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Benefits of Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

You can receive the state SSI payment only if you qualify for a federal SSI payment.  One exception is a small group of grandfathered SSI members who still receive the state SSI payment they qualified for in December 1995.

You do not have to apply separately for the state SSI payment.  You will automatically receive the state SSI payment as long as you qualify for a federal SSI payment.  You will receive both the first week of each month.

How is SSI different from Social Security benefits?

SSI payments are not based on your prior work or a family member's prior work.  To get SSI, you must have limited income and resources. In most states, SSI members also receive Medicaid to pay for hospital stays, doctor bills, prescription drugs, and other health costs.

Only the Social Security Administration distributes Social Security benefits.

How is SSI like Social Security?

Both programs pay monthly benefits. However, in Wisconsin, SSI is supplemented by the Department of Health Services (DHS).

Do I qualify for Medical Assistance in Wisconsin?

If you receive SSI payments, you automatically qualify for Medicaid (called SSI Medicaid, Medical Assistance, or Title 19). A separate Medicaid application is not necessary.

If you receive SSI payments and also have Medicare, the state will automatically pay your out-of-pocket Medicare costs, such as Medicare premiums, deductibles, and copayments.

Note: As of January 2018, certain Supplemental Security Income (SSI) members must be enrolled in an HMO of the member’s choice.

Can my SSI payment be deposited in my bank account?

Your SSI payment may be directly deposited into your bank account. Learn more about direct deposit of your benefits.

Do I qualify for FoodShare (formerly Food Stamps)?

When you receive SSI, you also may qualify for FoodShare. FoodShare can help you buy more food without having to spend other income.  You can apply for FoodShare through the ACCESS website or your agency.

However, people who live in a household where everyone is applying for or receiving SSI may apply for FoodShare at the Social Security office.

You may also qualify for other benefits and help. Learn more about help you can get.

What other social services are available?

Additional social services are available to SSI members through your agency.  These services include:

  • Homemaker and chore services.
  • Long-term support and care.
  • Rehabilitation services.
  • Protective services.

For more information about these and other social services, contact your agency.

What are SSI payment levels?

The table below shows both federal and state maximum SSI payments in 2015 for SSI members in different living arrangements.  Not all SSI members receive the maximum SSI payment amounts.  Federal payments may be lower if you have other income, such as Social Security retirement or Social Security disability.

Not all of your other income counts toward your eligibility for SSI.  Your Social Security office can give you more information about how other income affects federal SSI payment amounts.

Everyone who qualifies for a federal SSI payment of any amount automatically qualifies for the maximum state SSI payment. If you lose eligibility for a federal SSI payment, you will also stop receiving the state SSI payment.

Effective January 1, 2015

Living Arrangement

2015 SSI: Federal Payment

2015 SSI: State Payment

2015 SSI: Total Payment

Independent Living

Eligible Individual




Eligible Couple




Couple/One Spouse Eligible




Living in the Household of Another

Eligible Individual




Eligible Couple




Couple/One Spouse Eligible



Natural Residential or Substitute Care SSI-E Exceptional Expense Supplement

Eligible Individual




Eligible Couple




SSI Caretaker Supplement

Effective date:
November 1, 1999
*$250 for the first eligible child and $150 for each additional eligible child

*The SSI-E state supplement is available to SSI members who reside in certain substitute care facilities or who require additional support services in order to live independently. Only local agencies may certify eligible SSI members for the SSI-E state supplement.

*The Caretaker Supplement state payment is available to SSI members whose dependent children are eligible for certain types of Medicaid.

What are the Exceptional Expense Supplemental Security Income (SSI-E) benefits?

A monthly cash benefit of $95.99 is added to the State SSI payment of each SSI member who meets eligibility requirements and is certified for the benefit by a county agency.

What are Caretaker Supplement benefits?

A monthly cash benefit for each eligible child living with his or her SSI parent.  Beginning November 1, 1999, the benefit is $250 per month for the first eligible child and $150 per month for each additional eligible child.

For example, if there are 2 eligible children living with their SSI-eligible parent, the Caretaker Supplement will be $400 per month.

The benefit will be added to the parent's monthly state SSI check.  If there are two parents in the household who receive SSI, the benefit will be added to only one parent's state SSI check.

Last revised June 2, 2021