What is SSI?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program of the US federal government.

It's run by the Social Security Administration.

The program gives monthly payments to people who have low income and few resources, and who are:

  • Disabled (at any age)or

  • Age 65 or older

In this Guide, we focus on those who are disabled. The purpose of the payments is to help with basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.

Image with the caption 'What can SSI do for my family?' above the text 'Help pay for basic needs, like food,
housing, clothing and more. Make your family member qualify right away for Medicaid and maybe other state insurance programs'Icons for food, housing, clothing and healthcare are also in the image.

SSI is meant to bring someone up to a certain minimum level of income.

  • This minimum level is called the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR).

  • The FBR is set by the federal government and updated each year to reflect changes in the cost of living. 

  • The monthly maximum payments for 2020 are $783 if single, and $1,175 if married.

  • If your child qualifies for SSI, there are certain things that may reduce their benefit amount: things like free food and rent that you give them as parent(s).

We'll explain all of this in more detail as you go through the Guide! (See the sections in the menu on the left)

Source: Social Security, Jackins (2010).