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A Desktop Guide To
SSI Eligibility Requirements

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program that makes monthly payments to people who have limited income and resources if they are 65 or older or if they are blind or have another disability. Being eligible for SSI means you receive a monthly benefit and, depending on the state where you live, the following benefits and services:

  • Medicaid

  • Food stamps

  • Medicare premiums are paid (all states)

  • Other social services

The following chart describes the basic eligibility requirements for SSI. The back of this chart provides additional information about benefits provided by the states. If you know someone who may be eligible, please contact a Social Security office right away.

Requirement

Definition

Exceptions/Exclusions 

65 or older, blind, or disabled

Blind

Disabled

Meet only one of these:

  • corrected vision of 20/200 or less in better eye

  • field of vision less than 20 degrees

  • physical or mental impairment that keeps a person from performing any "substantial" work and is expected to last 12 months or result in death<

  • a child's impairment must result in "marked and severe functional limitations" and must be expected to last 12 months or result in death.

  • Person whose visual impairment is not severe enough to be considered blind may qualify under the non-blind disability rules:

  • a job that pays $500 per month ($1,050 if blind) is generally considered "substantial" work

  • special work incentives allow some income and resources to be excluded and permit payment of special cash benefits or continuation of Medicaid coverage even when a blind or disabled person is working

  • Limited Income*

    Countable Income Must Be:

  • Below $494 a month for single adult or childk

  • Below $741 a month for couple

  • (In states that pay SSI supplements, countable income can be higher; see list on back)

    Not all income counts. Some exclusions are:

  • $20 per month of most income

  • $65 per month of wages and one-half of wages over $65

  • food stamps

  • home energy/housing assistance

  • Limited Resources(Property and other assets a person owns)

  • $2,000 for single adult or child

  • $3,000 for couple (limit applies even if only one member is eligible)

  • Not all resources count. Some exclusions are:

  • the home a person lives in

  • a car, depending on use or value

  • burial plots for individual and immediate family

  • burial funds up to $1,500

  • life insurance with face value of $1,500 or less

  • Citizenship/Residence*

  • resides in one of the 50 states, Washington, D.C. or the Northern Mariana Islands; and

  • U.S. citizen or national; or

  • certain American Indians; or

  • lawful permanent resident with 40 work credits; or

  • certain noncitizens with a military service connection; or

  • certain refugee or asylee-type noncitizens during first seven years; or

  • certain noncitizens in the U.S. or receiving SSI on August 22,1996.

  • Exception to residence:

  • certain children of U.S. armed forces personnel stationed abroad



  • *If only one member of a couple is eligible, the income and resources of both are considered in determining eligibility. If a child under 18 is living with parents, the parents' income and resources are considered.

    *If a noncitizen has a sponsor who signed a legally unenforceable affidavit of support (INS form I-134), the sponsor's income and resources are considered in determining eligibility and payment amount for three years following the date of lawful admission. (This rule does not apply to noncitizens who become blind or disabled after legal admission for permanent residence or to noncitizens who are not lawful permanent residents.)

    If the sponsor signed the new legally enforceable addidavit of support (INS Form-I864), the sponsor's income and resources are considered until the noncitizen acquires 40 work credits or becomes a citizen. (This rule applies to noncitizens who become blind or disabled after admission for permanent residence and to noncitizens who are not lawful permanent residents.)

    States With State-Administered Supplements—States in this category provide and administer supplemental payments to certain categories of SSI recipients. Application for the supplement must be made separately with the state agency.


     

    State

    Medicaid
    IAR(4)

    State

    Medicaid
    IAR

    Alabama

    1
    N

    Missouri

    3
    Y

    Alaska

    2
    Y

    Nebraska

    2
    Y

    Arizona

    1
    Y

    New Hampshire

    3
    Y

    Colorado

    1
    Y

    New Mexico

    1
    N

    Connecticut

    3
    Y

    North Carolina

    1
    Y

    Florida

    1
    Y

    North Dakota

    3
    N

    Idaho

    2
    N

    Ohio

    3
    Y

    Illinois

    3
    Y

    Oklahoma

    3
    N

    Indiana

    3
    Y

    Oregon

    2
    Y

    Kentucky

    1
    Y

    South Carolina

    1
    N

    Louisiana

    1
    N

    South Dakota

    1
    N

    Maine

    1
    Y

    Virginia

    3
    Y

    Maryland

    1
    Y

    Wisconsin

    1
    Y

    Minnesota

    3
    Y

    Wyoming

    1
    N

    States With No Supplement—States in this category do not supplement federal SSI payments.

     

    Arkansas

    1
    Y

    N. Mariana Islands

    2
    N

    Georgia

    1
    Y

    Tennessee

    1
    Y

    Kansas

    2
    Y

    Texas

    1
    N

    Mississippi

    1
    N

    West Virginia

    1
    N

    *Supplements available only to persons in protective care arrangements

    • 1—Generally, SSI recipients automatically receive Medicaid.
    • 2—Generally SSI recipients are eligible for Medicaid but must apply separatelywith state.
    • 3—State takes Medicaid application and determines eligibility using more restrictive criteria.
    • 4—IAR (Interim Assistance Reimbursement Agreement) Coding:
    • Y = State provides assistance while SSI application is pending.
    • N = State may or may not provide assistance: no active IAR agreement.

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