Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are a financial needs based type of disability benefit. Anyone who has low income and does not have enough credits or quarters for Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI) can apply for SSI benefits. Currently, the base amount payable for SSI benefits is $721 per month.
You must prove you are unable to engage in gainful activity, the same as for SSDI benefits. This is the medical evaluation to determine your residual functional capacity to perform work. If you prove you cannot work, then you could receive these benefits.
In addition to the medical evaluation, a claimant must meet the income and asset limits. In North Carolina, the asset limit is $2,000 for an individual and $4,000 for a couple. A claimant’s house, household belongings and one vehicle are not counted for purposes of assets. The main problem arises if the claimant is married and both spouses have a vehicle. If the second vehicle has no lien and it is worth more than $4,000, then the claimant would not qualify for SSI benefits.
Almost all earned and unearned income counts against the claimant for purposes of SSI benefits. If the claimant lives with family or others and does not pay rent, then the Social Security Administration (SSA) will reduce the amount of SSI benefits by about 1/3 to account for room and board.
In North Carolina, if you apply for SSI benefits you cannot get Medicaid while your SSI claim is pending. However, if you are deemed eligible to receive SSI benefits, you also qualify for Medicaid.