Experienced Montgomery SSI Attorneys
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a benefits program available to disabled persons who do not have the income or financial resources necessary to provide for the basic necessities of life, such as food, clothing or shelter. Whereas Social Security Disability (SSD) is funded through contributions by employees and their employers and is based on how much an individual has contributed to the system, SSI is funded by the government with general tax revenue. This means that even if you have never worked a day in your life, you can still qualify for assistance from SSI. Here are a few things you need to know about SSI.
Who can be eligible for SSI?
To qualify for SSI, you must either be:
- 65 or older,
and have limited income and assets.
What does it mean to be disabled?
For adults, there must be a physical or mental condition that renders you unable to work, and that is expected to last for a year or more or end in death. For children, there must be a physical or mental condition that produces functional limitations. Again, this condition must also be permanent, defined as lasting for a year or more or culminating in death. Children cannot be employed and still qualify for SSI.
What does it mean to have limited income and assets?
The threshold is very low. Individuals are limited to $733 per month in countable income, and couples are limited to $1,100 per month. This includes income from almost all sources, including not only wages if you are working, but also benefits from Social Security, workers’ compensation, unemployment, veterans’ benefits, or even money you get from friends or relatives or in-kind contributions of food, clothing or shelter.
Not all income is counted in determining SSI eligibility, however. For instance, you can exclude the first $20 of most income received in a month, as well as the first $65 of your earnings and one-half of the rest of your earnings received each month. Food stamps (SNAP) are not counted as income, and there are many other types of income that are not counted as well, so be sure and consult with an experienced SSI attorney to decide whether you qualify.
In counting your assets, Social Security will look at resources such as cash and bank accounts, real and personal property, cars you own, and the cash value of any life insurance policies you may have. Assets are limited to $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple.
How much are SSI benefits?
Currently, you can receive up to $733 a month in SSI, or $1,100 per month as a married couple. You may also qualify for medical benefits from Medicaid and food assistance from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
As with SSD, applying for and receiving SSI benefits is a difficult process that often involves going through a hearing, a rehearing and an appeal before your application is finally approved. Attorney Kay Dansby is a former Social Security Staff Attorney who has been helping people apply for and receive benefits for more than 20 years. Call the Dansby Law Firm in Montgomery for a free consultation. We can help you get your benefits, and there is no fee unless we recover for you.