. 
  • If you're a sponsored noncitizen, your sponsor's income and resources may be included.

Resources counted when determining if you're eligible for SSI:

  • Your home and land
  • Life insurance policies valued at $1,500 or less
  • Your car
  • Burial plots for you and members of your immediate family
  • Up to $1,500 in burial funds for you and up to $1,500 in burial funds for your spouse

How to apply for SSI

If you meet all the criteria to qualify for SSI, your next step is to apply for the benefits. To get started, visit www.ssa.gov/benefits/ssi/ and click Get Started. You'll need the following information to apply: Your name, date of birth, Social Security number, mailing address, email address and phone number. 

Once you've gathered that information, click Next and answer the questions on the following screen to make an appointment to apply for benefits. This will take roughly 10 minutes.

After you complete the questions, a Social Security representative will reach out to schedule an appointment with you to apply for benefits. You should receive the appointment date and time by mail and email within 7 to 14 business days. You may also receive a phone call from a Social Security representative to schedule your appointment.

You can also call 1-800-772-1213 to make an appointment.

For more information, here's the payment schedule for Social Security and Social Security Disability Insurance payment dates.