Overview of Disability

Disability Back Pay

Disability Requirements

Disability Applications

Disability Advice Tips

How long do cases take?

How to win Disability

SSD Mistakes to avoid

Disability for Mental

What if you get denied?

How to file Appeals

Disability through SSA

SSI Disability Benefits

Disability for Children

How do I qualify for it?

Working and Disability

Disability Award Notice

Disability Lawyer Q&A

Disability Conditions List

What is a disability?

Your Medical Evidence

Filing for your Disability

Disability Eligibility

SSD SSI Definitions

Recent Questions

SSDRC Disability Blog

Why Are Living Arrangements Addressed During an SSI Application?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a disability program that is intended to assist individuals with medical conditions that prevent them from working.

As opposed to social security disability, SSI is primarily intended for those who have not worked enough to qualify for the Social Security Disability (SSD) program, or whose coverage for SSD has lapsed. However, having said that, SSI may be available to individuals who also qualify for SSD, provided that their SSD monthly benefit amount is fairly low.

SSD is available only to those who are severely impaired and have paid into the Social Security system through FICA taxes deducted from their paychecks. SSI acts as a "sort of" safety net for those who are impaired but have not been employed a significant amount of time in the past, such as stay-at-home moms, children, and young adults, or adults who, for whatever reasons, have not worked recently.

SSD and SSI disability applications are evaluated exactly the same. From a case processing standpoint, no distinction is made. However, SSI applicants are approved only if they can demonstrate real financial need, as they have paid little or nothing into the Social Security system (or little "recently"), and are, therefore, not considered “entitled” to federal disability insurance (SSD) benefits.

While SSD is not subject to an asset limit, SSI is awarded to those who are severely mentally or physically impaired with total assets of less than $2,000 (with the exception of one car and a primary residence).

As with SSD, income can be an eligibility consideration. For example, a person who is working and earning at least a substantial and gainful income will not be eligible to receive SSD benefits. However, with SSI "Income" includes not only the income of the individual filing for SSI, but also the income of any other members of the household (some SSI cases are actually denied because older children living at home have a job).

The basic premise of SSI is this: The federal government will help you keep a roof over your head and food on the table if you can’t work (and earn a substantial, gainful income as a result of a disabling impairment) and have absolutely nowhere else to turn. People who live alone and have to pay all their own bills are naturally considered needier than those who have other people around to help them meet expenses.

However, Social Security will not deny anyone for SSI on the grounds that they live with someone. The most an SSI benefit can be cut because of an individual’s living arrangements is one-third. In fact, about 43 percent of all people who receive SSI reside in shared households, while only 36 percent live on their own.

Just keep in mind that maximum SSI benefits are awarded to those who live alone—anyone, even a roommate, who brings income into the home could cause a reduction of total SSI benefits to which a claimant may be entitled.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Related pages:

Are most disability claims denied by SSA?
Disability benefits and being severely disabled
Filing for Social Security Disability if you are military retired
How to file for disability in Wisconsin
The difference between Social Security disability and SSI
Filing for disability with migraines
Steps and Tips for requesting a disability hearing
Preparation to win a disability hearing
How a Social Security Disability or SSI award is made
Help filing for disability benefits with Social Security
Tips for SSD and SSI disability hearings
Social Security Disability Temporary Benefits and Closed Periods
Will I qualify for disability with back pain, a bone spur, and bulging disks?
Would I eligible for SSD if I file now since I was disabled at the time I stopped working?
How Does Social Security Decide If You Are Disabled

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages provide answers to basic questions about pursuing disability benefits

How and why to check Social Security Disability Status
Social Security Disability back pay
Non medical requirements for disability
Qualifying for disability, SSD SSI
When does social security consider you eligible for disability benefits?
Who qualifies for SSI?
Forms to complete when filing, applying for disability
How long does SSDI and SSI disability take to get?
Filing for disability with Depression
Can You Get Approved For SSI or SSD Benefits with a Mental Condition
How long for a disability judge to make a decision?
While you are in your disability interview
The SSD and SSI definition of disability
Filing for disability with carpal tunnel syndrome
Social Security Disability SSI and Fibromyalgia
Can you work if you get a disability check?
Disability application denied
File for disability, the application
How to get disability benefits
Conditions that get approved for disability
How to Appeal a disability claim denial from Social Security