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SSI benefits increase in 2018, but who qualifies?

Pennsylvania residents who receive federal Supplemental Security Income are due to get an increase in payments in 2018. The standard payment amounts for individuals and families will increase by $15 and $22, respectively.

Everyone who receives SSI payments does not get the same amount each month. The standard amounts for 2018 will be $750 for individuals and $1,125 for families, but the amount recipients actually get depends on their income and other factors.

SSI is separate from Social Security Disability Income and is not related to work history. SSI is for disabled or older Americans who have low income or limited resources. Children as well as adults who don't work or have never worked sometimes qualify for SSI.

Though SSI is a federal government program, rules and payment amounts differ from state to state. Qualification is always based on age or disability as well as income. Adults under the age of 65 who are not disabled or blind do not qualify. Income is calculated by subtracting certain amounts that do not count toward the overall qualification income. Assets are included in overall resources, but a home, a car, ordinary household goods and personal effects do not count towards assets. The limit for all other assets is $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for families.

Many people are unaware of the SSI program, or they might assume they do not qualify for any Social Security benefits because they have never worked only worked for a short time. The SSI program is designed to protect disabled people who do not qualify for SSDI because they have limited or no work history. In some cases, however, it could be possible for someone who has worked to apply for both SSI and SSDI. An attorney may help explain the application process and qualifications.

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