Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

The Basics

If you have a disability, are blind, or are over age 65 and you also have low income and limited resources, you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a program run by the Social Security Administration (SSA), and Adult Public Assistance (APA), a program run by the Alaska Division of Public Assistance (DPA). You have to apply for these programs separately.

If you qualify for these benefits, you get monthly payments to help you pay for your basic needs. A person who is single can get up to $943 per month in SSI benefits and usually up to $362 per month in APA benefits. If you get APA benefits, you can also get Medicaid health coverage automatically, without having to file a separate application, as long as you check the Medicaid box on the application form.

Many people who qualify for one of the benefits also qualify for the other. However, some people only qualify for one or the other. For example:

  • APA has a higher income limit, so some people get APA benefits, but not SSI.
  • APA is only for people 18 years old or older, so some children get SSI benefits, but not APA.

If you get SSI and/or APA benefits and start working, you'll probably end up better off financially. SSI and APA are designed to make sure that your total income will be higher after you get a job.

Don't get SSI mixed up with other programs

Social Security has two disability benefits programs with very similar names:

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI) gives monthly payments to people with disabilities who have low income and low resources. You do not need to have worked in the past to get SSI. SSI is explained in this article.
  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) gives monthly payments to people with disabilities who qualify because they used to work or have a parent who worked. Learn more in DB101’s SSDI article.

Some people qualify for both programs at the same time. If you get benefits from Social Security, but aren’t sure which ones you get, open a free my Social Security account or order a free Benefits Planning Query (BPQY) at your local Social Security office or by calling 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778 (TTY).

Get Expert Help

If you have questions about SSI, call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778 (TTY) or visit your local Social Security office.

For APA, contact your Division of Public Assistance (DPA) office.

If you want to ask about how work might affect your SSI or APA benefits, try contacting:

Learn more