Skip to Content

SSI Benefits: Understanding the Basics

January 31, 2018 Blog

Many potential disability claimants are not quite familiar with their various options, which may include Supplementary Security Income (SSI) benefits.  So, what is SSI and are you eligible to receive such benefits?  Let’s take a look.

The Basics of SSI

Supplementary Security Income is a federally-administered program (by the Social Security Administration).  SSI benefits are intended to provide financial support to elderly and disabled persons with limited or no income.  Unlike regular social security payments, where payment is based on the earned income of the worker, and eligibility for the program is based on how many work credits that the worker has accumulated over the course of their career, SSI benefits are paid out on the basis of the claimant’s financial need, and eligibility is based on income and the claimant’s status as an elderly or disabled person.


To qualify for SSI benefits, you must demonstrate:

  1. That you are age 65 or older, blind, or disabled;
  2. That you have limited income and financial resources;
  3. That you are a US citizen, US national, or that you are a qualified alien;
  4. That you are a resident of the United States;
  5. That you have not been out of the country for a month or more during a given calendar year; and
  6. That you are not in a public institution, such as a government hospital or a jail.

The limited income requirement applies to all potential SSI claimants.  An individual cannot earn more than $2,000 per month if they are to be deemed eligible for SSI benefits, and for married couples, combined monthly income cannot be greater than $3,000 per month.

If you are attempting to qualify for SSI benefits on the basis of a disability (and not the simpler age requirement that is available for seniors), then you will have to show that your particular health condition is:

  1. Preventing you from engaging in substantial gainful activity (i.e., work), and
  2. Will last for at least the continuous length of a year, or will eventually lead to your death.

Substantial gainful activity can be difficult to define.  The Social Security Administration will determine whether you are capable of engaging in such activity on the basis of a number of factors, from the nature of your disability, to your education, training, and age — and whether you are capable of transitioning to alternative work given these factors.

Applying for and securing SSI benefits can be complicated.  If your benefits have been denied or if the amount is less than you anticipated, you may be entitled to resubmit your application or to challenge the denial (or underestimation) of such benefits.  In doing so, however, you’ll want to work with an experienced disability attorney who has a track record of success in helping clients obtain the benefits they deserve.

Here at the Law Office of Mike Murburg, P.A., we recognize that every client has unique objectives and limitations.  As such, we are committed to providing personalized legal representation that is oriented towards each client’s particular needs, and have been doing so for over three decades.

Call (813) 264-5363 today to get connected to an experienced Tampa SSI attorney here at the Law Office of Mike Murburg, P.A.