Understanding Supplemental Security Income

Understanding Supplemental Security Income

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Understanding Supplemental Security Income
The Supplemental Security Income program (SSI) was created by the United States government in 1974 to provide aid to individuals that are blind, disabled or aged 65 and above. Though similar assistance programs existed, the SSI program replaced them to create a more comprehensive set of guidelines, standards and requirements. SSI was brought about as a part of the Nixon administration's efforts to reform the condition of welfare in the United States. During that administration, each state offered different forms of aid under the Aid to the Blind, Aid to the Permanently and Totally Disabled, and Aid to the Elderly programs. With the Supplemental Security Income program established, the rudimentary differences between each state's programs disappeared. This was due to the Social Security Administration (SSA) taking charge of the program and restructuring guidelines of the program from the federal level to the state level. Although the SSA oversees and operates the Supplemental Security Income program, funds are not supplied by the Social Security trust fund. The United States Treasury supplies monies for the program from its general funds.

Applicants must meet certain criteria to be considered eligible for the Supplemental Security Income program. This criteria includes:

         Being blind, disabled, or aged 65 or older;

         Being a United States citizen residing in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or a student studying abroad;

         Having an income within certain limitations and constraints;

         and, Applying for the SSI benefits package.

Applicants may be denied if they have not applied for other means of income aid, have outstanding warrants, or do not consent to the Social Security Administration performing a financial background check. Furthermore, if an applicant is uninsured for a disability at the time the application is filed, he or she must also apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Applications are first reviewed by the SSA to ensure that the minimum of requirements are fulfilled by the applicant. After that, the application is reviewed and investigated by the office of Disability Determination Services (DDS) in the applicant's state. The state's DDS office then reviews medical records, interviews the patient's doctors, and checks any test results regarding the applicant's condition. With the investigation completed, the state's DDS office then renders its decision.

Unlike the Social Security Disability InsuranceThe Supplemental Security Income program is intended to provide a monthly stipend for participants in order for them to afford basic food, shelter and clothing needs. Some states bundle SSI benefits with a Medicaid package to provide for the medical needs of the participant.

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