Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is available to people whose disabilities prevent gainful employment. 


In order to qualify, an individual must meet both of the following requirements:


  1. Cannot have greater than $2,000 in countable resources, AND
  2. Cannot have more than $783 (2020) in monthly income.


Because the income and resources of parents are counted until the child turns 18, many people with disabilities will not qualify for SSI until then. After his or her 18th birthday, the income and resources of family members are not counted, even if the individual continues to live at home. 


The SSI benefits usually range between $522 and $783 per month, plus sometimes a state supplement. The monthly amount depends on a number of factors, including where the person lives and what other income he or she may have.


Individuals in Massachusetts and 40 other states who qualify for SSI automatically received Medicaid, known as “MassHealth” in Massachusetts. Medicaid pays for a wide array of services for people with disabilities and provides government-funded health insurance for those children and adults who have limited financial resources.


Medicaid also provides government funding for long-term services and supports, including institutional care in nursing facilities and, in some cases, non-specialized placements for people with disabilities. This type of Medicaid does not come automatically with SSI eligibility.


Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) pays benefits to covered workers who are unable to work because of a disability. After two years, the worker qualifies for Medicare.


SSDI is typically given to workers who sustain injuries. However, people with lifelong disabilities or mental illness may qualify because of work history and experience a subsequent problem with continued employment.


Social Security benefits are available to disabled dependents of a parent who either collects Social Security benefits or who passes away, where the disability onset was prior to age 22. Individuals who receive Social Security also receive Medicare. It’s important to note that 


Social Security benefits do count as income for SSI purposes, and can therefore (in some cases) reduce or eliminate SSI benefits.