Social Security and Supplemental Security Income Benefits Explained

Social Security and Supplemental Security Income Benefits Explained

November 10, 2022

Did you know, Social Security provides more than just retirement benefits? SSA offers several programs that include medical, disability, and retirement benefits. Each program has different requirements and is designed to help a different group of people.

Let’s look at some of the different Social Security programs and their eligibility requirements:

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

The SSI program provides monthly payments to adults and children with a disability or blindness who have income and resources below specific limits. SSI payments are also made to people aged 65 and older without disabilities who meet financial qualifications. The eligibility requirements for this program include:

  • Disabled, blind, or age 65.
  • Limited income and resources.
  • U.S. citizen, national, or a lawfully permitted alien meeting requirements.
  • Reside in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands, except for a child of military parent(s) assigned to permanent duty outside the U.S. or certain students temporarily abroad.

Other factors may affect your eligibility, including:

  • Marital status.
  • Income and resources of certain members in your household, like a spouse or parent of a minor child.

Social Security Retirement Insurance

This retirement program provides payments to help seniors replace their income later in life. The eligibility requirements for this program include:

Age 62 or older.

Having earned enough Social Security Credits. Learn how Social Security Credits work.

Social Security Child’s Insurance

When a parent becomes disabled or dies, Social Security benefits can help stabilize the family’s financial future. These benefits provide necessities for family members and help make it possible for children to complete high school. To be eligible for this benefit, a child must be unmarried, dependent on the parent, and one of the following must apply:

  • Younger than age 18.
  • 18-19 years old and a full-time student (no higher than grade 12).
  • Age 18 or older with a disability that began before age 22.
  • A stepchild, grandchild, step-grandchild, or adopted child may also qualify for benefits in some cases.

Social Security Disability Insurance

Social Security pays disability benefits to you and certain members of your family if you worked long enough and have a medical condition that prevents you from working. The eligibility requirements for this program include:

  • Unable to work because you have a medical condition expected to last at least one year or result in death.
  • Not have a partial or short-term disability.
  • Meet SSA’s definition of a disability. View the full definition of disability.
  • Younger than full retirement age.
  • If you qualify for disability benefits, certain members of your family may be eligible to receive benefits based on your work record.

Social Security Medicare Program

Medicare is our country’s federal health insurance program for people aged 65 or older. SSA processes applications and provides general information about the Medicare program. The eligibility requirements for this program include:

  • Age 65 or older.
  • Receive Social Security Disability benefits.
  • Have certain disabilities or permanent kidney failure (even if under age 65).

There are other Social Security programs to help with more specific needs. To find more information, check out the Social Security category of benefits on You can also use the Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool to check your eligibility for Social Security benefits, based on answers to a confidential prescreening questionnaire.


Date Acquired: 11/3/22