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Social Security Supplemental Income
 
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a Federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes):It is designed to help aged, blind, and disabled people, who have little or no income; and It provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. The SSI program provides monthly income to people who are age 65 or older, or are blind or disabled, and have limited income and financial resources. If you are married, and only one person is eligible, a portion of your spouse's income may be counted. You can be eligible for SSI even if you have never worked in employment covered under Social Security.

Generally, to be eligible for SSI, an individual also must be a resident of the United States and must be a citizen or a non-citizen lawfully admitted for permanent residence. Also, some non-citizens granted a special status by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may be eligible. The Social Security Supplemental Income program (SSI) is a unique source of funding for Assistive Technology (AT) devices. Although it does not directly provide funds for technology, it does so indirectly. By using the (SSI) work incentives, recipients can keep some cash payments that would otherwise be lost as a result of employment if used to purchase work related AT. Broadly speaking, the law's goals in making these exceptions are to encourage work. So, provisions such as the trial work period, impairment-related work expenses, the plan for achieving self support, and Section 1619 (b) (42 U.S.C. Sec. 1382h) are collectively known as work incentives. Work incentives make it easier for recipients to keep cash or medical benefits they would otherwise lose because of employment. For purposes of assistive technology acquisition, the law only contains incentives to help people who are seeking employment.

The major features of SSI isa strictly means tested income supplementation program for people who are blind or disabled and poor, or over age 65 and poor. By law, poverty is defined according to the amount of 'countable resources' an individual has (bank accounts, stocks, bonds, trusts, etc.). To qualify, an individual must have countable resources of $2,000 or less with a very low income. The monthly amount distributed to recipients is called the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR). In 1999, the rate is five hundred. So, if a person is blind/disabled, or over 65 and has no income, he or she is entitled to receive five hundred per month. Some states supplement the federal benefit rate; this amount can vary depending upon the state.

This rate only applies to an unmarried person who lives alone. For married couples, individuals or couples with children, and children receiving SSI (parents' income must be taken into account).
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