Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Claims
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are from a federal program administered by Social Security. SSI benefits are not based on a worker’s earnings. The SSI program provides a cash benefit to individuals who have limited income and resources, are age 65 or older, are blind, or are disabled. Disabled or blind children may also receive SSI benefits. When you apply for SSI, Social Security needs information about your income, your resources, your living arrangements, and your citizenship or alien status.
When determining the amount of income for SSI purposes, Social Security looks at money you earn from work, money you receive from other sources, including other federal benefits, unemployment, and from friends/relatives, and free food or shelter. Resources, or the things that you own, are cash, bank accounts, stocks, bonds, land, vehicles, personal property, life insurance, and anything else you can convert to cash for food or shelter. You may have $2,000 worth of monthly resources as an individual, and $3,000 for a couple and qualify for SSI.
SSI benefits are not retroactive, meaning benefits can only be paid after the month of application or the month when you first become eligible and meet Social Security requirements. To apply for SSI, you must also have limited income and limited resources. Sometimes there are deeming of resources to your household, and further explanation is required to sort out what counts as a resource over the allowable amount. Not all resources count as a resource for SSI, and selling or giving away a resource can negatively impact your ability to apply for SSI without a time penalty.
SSI is similar to SSDI in that both programs pay monthly benefits, the medical standards for proving disability are generally the same in both programs for individuals age 18 or older, and Social Security administers both programs. For children under the age of 18, there is a separate definition of disability for SSI.
The monthly SSI benefit amount in 2019 is $771. Sometimes an insured claimant can receive both SSI and SSDI if certain requirements are met. The SSI benefit amount may be reduced if you are receiving support from others or earning income. Social Security looks at your income and resources and may deem another’s income and resources to you, thereby reducing your SSI benefit. Your living arrangement is another factor that Social Security considers in determining how much SSI benefit you are eligible for. Whether you live alone or with someone else, Social Security needs to know who pays for your food and shelter. There may be further explanation needed to provide to Social Security, such as a loan or rental agreement for food and/or shelter, so the individual has the maximum SSI benefit.
If you receive SSI benefits you must reimburse the state for any cash assistance you received while you were waiting to qualify for SSI. If you are due past-due benefits, Social Security pays them in installments, in no more than three payments, six months apart.
Attorneys at Martone Law Firm are experienced in assisting claimants applying for SSI benefits. We can provide information needed to make sure you are getting the maximum amount of SSI benefits you qualify for without any unnecessary reductions. Contact Martone Law Firm today with your questions about qualifying for SSI.