Supplemental Security Income pays monthly cash benefits to individuals who are disabled, blind or elderly who demonstrate need with low income and few resources. The Social Security Administration handles SSI applications and monitoring for the federal government, but the funds come from the general revenue. Some states, including Oklahoma, supplement SSI federal benefits with state funds.
Oklahoma administers its own state supplement, so the application and check are separate from the federal ones, although the requirements are the same. Oklahoma pays $42 in additional benefits each month for individuals and $84 for couples at time of publication. Oklahoma also allows Medicaid coverage and supplemental nutrition assistance or food stamps for SSI qualifiers.
Federal benefits are $674 basic monthly funds in 2011, and with the additional $42 from Oklahoma, the SSI recipient receives $716 a month. A qualifying couple receives $1,095 in Oklahoma with combined federal and state benefits if living independently. Individuals with some work history can receive both Social Security and SSI, but the requirements offset SSI with Social Security as unearned income. This gives the individual who receives both Social Security and SSI a total of $694 in federal funds and $42 from Oklahoma. The only difference is in the $20 exempt for unearned income.
The SSI applicant in Oklahoma can be a disabled or blind child or a disabled, over 65 or blind adult. The applicant must have few resources, but not everything counts for SSI calculations. Exempt from calculations are a house and lot, a car, household furnishings, burial insurance and life insurance of $1,500 each and burial plots. Countable resources cannot total more than $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple. Resources that count are bank accounts, stocks, bonds and extra property not used for survival or income. Social Security offsets the SSI amount with income each month and the SSI recipient must report changes monthly to Social Security. Income affects the SSI check two months forward. Each month, the SSI recipient can exempt $65 of earned income and $20 of unearned income. The recipient must report income in excess of those amounts.
Income offsets SSI benefits. The offset affects federal benefits first and then state supplements. If an individual earns $300 in a month, $65 is exempt. Earned income counts at 50 percent. The Social Security Administration multiplies the $235 remaining by 50 percent for a total of $117.50 and subtracts that amount from the $674 in federal SSI benefits for the month. The remainder is $556.50 for the month the recipient earned $300. That does not count the Oklahoma state benefit of $42 that comes in a separate check.