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.)
The monthly payment for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is based on the federal rate of $783, 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 insurance 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.
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.
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.
You can request a "benefit verification letter" online from Social Security if you need proof that you're receiving SSI, or that you've applied for SSI. You may need a benefit verification letter when you need proof of income to apply for housing or a mortgage or when you need proof of your disability. Some companies call this a "proof of award letter" or "budget letter." A benefit verification letter includes the amount of income you receive every month, the date that you receive the payment every month, whether Medicare premiums are taken out of your payment, and your date of birth. You can request a letter online if you have a Social Security account, or you can call Social Security at 800-772-1213.
Updated March 19, 2020