The Social Security Administration issues Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and retirement payments to eligible beneficiaries. However, SSI is completely different than SSDI because it’s a monthly cash assistance program designed to help low-income Americans. One key difference is that people aged 65+ can qualify for SSI disability payments with little or no work history.
Essentially, SSDI is like taking early withdrawal of your Social Security retirement benefits before you’re old enough to do so. Once you reach your full retirement age, the SSA automatically converts your monthly SSDI payments to retirement benefits. This means that nobody gets both Social Security and SSDI payments at once. It’s impossible. But for people receiving monthly SSI disability, payments don’t stop or convert on your 65th birthday. If you’re over 65 years old, read on to learn how SSI disability payments could help you.
How SSI Disability Helps Those Who Can’t Rely on Traditional Social Security Payments
SSI disability isn’t just for those who don’t have enough work history to qualify for Social Security retirement or SSDI. Others may have to stop working for health reasons but still can’t draw Social Security in their older years, like:
- Teachers with pensions that pay less than $1,350/month after age 65
- People whose employers didn’t withhold FICA taxes, like bartenders, restaurant servers, truck drivers, contractors and seasonal or temp workers
- Those who do qualify for Social Security, but get less than $1,350/month in retirement income. This would likely include:
- Single retirees
- Individuals widowed in their 50s/early 60s
- Anyone drawing benefits on a family member’s work record
Who’s Eligible to Apply for SSI Disability Benefits?
Many older people who are eligible for SSI may not even realize it, but it’s easy enough to find out. To qualify for SSI disability payments, you must have limited income/financial resources and be one or more of the following:
- At least 65 years old
If the SSA denied your SSDI claim before you turned 65, now’s a good time to apply for SSI disability. Go back and look over your denial letter right now. Did you receive a technical denial for insufficient work credits? Then you may qualify for SSI disability now that you’re older. If you’re at least 65 and not getting Social Security retirement, apply for SSI — it can’t hurt to try! To check your eligibility online, click the button below to get your free benefits evaluation today. You’ll see whether you pre-qualify for benefits before you start the application process.
How Much Does SSI Disability Pay to Eligible Recipients Each Month?
The maximum monthly SSI payment for 2022 is the same amount nationwide. This monthly SSI payment maxes out at $841/individual, or $1,261/couple. However, you may get more money if you live in a state that adds money to the federal SSI payment. And if you or your family has other income (like a teacher’s pension), your SSI payment may be less.
Several other things about your life determine whether you may qualify for SSI disability — and how much money you’ll get. Your eligibility for SSI and payment amount depends on the following factors:
- Current monthly income. This includes any money you receive, such as alimony payments, earned interest or your spouse’s job wages. It also includes the value of items you get from someone else, such as food, transportation and shelter. Different states have their own rules, so where you live affects how much extra money you get.
- U.S. citizenship or lawful residency status. You must be a U.S. citizen or lawful non-citizen resident to collect SSI. You must also live in the United States or Northern Mariana Islands, and not leave the country for more than 30 days at a time. Permanent residents can to confirm eligibility for SSI prior to applying by calling 1-800-375-5283.
- The things you own (and their value) must fall below a certain dollar amount. You may qualify for SSI if the things you own are worth no more than $2,000 and you live alone. If you’re married or live with a partner, your combined assets must be worth no more than $3,000.
Important: The SSA doesn’t count everything you own towards this asset limit. Those things include the house you’re living in if you own it, and one household vehicle. However, the SSA does count any cash, bank accounts, stocks and bonds you own.
What Other Assistance May Be Available for Disabled Individuals Age 65 and Older?
In certain states, once you qualify for SSI disability payments, local government provides additional benefits, including extra cash payments:
- Medical benefits become available to you. In most states, SSI disability recipients automatically get free or deeply discounted medical care through Medicaid once their application’s approved. Medicaid helps pay for your hospital stays, doctor’s bills, prescription drugs, and other health costs.
- Certain states provide extra cash payments to SSI beneficiaries. Those cash payments are in addition to what the SSA pays each month.
- Grocery bill assistance may also be available to you. Help paying for food/groceries may be available to SSI disability recipients, depending on where they live. In some states, an application for SSI disability benefits also serves as an application for their food assistance program. The program that helps people pay for food every month is called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
If you are at least 65 years old, then you cannot apply for SSI online. We strongly recommend getting a professional to file your application instead. You’ll pay nothing up front for this help, and it doubles your chances for benefit approval right away.
You May Also Qualify for Legal Assistance
Still have questions? Our lawyers are always happy to set up confidential, free phone calls to answer your questions within one business day. You’ll never pay for legal advice or help filing your claim. Already applied, but denied benefits? The SSA is almost 3x more likely to approve your application if a lawyer files your claim paperwork. If you don’t win, you pay nothing — it’s just that simple. If you do win, federal law says that you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee.
Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free disability benefits evaluation now.
Get Your Free Benefits Evaluation
Laura Schaefer is the author of The Teashop Girls, The Secret Ingredient, and Littler Women: A Modern Retelling. She is also an active co-author or ghostwriter of several nonfiction books on personal and business development. Laura currently lives in Windermere, Florida with her husband and daughter and works with clients all over the world. Visit her online at lauraschaeferwriter.com and linkedin.com.