Supplemental Security Income: Eligibility and Benefits

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federally funded supplemental income program and is available nationwide. SSI provides assistance for seniors 65+; those who are blind or disabled; with little or no income for life’s necessities: food, shelter, and clothing.

In California, eligibility depends on an individual’s geographic location; income (wages, social security benefits, and pensions); and resources (real estate, bank accounts, stock, bonds, and cash). SSI is managed by the state, causing eligibility and benefits to differ from state to state.

SSI recipients are automatically enrolled in Medi-Cal (a.k.a. Medicaid), allowing access to additional programs including In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) which offers in-home care to support elderly, blind, or disabled Medi-Cal recipients to safely remain at home.

To provide outpatient services, the state government will also buy Medicare Part B for SSI/Medi-Cal beneficiaries once they become eligible for Medicare.

In California, beneficiaries receive additional funds within their SSI payment allotted for food, making them ineligible to receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits (previously known as Food Stamps).

However, SNAP is available while awaiting approval for SSI; when relocating to another state; or if an SSI application is denied.

If an SSI application is denied (due to medical or non-medical reasons) an individual may appeal the decision. An appeal application is available online and a written appeal is acceptable within 60 days from the date of denial of benefits.

To apply for SSI, contact the Santa Clara County Social Security Office, for benefits screening: (877) 962-3633. For more information, visit: www.ssa.gov/ssi.

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