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SSI Benefits Available for California Claimants


Supplemental security income, otherwise known as SSI, are benefits given to the elderly and the disabled for their food, clothing and shelter needs. These are only given to those who meet the limited income requirements as determined by the Social Security Administration. These benefits are given based on individual needs, not on work history.

The funds for the SSI program come from income tax revenues, not from the agency’s trust fund.

In most states, SSI beneficiaries are also entitled to receive Medicaid health insurance from the government. In California, Medicaid is called MediCal. In order to receive the benefits of the MediCal health insurance program, an individual must qualify for SSI benefits. Aside from this, SSI eligibility may also entitle a person to food stamps distributed by the state through the local welfare office.

Other services are also available, which may include the following:

  • A special allowance for assistance dogs for people who are blind or have a disability

  • In-home support services

  • Protective services

To qualify for the SSI program, a person must meet the following requirements:

  • you must be a legal resident of the United States, and not leave the country for more than 30 days

  • you must be a citizen of the United States

  • Persons under the age of 65 must meet the disability requirements and be evaluated by the state Disability Determination Service

In determining disability, a person must have a condition that prevents him from working for 12 months or longer. Children under the age of 18 may be entitled to SSI benefits provided they meet the same disability requirements and undergo state evaluation. However, persons over the age of 65 may not be required to meet the disability requirement except the non-medical requirements of the SSI.

To receive the economic benefits of the SSI program, an individual must have limited income and resources. By limited income, it means “any money he may receive on a weekly or monthly basis from his job, pension, unemployment benefits, VA benefits, relatives, or friends”.

On the other hand, limited resources refer to money a person has “in the bank, investment accounts such as IRA/401k, stocks, savings bonds, or mutual funds”. This also includes any property a person owns other than his primary residence, his vehicles (one is excluded), life insurances policies, and trust funds. The sum value of these resources is limited to $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a married couple. If his assets add up to more than this value, he will not be eligible for SSI benefits.

Individuals who qualify for SSI benefits are expected to receive a month amount, which is based on the income you already have. The maximum amount you can receive each month may vary. In California, a beneficiary must pay an additional supplement on top of the Federal amount. Information about this additional supplement is often explained to you in the award letter.

In California, SSI beneficiaries who live alone or under the social security’s Independent living status can receive $870 (for the elderly and the disabled) and $ 935 for the blind.

For many people, the supplemental security income benefits in California have given them more than they could expect for assistance.


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