Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

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Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a government program that assists children and adults with special needs and their families in the United States. SSI provides financial support to children who have a qualifying disability and meet specific income and asset requirements. In this article, we will discuss the eligibility requirements for SSI, how to apply for benefits, and the benefits of the program for children and adults with special needs.

Eligibility requirements for Children:

To be eligible for SSI, a child must have a qualifying disability that meets the Social Security Administration’s criteria for childhood disability. The disability must be expected to last for at least one year or result in death. Additionally, the child’s family must meet income and asset requirements, which vary based on the state of residence.

The Social Security Administration defines a qualifying disability for SSI as a “medically determinable physical or mental impairment, which results in marked and severe functional limitations.” This means that the child’s condition must have a significant impact on their daily activities, such as mobility, self-care, communication, and learning.

Eligibility requirements for Adults:

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in the United States is the same as for adults with any other disabilities. The requirements include:

Income and Resource Limits: SSI has strict income and resource limits. Income includes wages, pensions, and other sources, while resources refer to assets such as cash, bank accounts, and property. The exact limits vary by state, but generally, an individual’s countable resources must not exceed $2,000, or $3,000 for a married couple.

Disability Requirement: The individual must have a qualifying disability, similar to the SSDI criteria. However, there is no work requirement for SSI. The disability must significantly impact the individual’s ability to work and must be expected to last for at least one year or result in death.

 Age, Blindness, or Disability: SSI is available to individuals who are 65 years or older, blind, or disabled, regardless of their prior work history.

How to apply for SSI:

The process of applying for SSI can be complex and time-consuming. The application process requires detailed information from the child and their family, including medical records, school records, financial information, and other supporting documents.

To apply for SSI, families can either schedule an appointment with their local Social Security Administration office or apply online through the SSA’s website. Families must provide detailed information about the child’s disability, medical treatment, and daily living activities. The application process may involve additional medical exams and evaluations.

HERE is a short and easy-to-understand video that explains SSI, how it relates to SSDI, and how you can potentially apply for both simultaneously.

After watching this video, go click HERE to apply online or get help applying.

Benefits of SSI for children and adults with special needs:

The benefits of SSI for children and adults with special needs go beyond financial support. SSI benefits provide a safety net for families who have a child with a disability and may struggle to meet the child’s medical, educational, and other needs.

Through SSI, eligible children and adults can receive monthly cash benefits, as well as Medicaid coverage, which can help cover medical expenses and treatments for the child’s disability. SSI also provides access to other community resources and services, such as respite care, early intervention programs, and vocational rehabilitation.

If adults are approved for SSI benefits, they can use it to cover medical expenses, therapy, and other necessary services. The amount of SSI benefits that a person with a disability receives is based on their work history and average indexed monthly earnings.

Although it can take time to get approval, SSI will often backpay benefits from the time the recipient turned 18 years of age. 


Supplemental Security Income can provide critical financial support and access to essential services for children with special needs and their families. Eligible families should consider applying for SSI to help meet the unique needs of their child with a disability. The application process can be complicated, and it is recommended that families seek assistance from a social security disability advocate or attorney who has experience working with families of children with special needs. With SSI, families can help ensure that their child with a disability has the resources and support they need to thrive.


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