While this could have been for a multitude of other things I’m sure (and once I get my index page together, I’ll have additions as I think of them) for the Autism A to Z series, today S is for SSI (Supplemental Security Income) and how to obtain SSI for your child. I also want to talk about the differences between SSI and Social Security. SSI has been a huge help for us when it comes to getting things for Sweet B that aren’t otherwise covered elsewhere.
So what does SSI stand for and what is it?
SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income. The program is run by the Social Security Administration and is available to people with limited income and resources who are disabled, blind, or age 65 or older. Blind or disabled children may also get SSI. SSI is income based and the amount of income and assets that you have will determine how much SSI you can receive both from the federal government and your state government.
Eligibility for SSI varies from state to state, but generally speaking:
To get SSI, you must be disabled, blind, or at least 65 years old and have “limited” income and resources. But, as mentioned above- blind or disabled children can also be eligible for SSI.
In addition, to get SSI, you must also:
* be a legal resident of the United States, and
* not be absent from the country for a full calendar month or more or for 30 consecutive days or more; and
* be either a U.S. citizen or national, or in one of certain categories of qualified non–citizens.
Since Sweet B is under the age of 18, I am her Representative Payee. In other words, the check is paid out to me and I manage her resources month to month. She has a dedicated bank account, as per SSI regulations, and the only money that goes into or out of this account is from SSI. And due to the severity of her disability, I will likely remain her representative payee for quite some time.
How To Get SSI for Your Child
Eligibility for SSI is usually determined by the income and assets of the person applying and the household. To determine if your child is eligible, please take the benefits screening test provided by Social Security Administration.
If you are eligible, contact your local Social Security Administration office to begin the process. You will need to do an interview and provide several documents to start this process.
The Social Security Administration also provides a spotlight page on SSI for Children that goes into much further depth and detail than I could provide.