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Social Security Q&A: What is Supplemental Security Income?

McClatchy-Tribune News Service (MCT)

Published: Monday, July 7 2014 8:24 p.m. MDT

This February 2005 file photo shows trays of printed social security checks, in Philadelphia, waiting to be mailed from the U.S. Treasury.

Bradley C Bower, Associated Press

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Question: What is the purpose of Supplemental Security Income, or SSI?

Answer: The purpose of SSI is to help aged, blind, and disabled people who have little income and few resources to support themselves. It provides financial assistance to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter. You can receive SSI even if you have not worked and paid into Social Security. SSI is a federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes). Find out more at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi/ .

Question: My brother recently left me some money. Will this inheritance affect my SSI benefits?

Answer: We consider the money inherited from your brother as income for the month you receive it. That could make you ineligible for SSI that month, depending on the amount of the inheritance. If you keep the money into the next month, it becomes a part of your resources. You cannot have more than $2,000 in resources and remain eligible for SSI. You should call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY number, 1-800-325-0778) and report the inheritance. Representatives can tell you how the inheritance might affect your SSI eligibility. You can call between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Find out more about how income and resources affect SSI benefits at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi/ .

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(This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For fast answers to specific Social Security questions, contact Social Security toll-free at 800-772-1213 or visit www.socialsecurity.gov.)

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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