Wednesday, August 22, 2018

SSI Supplemental Security Income - Do You Qualify?

If you do not qualify for Social Security benefits, or if your benefits are exceptionally low, and you do not have other sources of income such as a pension, it is possible you may qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  This program makes small monthly payments to you if you are age 65 or older, you are legally blind, or you are disabled.   For many people, this extra income can help them survive, especially when combined with food stamps, energy assistance, Medicaid and other forms of public assistance.

What are the Income Limits to Qualify for SSI?

Income limits for SSI vary slightly from state to state.  However, you can call the Social Security Administration office in your area to find out the exact income limit for your state.  They do NOT count the following in determining your income limits:

*  The first $20 of income each month;
*  The first $65 a month in earned income and only half the amount of earned income over $65;
*  The value of your SNAP or food stamps
*  The value of shelter provided by a nonprofit organization
*  The value of your home energy assistance

If you are married, they will consider your spouse's income and resources.  If you are under age 18, they will consider your parents' income and resources.  If you are a sponsored non-citizen, they will include some of the income and resources of your sponsor.

On the other hand, if you are a student, some of your wages and scholarships will NOT be counted.

They also will not consider some of the expenses you may have, such as the portion of wages a blind person uses for transportation, or the value of a wheelchair if you are disabled.

Asset Limits to Qualify for SSI

The Social Security Administration does consider your assets and other resources when deciding if you qualify for SSI.  This includes the value of your real estate (other than your home), bank accounts, cash, stocks and bonds.  The total value of those assets must be $2,000 or less.  A couple may still qualify if their total assets are valued at $3,000 or less.

In most cases, the Social Security Administration does not count the value of your home, your car (within reason), burial plots or up to $1,500 in burial funds.  They also do not count life insurance policies with a face value of $1,500 or less.

Other Requirements to Qualify for SSI

*If you are eligible for Social Security or other benefits, you must apply for them before applying for SSI.

*  If you live in a city or county halfway house, jail, prison or similar public facilities, you usually will not qualify for SSI, although there are exceptions for places such as educational or job training facilities, emergency shelters, etc.

*  You may qualify if you live in a facility and more than half of your expenses are being paid by Medicaid.

How to Apply for SSI Supplemental Security Income or Disability

If you believe that you or a family member would qualify for SSI, below are the ways you can apply for SSI by yourself:

Call 1-800-772-1213 and ask to speak to a Social Security representative

You May Need Professional Help Getting Benefits

Unfortunately, many people have discovered that they need to repeatedly apply for Social Security Supplemental Income benefits before they are approved.  It is very common to be turned down when you first apply.

If this happens to you and you are convinced you qualify, it may be worth it to you to hire a special disability attorney or advocate.  According to the Disability Benefits Center:

"You should approach the application process with the full understanding that your initial application is likely to be denied, even if you have everything in order. Having a disability advocate help you file can give you a bit of an edge in this process, since they know what it takes to qualify for disability benefits under SSA guidelines and how to best present the evidence of your disability. A disability advocate will even work directly with your doctor regarding the verbiage to use in order to best present your medical condition to the SSA. Additionally, should you need to go through the appeals process your disability advocates will already be familiar with the details of your case."

Learn more from these websites:

If you want to know about about how to qualify for SSI or disability, you will want to check out the following sources:

file:///C:/Users/Deborah/AppData/Local/Temp/EN-05-11000.pdf  (This is a brochure from the Social Security Administration)  (The website for the Disability Benefits Center).

If you are interested in learning more Social Security benefits, Medicare, common health problems as you age, where to retire, financial planning and more, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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1 comment:

  1. SSI is a difficult process to navigate successfully. But, if you feel you qualify it can be worth the effort. Good info here.


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