How Do You Qualify for SSI?

Qualifications For SSI

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are available to anyone who is disabled and:

  • Has limited income;
  • Has limited resources;
  • Is a U.S. citizen or national, or in one of certain categories of aliens;
  • Is a resident of one of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands;
  • Is not absent from the country for a full calendar month or for 30 consecutive days or more;
  • Applies for any other cash benefits or payments for which he or she may be eligible, (for example, pensions, Social Security benefits);
  • Gives the SSA permission to contact any financial institution and request any financial records about the claimant;
  • Files an application; and
  • Meets certain other requirements.

If you are age 18 or older, the adult definition of disability explained below applies.

What Does “Disabled” Mean For An Adult?

If you are 18 or older, Social Security may consider you “disabled” if you have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment (including an emotional or learning problem) which:

  • Results in the inability to do any substantial gainful activity; and
  • Can be expected to result in death; or
  • Has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of no less than 12 months.

The SSA has an obligation to provide benefits quickly to applicants whose medical conditions are so serious that their conditions obviously meet disability standards. The Compassionate Allowances (CAL) initiative allows Social Security to target the most obviously disabled individuals for claims approval based on objective medical information that SSA can obtain quickly. Fifty medical conditions were initially selected for this initiative. Since that time Social Security has added 150 additional conditions bringing the total number of conditions to 200. The list may expand over time. To learn more about compassionate allowances, please read our article regarding Compassionate Allowances in Social Security Disability and SSI Claims.