Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program run by both the federal and state governments to help individuals living with extremely limited financial resources. There are strict income and asset thresholds in order to qualify for SSI benefits, so there’s not much you can do to increase the amount you receive each month through the program, but here we will mention some situations that could have a bearing on the size of your benefits.
As an initial matter, the federal government sets a maximum amount for SSI benefits each year. In 2022, that amount is $841 per month for an eligible individual and $1,261 for an eligible couple.
It is then up to each state to determine whether it will provide an additional state supplement on top of what the federal government provides. The only areas that do not currently provide a supplement are Arizona, Mississippi, North Dakota, West Virginia, and the Northern Mariana Islands. So, factoring in the cost of living in various areas, you could increase your monthly benefits by moving to a state that provides an SSI supplement.
If you qualified for SSI benefits as an individual living alone, but you subsequently get married or move in with someone who helps pay for expenses, your SSI benefits may decrease or end entirely. If you qualified as a married person, and your spouse dies, you may be entitled to survivor benefits on his or her work record. And if you served in the United States military, you may be eligible for additional benefits through the Veterans Administration that could also affect how much you receive in SSI.
Should you experience a life event that changes your circumstances, you will likely have to notify the Social Security Administration (SSA). These changes include, but are not limited to, getting married or divorced, returning to work, or changing addresses. If you do not notify SSA, and it finds out it’s been paying you more money than you were entitled to, you will be responsible for paying SSA back for the overpayments you received in error.