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What other benefits can I get?

One of the most common question on our forum is, “Can I get any other benefits if I am getting SSI benefits?” This is a legitimate question because if you have been awarded Supplemental Security Income the maximum you can receive is based on the annual Federal Benefit Rate (FBR).

For 2012, the Federal Benefit Rate is $698 per month for an individual and $1,048 per month for a couple.  That means the most you can receive individually from the Federal Government on SSI is $698 per month.  Some states, however, will add what they call a “state supplemental payment” which may make your payment higher in certain states.

It is not unusual for a claimant to ask if they will be able to live on their Supplemental Security Income disability payment. This is tough to answer due to the disparity of income and the subsequent standard of living for many claimants, but regardless of who you are it will probably be difficult to live on $698 per month.

What other benefits can I get if I get SSI?


There are a variety of other state and federal benefits you may qualify to receive if you get SSI. Let’s review each of these.

Medicaid

Probably the best news for SSI claimants is that in most states they will be eligible for Medicaid at the date of approval. State laws vary, however, so it is important to contact the SSA and discuss what you will need to do to start Medicaid. Some states have their own rules, some states use the SSI application as the Medicaid application and other states allow claimants to receive Medicaid but the claimant must complete a separate Medicaid application form.

Food Stamps

Many claimants who receive SSI may also qualify for food stamps. State laws vary so talk to the SSA. In the state of Massachusetts, for example, if everyone in your household is getting SSI you can apply for SNAP food stamps at the SSA office. Otherwise, applicants must apply at the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA).

Housing Assistance

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offers a number of programs that assist low income individuals with rent, privately owned subsidized housing, public housing through affordable apartments for low-income families, the elderly and persons with disabilities, or the Housing Choice Voucher Program (Section 8). Unfortunately, according to HUD, there is a long waiting lists for these programs. Contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to find out more information about rental assistance.

Can I get emergency assistance for SSI?


Many SSI claimants also ask about emergency assistance. The SSA does provide emergency SSI assistance, which is basically one emergency advance payment, if it appears that you are likely to qualify for SSI and you are facing a financial emergency.

Immediate SSI payments to claimants who have been approved but who have not received their SSI payment can also be made.

The bottom line is there are many state and federal programs that are available for the disabled, blind or aged who find that they are unable to work and need assistance. Do not be discouraged. Contact the SSA for more information about your options.
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