The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides California residents with monthly payments to help them meet their needs. In addition to a federal payment, California provides its own payment.
SSI is available to adults over 65, or a person of any age who is blind or who has a disability.
To be eligible for SSI, you must have very little or no income and less than $2,000 in assets. For people who are married, the asset limit is $3,000.
Your home and potentially your car do not qualify as assets; however, it is important to know what does count as income and assets, to determine if you are eligible for SSI.
Income for purposes of SSI benefits is more than just wages you receive from a job. Therefore, you can be unemployed and still be ineligible for SSI benefits because you are over the income threshold.
This is because in addition to wages, income includes any pension, unemployment or workers’ compensation benefits you are receiving.
Many people without income from a job or other benefits get by through receiving money from family or friends. You must report this as income when you apply for SSI benefits, as well as any free food or shelter you receive.
For example, if you live with a family member and pay no rent, or you live in public housing with fully subsidized rent, the value of this free shelter could be counted as income.
When it comes to assets, although your home does not count, there are many things that do. Money in bank accounts, cash, stocks, bonds or other investments are all counted as assets.
As you can see, calculating your income and assets to see if you qualify for SSI can be more complex that it initially looks. Attorneys who focus their practice on helping people with Social Security issues can examine your situation and provide you with advice on your best options.