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What You Need to Know When You Get Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

What to do if I've received SSI benefits?

This booklet from ssa.gov explains some of your rights and responsibilities when you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. We suggest you take time now to read this booklet, and then put it in a safe place so you can refer to it in the future. If you get Social Security retirement or survivors benefits, you should read, What You Need to Know When You Get Retirement or Survivors Benefits. If you get Social Security disability benefits, you should read, What You Need to Know When You Get Disability Benefits.

About Your Payments

Before we begin paying you SSI, we’ll send a letter telling you when we’ll begin sending your payments and how much we’ll pay.

We’ll issue your first SSI payment for the first full month after you applied or became eligible for SSI. You may not get the same amount every month. The amount depends on your other income and living arrangements. We’ll tell you in advance whenever we change your payment amount.

We base your first, second, and third monthly amounts on your first month’s income. Sometimes you won’t receive a type of income in the second month that you received in the first month. We call this “nonrecurring income.” When this happens, we base your SSI payment for the second and third months on your countable income from the first month, minus the nonrecurring income.

After that, we usually base your SSI payment amount on your income from two months before. For example, a woman living in California gets a $500 Social Security widow’s payment and a $253 SSI payment. In June, she buys a lottery scratch-off card, wins $200, and reports that to the Social Security office. That means in August, we’ll reduce her SSI payment to $113. In this example, her SSI payment will be $253 again in September.

Your federal SSI payment may increase each year, if necessary, to keep up with the cost of living. These increases usually start with your January payment, which you’ll receive at the end of December.

Read more about What You Need to Know When You Get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) from ssa.gov.

If You Disagree with a Decision Made About Your SSI

If you disagree with any decision made about your SSI, you have the right to ask them to look at your case again. Whenever they send you a letter about your SSI, it'll tell you what to do if you disagree. For more information, ask for Your Right to Question a Decision Made on Your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Claim.

Read more about What You Need to Know When You Get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) from ssa.gov.