Supplemental Security Income

Agency - Social Security Administration

The Social Security Administration advances the economic security of the nation's people through compassionate and vigilant leadership in shaping and managing America's Social Security programs.

Office - Consult Appendix IV of the Catalog.

Program Accomplishments

In fiscal year 2003, an average of 6,553,000 persons per month were Federal Supplemental Security Income recipients. It is estimated that in fiscal year 2004, an average of 6,711,000 recipients will receive monthly cash benefits. During fiscal year 2005, the average number receiving payments is estimated to be 6,867,000 per month. 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.

Uses and Use Restrictions

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments are made to persons who have attained age 65 or who are blind or disabled and meet the means-tested and other requirements of the program.

Generally, there are no restrictions on the use of benefits received by beneficiaries, although the right to future benefits is not transferable or assignable.

The Federal government gives the States funds, in advance or by way of reimbursement, for necessary costs in making disability determinations under 20 CFR 404 subparts P and Q and part 416 subparts I and J.

Necessary costs are direct as well as indirect costs as defined in 41 CFR 1-15, subpart 1-15.7 of the Federal Procurement Regulations System for costs incurred before April 1, 1984; and 48 CFR 31, Subpart 31.6 of the Federal Acquisition Regulations System and Federal Management Circular No.

A-74-4 as amended or superseded for costs incurred after March 31, 1984.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

To be found disabled for SSI purposes: an individual age 18 or older must be unable to perform any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months; an individual under age 18 must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments that causes marked and severe functional limitations, and that can be expected to cause death or that has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.

An individual under age 18 who files a new application for benefits and is engaging in substantial gainful activity will not be considered disabled.

To be found blind for SSI purposes, an individual of any age must be "statutorily blind." This means central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with use of a correcting lens.

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, citizenship or alien status, U.S.

residency, and certain other eligibility requirements.

In determining a month's income, the first $20 of Social Security or other unearned income is not counted.

An additional $65 of earned income ($85 if the person had no unearned income) received in a month plus one-half of the remainder above $65 (or $85) also is not counted.

If, after these (and other) exclusions, an individual's countable income, effective January 2004, is less than $564 per month ($846 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 may be eligible for payments.

The values of household goods, personal effects, an automobile, life insurance, and property needed for self support are, if within limits set out in regulations, excluded in determining value of resources.

Burial spaces for an individual and immediate family and burial funds, up to $1,500 each for an individual and spouse, are excluded from resources.

The value of a home which serves as the principal place of residence is also excluded in resource valuation.

Beneficiary Eligibility

Individuals who have attained age 65 or are blind or disabled, who continue to meet the income and resources tests, citizenship/qualified alien status, U.S. residence, and certain other requirements. Eligibility may continue for beneficiaries who engage in substantial gainful activity despite disabling physical or mental impairments.


Proof of age, marital status, income and resources, establishment of blindness or disability, proof of residence in the U.S. and citizenship, or alien status is required.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination


This program is excluded from coverage under E.O.


Application Procedures

Call toll free at 1-800-772-1213 or telephone or visit the local Social Security Office.

Award Procedures

The individual (and representative payee, if any,) will be notified by mail of award or denial.


None. Benefits are not paid prior to the month following the month of application. However, an emergency advance payment may be available in the month of filing the application.


Social Security Act of 1935, Title XVI, as amended; 42 U.S.C. 1381-1383f.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Not applicable.


Call toll free at 1 (800) 772-1213 or telephone or visit the local Social Security Office. The appeal process ranges from a case review or field office conference to a review by the Federal Courts. An appeal must be requested within 60 days of the date on which a written notice of SSA's initial determination is received by the applicant. The 60 days start the day after you receive the notice.


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.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and 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 for a fee under agreements with States both mandatory and optional State supplements. States paying supplements are required by supplemental security income law to maintain either their State supplement expenditures or their payment levels when Federal standards are increased.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Benefits are paid monthly. Accrued benefits are paid in a lump sum unless they exceed a specified amount in which case they are paid in up to three installments at 6 month intervals. In the case of a disabled child, accrued payments over a certain amount must be retained in a dedicated account and used only for certain approved expenditures.

Post Assistance Requirements


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.





Financial Information

Account Identification



(Benefit Payments) FY 07 $36,481,897,840; FY 08 est $41,225,000,000; and FY 09 est not reported. (Note: These figures represent benefits actually paid, or expected to be paid.)

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

Monthly Federal cash payments range from $1 to $637 for an aged, blind, or disabled individual who does not have an eligible spouse, and from $1 to $956 for an aged, blind, or disabled individual and an eligible spouse. These rates became effective January 2008. The average Federal monthly benefit payment for December 2007 was $437.

Regulations, Guidelines, and 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. The Social Security internet address is and it includes copies of all disability-related laws, regulations, rulings, and free publications, as well as other information about Social Security programs.

Information Contacts

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. Telephone: (410) 965-2736. Use the same number for FTS.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

Not applicable.

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