Legal definition of SSI
Elder Care Legal Terminology


SSI (Supplemental Security Income) is a program established nationwide to pay monthly benefits to individuals with limited income and resources who are blind or disabled, or age 65 or older.

Unlike Social Security benefits, SSI benefits are not based on your prior work or a family member's prior work. In most States, SSI beneficiaries also can get Medicaid (medical assistance) to pay for hospital stays, doctor bills, prescription drugs, and other health costs.

In order to get SSI, you must: be a resident of the United States, and not be absent from the country for more than 30 days; and be either a U.S. citizen or national, or in one of certain categories of eligible non–citizens.

The medical standards for disability are the same for SSI and Social Security benefits for individuals age 18 or older. There is a separate definition of disability under SSI for children from birth to age 18. Social Security Administration administers both programs.
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