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What is Supplemental Security Income?

Published on August 29th, 2013

If you’re like a lot of our readers, then you’ve probably wondered what Supplemental Security Income is and who can apply for such benefits. Whether your questions about SSI came up because you heard it mentioned by someone else or are currently applying for disability benefits yourself, knowing what SSI is and how it can help you may be the best way of determining whether you should apply for it down the road.

First, let’s look at what SSI is. It’s a program run by the Social Security Administration that provides benefit payments to people with low income and living with a disability. If you are 65 years of age or older, are blind or can be considered disabled, then you meet some of the initial qualifications in order to receive benefits. Children may also receive these benefits, which can be used to pay for special assistance in school and help pay for medical costs associated with their disability.

When calculating the amount of benefits a person receives, SSI looks at a person’s income and resources. But unlike Social Security disability, a person does not need to have worked or be currently in a job in order to qualify for benefits. It’s important for people applying for SSI to remember that not all of their income counts towards their payment calculations and they can also work while receiving these benefits.

As our Illinois readers know, applications for SSI benefits may not be approved on the first try and sometimes require an appeal in order to begin receiving the benefits a person deserves. Just like with SSD, a person has the right to an appeal if they disagree with the SSA’s decision. Though a lawyer is not necessarily needed in order to make an appeal, one is always encouraged because they know how complex the SSI system can be and can make sure that your case is the best it can be for appeal.

Source:, “Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

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