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What is Supplemental Security Income?

The Social Security Administration has two programs in place to help aid Americans who are suffering from debilitating conditions that prevent them from working. The Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI program, is funded through payroll taxes. In order to qualify, one must have paid into the program throughout the years. But for Americans who have not contributed to SSDI, there still is the Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, program which may be available, depending on your financial situation.

In order to qualify for SSI, you must meet certain minimum financial criteria. Supplemental Security Income is also available to older Americans aged 65 years of age or older, as well as children who are blind or disabled.

The applicant must have less than $2,000 in cash or in combined bank accounts; this number is $3,000 for married couples. It is important to note that a person's home is not included in this value, however a car valued at over $4,500 will be included. Certain states may also add additional benefits for SSI recipients. Like SSDI benefits, after two years, SSI benefits automatically transfer to Medicaid.

For those who qualify with an injury, illness or mental condition, it is important to recognize that the Social Security Administration is currently experiencing a backlog which may affect their response time. It may be in your best interest to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) as soon as possible to assure that you will receive the benefits as soon as possible to provide some financial relief. Although Social Security disability benefits are not expected to fully cover medical expenses or rehabilitation costs, they may provide some financial relief for those already suffering from lost wages due to their debilitating condition.

Source: FindLaw, "What is the Difference Between SSDI and SSI?" Accessed on Jan. 17, 2017

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