Supplement Your Social Security with SSI

Everyone knows about Social Security and the choice you make between receiving it at age 62 or waiting until you are 65 to get more per month. If you count the income received the three years between 62 (smaller amount) and 65 (the larger amount), the total amount of money you receive is about the same. It really doesn’t matter much when you begin receiving Social Security.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

What most people don’t realize is that when you reach 65 you begin to pay mandatory Medicare payments. The government deducts the payments (about $68 per month) from your Social Security check whether you want the Medicare insurance or not. Some people have a good health insurance program but Social Security charges for Medicare whether you use it or not. Most regular health insurance programs do not discount for the Medicare coverage, so expect an increase in your overall health insurance program.Ã?¯Ã?¿Ã?½

Social Security has another program that is not advertised very much. It is the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program, but unlike Medicare, everyone who wants it, must apply for it. It is not automatic and there are several qualifying rules that must be met. Some people believe SSI is just for the indigent, but the program covers many more people than that. SSI can be used to supplement regular Social Security if the applicant is aged, blind or disabled.�¯�¿�½

For people receiving Social Security, SSI is generally available if they are 65 years of age and have limited income. If you have no income, the basic monthly payment is $552 per month for an individual and $829 for a couple. If you have some income, the amount is reduced to compensate for your income.�¯�¿�½

However, not all income is counted against SSI payments. Generally, one-half of your income plus $65 is not counted. Payments received for certain energy, support, maintenance, food stamps, most federally funded housing assistance, and state assistance are not counted.�¯�¿�½

You can qualify for SSI payments and still have property. For instance, you can keep up to $2,000 in cash ($3,000 for a couple), your home, most household goods and your car.�¯�¿�½

In addition to the federal SSI program, many states have optional assistance programs. For instance, Alaska offers a monthly payment of $352 for an individual and $528 for a couple, but Wyoming only pays $9.70 and $24.60. You will need to inquire about your state. All states have different payouts.�¯�¿�½

Receiving SSI means you will also get full health care, food stamps and other benefits. Learn about the program online by visiting www.ssa.gov/d&s1.htm/supplemental-security-income. To get all the details on both the federal and your local state programs, call 1-800-772-1213 for an appointment with a local Social Security representative. Request publication 05-11000 for complete description and qualifications for SSI. You may have government money available; you just need to request it.

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