Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a 'needs' program. It does not depend upon how much you contributed in Social Security (F.I.C.A.) taxes over your years of working. In order to be eligible for SSI, you must either be over 65 and impoverished or be disabled and impoverished. Essentially if you are financially eligible for welfare, you would be financially eligible for SSI. In states without welfare, you must either have no income or income that puts you below the federal poverty level, and little or no redeemable assets.