Supplemental Security Income is a federal program that provides supplemental income to help meet the basic needs of qualifying individuals, according to the Social Security Administration. The program provides financial assistance to individuals who are aged or disabled and have little or no income and resources. Applicants must have U.S. citizenship or live in the United States legally as a national or resident alien.
An adult aged 18 or older may qualify for SSI benefits if a medically determinable physical or mental impairment prevents the individual from engaging in substantial gainful activity, advises the Social Security Administration. The disability must also carry with it either an expectation of death or an expected duration of at least 12 continuous months.
Children who are blind or disabled may also qualify for Supplemental Security Income, notes the Social Security Administration. An unmarried person under the age of 18, or under 22 if a student, who is not the head of household is classified as a child based on Social Security criteria. Qualifying disabilities for children include the same minimum 12-month time frame as for adults.
The definition of blind is the same for children and adults, explains the Social Security Administration. Social Security blindness benefits have no duration requirement, unlike the 12-month requirement for disability benefits. The SSI program is funded by general tax revenues rather than Social Security taxes.