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Supplemental Security Income: An Overview

Signed into law by President Nixon in 1972, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) works in tandem with Social Security to protect low-income seniors and people with severe disabilities against the worst effects of poverty. The modest income support from SSI gives seniors and people with disabilities who have limited income and resources the ability to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table, and pay for needed, often life-sustaining medications.

Key Facts

  • SSI provides vital income support to more than 8 million Americans – including 1.2 million children with severe disabilities
  • There are strict requirements to qualify for SSI. Assistance is reserved for people who are blind; age 65 or older; or have a severe disability – and who meet very strict income and asset limits
  • Benefits for SSI are extremely modest, and average around $715 per month, or $8,580 per year — way below the Federal poverty level


Supplemental Security Income Addresses a Critical Need In Our Country

Disability can strike at any time. As part of our nation’s Social Security system, Supplemental Security Income plays a key role in helping millions of Americans and their families maintain dignity and independence. Congress must preserve and strengthen SSI to ensure the economic security of some of our most vulnerable neighbors and their families.

Recent Research & Statistics

The Center for Budget & Policy Priorities is an excellent resource for up-to date information and data about the programs.

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