What Do SSI Benefits Include?

Being approved for SSI will get you a monthly cash benefit and Medicaid.

If you are approved on your SSI disability claim, you will receive monthly cash benefits, payable back to the month you applied ("backpay"), and Medicaid. (For what benefits you'll receive if you're approved for SSDI, see our article on Social Security disability benefits.)

Monthly Cash Benefit

The monthly payment for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is based on the federal rate of $735, but it can be more or less depending on whether you have income and whether your state pays an SSI supplement. For more information, see our article on calculating your SSI payment.  


In most cases, you will also receive a certain amount in past due disability benefits, based on how long it has taken your case to be resolved. For SSI, you can receive benefits back to the first of the month after which you applied. You cannot receive retroactive benefits back to the date when you became disabled, if it is before your application date.

Because it can take Social Security anywhere from three months to two years to approve you for SSI benefits, your backpay may be worth many thousands of dollars. Backpay is often paid out  as a lump sum, but depending on the amount of backpay you are owed, the payment may be broken into installments. (SSI backpay may be paid in installments, while Social Security disability backpay is always paid in a single lump sum.)

Read the rules on when SSI backpay is paid in installments and when it is paid in a lump sum.

Medical Benefits

If you are approved for SSI, you are automatically entitled to Medicaid benefits. In most states, you don’t have to apply separately; your Medicaid benefits will start soon after you are approved.

Food Stamps

SSI recipients also usually qualify for food stamps through the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Learn more in our article on  getting food stamps.

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