How to file for disability, Filing for SSI
Disability Requirements, Disability Status
How long is the wait?, Disability Application
The Social Security List of Impairments
Qualifying for Disability, Mental Disability
Disability Lawyer Info, Disability Back Pay

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.

Essential Questions

What is the Social Security Disability SSI list of impairments?

Can you work while getting or applying for Disability?

How Often Does Social Security Approve Disability The First Time You Apply?

Tips for getting Social Security Disability or SSI benefits approved

What medical conditions will get you approved for disability?

What kind of Mental Problems Qualify for Disability?

Receiving a Disability Award Letter

Conditions Social Security will recognize as a disability

Previously answered questions regarding SSD and SSI

Applying for disability in your state

Most popular topics on SSDRC.com

Social Security Disability SSI Questions

The listings, list of disabling impairments

Can a mental illness qualify you for disability?

Disability Lawyers prevent unnecessary denials

How much Social Security Disability SSI back pay?

How to apply for disability for a child or children

Filing a Social Security Disability SSI application

Filing for disability - when to file

How to apply for disability - where to apply

Qualifications for disability benefits

How to Prove you are disabled and Win your Disability Benefits

Qualifying for Disability - The Process

How to get disability for depression

Getting disability for fibromyalgia

SSI disability for children with ADHD

What is the Application Process for Social Security Disability and SSI?

Common Mistakes to avoid after being denied for Disability

Social Security Disability SSI Exam tips

More Social Security Disability SSI Questions

Social Security Disability SSI definitions

What makes you eligible for Social Security Disability or SSI?

New and featured pages on SSDRC.com

Who can help me file for disability?

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

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

For the sake of clarity, SSDRC.com is not the Social Security Administration, nor is it associated or affiliated with SSA. This site is a personal, private website that is published, edited, and maintained by former caseworker and former disability claims examiner, Tim Moore, who was interviewed by the New York Times on the topic of Social Security Disability and SSI benefits in an article entitled "The Disability Mess" and also by the Los Angeles Times on the subject of political attempts to weaken the Social Security Disability system.

The goal of the site is to provide information about how Social Security Disability and SSI work, the idea being that qualified information may help claimants pursue their claims and appeals, potentially avoiding time-consuming mistakes. If you find the information on this site helpful and believe it would be helpful to others, feel free to share links to its homepage or other pages on website resource pages, blogs, or social media. Copying of this material, however, is prohibited.

To learn more about the author, please visit the SSDRC.com homepage and view the "about this site" link near the bottom of the page.