Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Last Updated: December 23, 2017

Definition - What does Supplemental Security Income (SSI) mean?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program that the United States government created in 1974 to replace federal/state adult assistance programs. As part of the Social Security Act, SSI provides a stipend to low-income individuals who are either disabled, blind, or 65 years of age or older. Funds for it come from the U.S. Treasury general funds, and today, about 8 million Americans benefit from it.

Insuranceopedia explains Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Although the application form for Social Security benefits is the same for SSI, the two are quite different. Some of the most distinctive features of the two programs include the following:

  • Unlike Social Security benefits, the government does not pay SSI benefits based on the individual’s (or a family member of the individual’s) prior work. In contrast, people who pay Social Security taxes and work for a sufficient duration are entitled to receive Social Security benefits.
  • Many states offer SSI beneficiaries medical assistance for paying doctors’ bills, hospital stays and other medical expenses.
  • Many states also provide a supplemental payment to certain SSI beneficiaries.
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