What Are the SSI Eligibility Requirements?


Quick Answer

To be eligible for Supplemental Security Income, the applicant must be 65 years of age or older, or an adult or child of any age who is blind or disabled. The applicant must be a U.S. citizen currently residing in the country or an eligible noncitizen. The applicant must also have limited income and limited means of support.

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Full Answer

Supplemental Security Income is a federal cash-assistance program that provides monthly support for elderly and blind or disabled individuals. Some states, such as Massachusetts, provide additional income benefits under a state-run SSI program.

To qualify for federal SSI benefits on the basis of blindness, an applicant must meet the definition of statutory blindness, which requires central visual acuity of 20/200 or less with corrective lenses or a visual field limitation where the widest range of vision extends to an angle of 20 degrees or less. To qualify as a disabled child under 18, the applicant must have a physical or mental disability that causes severe functional limitations and may be expected to either result in death or last at least 12 months. For an adult, qualifying as disabled requires demonstrating physical or mental impairment that makes it impossible to maintain gainful employment and may either result in death or last at least 12 months.

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