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Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Eligibility

To receive SSI, you must have low income and be age 65 or older, blind, or disabled.

Disabled means you have a physical or mental condition that keeps you from working and is expected to last at least a year or to result in death. Children as well as adults can get benefits because of disability. When deciding if a child is disabled, Social Security looks at how their disability affects everyday life.

For more information about benefits for children, contact any Social Security office to ask for the booklet, Benefits For Children With Disabilities (Publication No.05-10026) (PDF).

Blind means you are either totally blind or have very poor eyesight.  Children as well as adults may receive benefits because of blindness.

Sometimes, a person whose sight is not poor enough to qualify for benefits as a blind person may be able to receive benefits as a disabled person if his or her condition prevents him or her from working.

To be eligible for SSI based on a medical condition you must:
  1. Have little or no income or resources.

  2. Be a U.S. citizen or meet the requirements for non-citizens.

  3. Be considered medically disabled. Find more information about medical disability online.

  4. Be a resident of the 50 states, District of Columbia, or Northern Mariana Islands.

  5. File an application.

  6. File for any and all other benefits for which you are eligible.

  7. Accept vocational rehabilitation services, if referred

  8. If your impairment is other than blindness, when you apply, you must not be working or working but earning less than the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level.  Once you are on the rolls, your eligibility will continue until you medically recover or no longer meet a disability-related requirement.

If you are blind, only the first seven requirements would apply to you.

Eligibility for Caretaker Supplement benefits
  • A person must be a single parent who receives SSI benefits (or if there are two parents in the household, both must receive SSI). They must have dependent children living in his or her home.

  • Each child must meet all eligibility requirements that were in place for the AFDC program that formerly existed in Wisconsin.

  • The children's assets must be at or below $1,000.

  • Each child must continue to receive Medicaid.

  • Eligible parents must cooperate with the county child support agency to ensure that any absent parent is paying child support.

  • Families with SSI parents are not eligible for the Caretaker Supplement for any child who also receives SSI.

Eligibility for Exceptional Expense Supplement (SSI-E)
  • SSI members whose expenses are greater than the SSI-E payment level and live in one of the following licensed or certified facilities:

    • Foster home for children

    • Group home for children

    • Adult family/foster home

    • Community Based Residential Facility (CBRF) of 20 beds or less

    • Residential Care Apartment Complex (RCAC)


  • SSI members who live in their own household or another's household who pay their share of household expenses and who need at least 40 hours of primary long term support services each month.

Last revised August 4, 2022