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Understanding the basics of Supplemental Security Income


Many Oklahoma residents are familiar with Social Security benefits, whether they are currently receiving benefits or whether they are simply paying into the system. Individuals may be less familiar with Supplemental Security Income, which is a different program that provides different benefits to those in need.

Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is similar to Social Security in many ways, starting with the fact that both programs pay out monthly benefits to those who qualify. Both programs are also administered by the Social Security Administration.

SSI differs from Social Security benefits in other ways, however. As an initial matter, SSI pays out monthly benefits to those who have limited income who are disabled, blind or over age 65. While individuals may qualify for both SSI and Social Security benefits, SSI benefits are not based on a person's work history, like Social Security benefits, which are paid to those who have paid in and worked long enough.

Individuals may also receive a supplemental payment provided by the State in addition to the SSI payment itself. In addition, food assistance may also be provided to SSI beneficiaries, with the SSI application even being used as an application for food assistance in some states.

Ultimately, it is important for individuals to understand whether they qualify for SSI benefits, the additional state payments and food assistance. Each case is different, depending on the person's individual circumstances, and therefore Oklahoma residents should determine their eligibility for each payment and how to present their application for different types of benefits. By gaining insight about their legal options, individuals can ensure they have the best chance of receiving the benefits they need.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Overview" accessed on Nov. 8, 2014

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