Individuals procure a letter awarding Supplementary Security Income from the Social Security Administration by meeting the eligibility guidelines and submitting an application. Applicants can call to make an appointment to apply for SSI benefits in person with a representative at a local Social Security office.
To be eligible for SSI, individuals must have limited income and resources and be blind, disabled or age 65 and over. They must also reside in the United States and be a U.S. citizen or qualifying resident alien. Disabled adults must be unable to perform substantial gainful activity, and their disability must be of at least 12 months' duration or likely to result in death. If applicants have a disability that is on a list of serious medical conditions authorized by the compassionate allowances initiative, the SSA processes their claims more quickly.
When assessing eligibility for SSI benefits, the SSA counts income such as wages from work, Social Security benefits, unemployment benefits, worker's compensation and gifts from friends and relatives. It does not include income tax refunds, the value of food stamps, home energy assistance, educational grants and scholarships and shelter and food supplied by nonprofits or state agencies. Countable resources include cash, bank accounts, real estate, vehicles and other personal property.