SSI/ SSDI Info. and Resources
***On June 1st of 2019 hundreds of thousands of Californians with disabilities and seniors who rely on SSI/SSP will be able to apply for the CalFresh food assistance program for the first time. Learn more by clicking here.
Social Security provides a small monthly income to millions of older people and people with disabilities who are unable to work. There are several programs within this system which coverpeople in a variety of circumstances.
Benefits for people without work history:
Supplemental Security Income (SSI): SSI provides benefits for people who are aged, blind, or have qualifying disabilities and who have little or no income or savings. SSI provides monthly benefits to help people meet their basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. Benefits average a little over $540 a month. To qualify, a person age 18 or older must have a significant disability — that meets the same strict standard used for Social Security Disability Insurance — and must meet the SSI income and asset requirements. Also, children under 18 with qualifying disabilities can receive SSI if their families have little income and resources. Unlike the three Social Security programs described above, SSI has no work history or prior contribution requirements, and is funded by general revenues.
California State Supplemental Payment (SSP): California has a high cost of living relative to other states. SSP is California’s supplemental payment to recipients of SSI. This program is designed to offset the high cost of living in our state.
Disabled Adult Child Benefit (DAC): An adult disabled before age 22 may be eligible for child’s benefits if a parent is deceased or starts receiving retirement or disability benefits. The adult child does not need to have their own work history, benefits are paid based on the parent’s earnings record.The “adult child”—including an adopted child, or, in some cases, a stepchild, grandchild, or step grandchild—must be unmarried, age 18 or older, have a disability that started before age 22, and meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability for adults.
Benefits for people with work history:
Social Security: Social Security is an earned benefit with dedicated funding from payroll contributions paid by workers and their employers (also known as the FICA tax). Generally, to be covered a worker must have worked for long enough and recently enough, and earned enough, to have sufficient FICA credits – typically, about 10 years.
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): To qualify for SSDI a worker must meet a strict disability standard; demonstrating impairments that are “expected to last 12 months or result in death” and that make it impossible for the worker to do substantial gainful activity (SGA). When a worker qualifies for SSDI their spouse and children may also be eligible for monthly benefits.
CalFresh: CalFreshis California’s version of SNAP, the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program which provides money each month that low-income people may use to buy food. Before June 1, 2019 people receiving SSI/SSP were ineligible for CalFresh. Thankfully this has finally been changed.
- Overview from The Arc of the United States: https://www.thearc.org/what-we-do/public-policy/policy-issues/social-security
- How to apply for SSI/SSP: https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-apply-ussi.htm
- How to apply for SSI/SSP or DAC: https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/disability/apply-child.html