Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a disability program offered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) to provide financial assistance to those with low income who are suffering from a disability that prevents them from working.
Although this important program provides a vital lifeline to many, there are strict requirements for who can obtain benefits. Our Silver Spring Social Security Disability attorneys are familiar with the many requirements and details of the application process. We can help you with your application or appeal of a denied claim.
Before you begin the application process for SSI, it is important that you know if you qualify for these types of benefits.
Unlike other programs provided by the SSA, SSI provides monthly benefits for those who have low income and few resources and meet one of the following requirements:
- 65 or older
Applicants who are between the ages of 18 and 65 may be considered disabled if they suffer from a physical or mental impairment that:
- Has lasted or is expected to last at least one year or result in death
- Prevents them from doing substantial gainful activity
Substantial gainful activity is generally considered being able to hold a full-time job, however, part-time work can also be included. Anyone who earns more than $1,170 per month in 2017 is considered to be able to do substantial gainful activity.
To be eligible for SSI, you must meet the following requirements:
Applicants must also have limited income. To calculate your income, the SSA counts:
- Money earned from work
- Money from other sources like the Department of Veterans Affairs, workers’ compensation, unemployment benefits, Social Security benefits, and friends and family
- Free food and shelter
There are also several parts of your income that are not counted, which includes:
- The first $20 received per month
- The first $65 in earnings and one-half of earnings over $65 received per month
- Income tax refunds
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps)
The SSA will also take into account your resources, or the items you own, when determining your eligibility for SSI. Individuals applying for SSI cannot have more than $2,000 in resources and couples cannot have more than $3,000, as of 2017.
To calculate your resources, the SSA counts the things you own, such as:
- Bank accounts
- U.S. savings bonds
- Life insurance
- Anything that can be converted to cash
It will not count:
- The home you live in and the land it is on
- Household goods and personal items
- One vehicle that is used for transportation
How to Apply for SSI
If you think you may qualify for SSI, you should apply for disability as soon as possible. This is important because the SSA will pay past-due disability benefits to the date you filed your application. However, it cannot pay earlier than your application date.
You can apply for SSI by:
- Applying for SSI online
- Calling 1-800-772-1213 or TTY 1-800-325-0778 if you are deaf or hard of hearing
- Visit your local Social Security office
You have the right to appoint a representative to attend appointments, complete all forms, gather information and evidence, represent you at hearings, and help you with an appeal. Our attorneys are experienced in handling these types of claims and can help make sure your application is complete and accurate.
Documents Required for Your SSI Application
Some of the documents you may need to apply for SSI include:
- Social Security card or number
- Birth certificate
- Payroll stubs or a tax return from the previous year
- Bank statements
- Life or disability insurance policies
- Titles or registration for vehicles
- Property deed or tax bill or a receipt from a lease or rental
- Medical reports, including contact information for your doctors and a list of your medications
- Work history
It is beneficial to make sure you have all of these items gathered before you begin your application, as it can help your application run more smoothly.
The more information you provide to the SSA, the better, however, they may request more information if needed. Our attorneys can help you gather the necessary documentation and evidence to support your claim.
Get Help with Your SSI Application Today
Applying for Social Security Disability benefits is a complicated process. Having an experienced disability lawyer by your side can help take some of that stress off of your shoulders.
It is likely that your claim may be denied the first time you apply. If this happens, you should contact our team for help appealing your claim.
We can help you no matter where you are in the process, whether you are applying for benefits for the first time or you have already been denied.
Contact Goldberg Finnegan today for a free, no obligation consultation and review of your claim. We will not charge you any fees unless we get compensation for you.