If you’re over 65, blind, or a person with a disability, you may be eligible to receive benefits through the Massachusetts State Supplement Program (SSP).
SSP helps qualified residents pay for basic needs like food, clothing, and housing. You can find out more about the program, your eligibility, and how to apply with information from the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Social Security Administration (SSA).
How Does SSP Differ from Other Benefit Programs?
SSP is 1 of 3 similar benefit programs available to Massachusetts residents:
- Social Security — Social Security is a federal program funded by income taxes and employer contributions that helps provide income to retirees, people with disabilities, and their dependents and survivors. The amount you receive depends on how much you’ve earned during your working years.
- Supplemental Security Income — Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is another federal program run by SSA. However, SSI is different from Social Security in a few ways. Unlike Social Security, SSI eligibility is based on financial need, with set limits on your personal income. You don’t need to pay into SSI in order to get benefits. SSI is also available for children who are blind or have a disability.
- State Supplement Program — SSP is a state program that provides additional support to Massachusetts residents. Like SSI, your eligibility is based on financial need. However, you might qualify for SSP even if your income is too high for you to qualify for SSI.
Am I Eligible for SSP?
Whether or not you qualify for SSP is based largely on SSI eligibility. Before you apply, make sure you meet certain requirements:
- You must be 65 or older, be blind, or have a disability.
- You must have limited income and limited resources.
- You must be a Massachusetts resident.
- You must not be living in an institution — such as a hospital or prison — at the government’s expense.
- You must apply for any other benefits or payments you’re eligible for, such as pensions and Social Security.
For more information about your personal eligibility, you can:
- Use the online Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST) to find out which SSA programs you might be eligible for.
- Call SSA toll-free at (800) 772-1213 or TTY at (800) 325-0778. Representatives are available Monday–Friday, 7 a.m.–7 p.m., but you can get recorded information 24 hours a day.
- Call SSP customer service at (877) 863-1128, Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. If you’re deaf or hard of hearing, you can get communication assistance through MassRelay.
How Do I Apply for SSP?
You must apply for SSI benefits to get SSP benefits. If you don’t qualify for SSI, you may still be eligible for SSP. You can apply for SSI in person at your local Social Security office or over the phone with an SSA representative. Use the online Social Security office locator to find a branch near you. If you plan to apply in person or over the phone, it’s recommended that you schedule an appointment.
- Make an Appointment Yourself — Call SSA at (800) 772-1213 or TTY at (800) 325-0778 to schedule a meeting with an SSA representative.
- Get Assistance — SSA provides a guide on how someone can help you with your SSI. You can have someone else call to make the appointment for you and help you with the application itself.
How Do I Receive and Manage SSP Payments?
SSP payments come directly from the state. If you qualify for both SSI and SSP, your payments will come separately. Newly registered SSI recipients must sign up for direct deposit.
People who need help managing their finances can choose to have someone receive and handle their payments, called a designated payee for SSP benefits or a representative payee for SSI benefits. The way you assign a representative depends on whether you‘re enrolled in both programs or just SSP.
- If You Receive SSI and SSP — Appoint a representative payee through SSA online.
- If You Only Receive SSP — Call SSP customer service at (877) 863-1128.
If you have questions about your eligibility or benefits, contact SSP customer service. Representatives are available from Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Do you know someone who might benefit from SSP? Let them know by sharing this article. Comment below or tweet us @MassGov with questions.
Tags: benefit programs, benefits, entitlement programs, individuals with disabilities, Massachusetts entitlement programs, massachusetts state supplement program, seniors, social security, social security administration, social security disability, social security income, state supplement program
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