You Don’t Have to Fight the SSA On Your Own
Going after Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits can be frustrating. You jump through one hoop after the other, only to get denied the benefits you deserve. If you had the energy to fight the Social Security Administration (SSA) on your own, you might not need disability benefits, but you have a severe medical condition. You need to rest and focus on your health and well-being.
An Altoona supplemental security income lawyer at Berger and Green could help you go after SSI benefits if you meet the eligibility requirements. Most people get denied when they first apply for disability benefits, often because they do not understand the rules of applying for SSI.
You can call us today at (412) 661-1400 to find out how we can help you in Altoona, Pennsylvania.
For a free legal consultation with a supplemental security income lawyer serving Altoona, call 412-661-1400
Overview of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Program
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is government assistance for adults with disabilities, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA) that administers the program. You must have low income and few financial resources to qualify for SSI benefits.
The SSA can pay monthly cash benefits (SSI) to people whose applications they approve. Typically, SSI benefits are lower than the amount people receive if they qualify for the other disability benefits program the SSA administers, the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program.
When a person does not qualify for SSDI, usually because they did not work long enough at a job that paid Social Security taxes out of the worker’s paycheck, SSI could keep the disabled person from becoming destitute. SSI is a safety net for some of our most vulnerable people. Also, a person who qualifies for SSI likely is eligible for other income-based government assistance programs like housing, food, and medical care.
Altoona Supplemental Security Income Lawyer Near Me 412-661-1400
Eligibility Rules for SSI Benefits
The Social Security Administration created the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) booklet (SSI Booklet) to explain the eligible rules and provide other information about the SSI program. The Booklet says that you must meet all of these criteria to qualify for SSI benefits:
- Be blind or disabled. The rules for disability are the same as for the SSDI program. You must have a severe medical condition that prevents you from working or be statutorily blind.
- Have a low income. The SSA does not count all of your income toward the eligibility limit, but if you are married, they count part of your spouse’s income.
- Have few financial resources, in other words, things that you own.
You must apply for all other assistance programs for which you qualify. If you apply for SSI and are eligible for but have not applied for Social Security, veterans’ benefits, or other programs, the SSA will deny your application for SSI.
If you live in another country, you cannot collect SSI benefits. Usually, you have to be a U.S. citizen or national, but in some situations, a noncitizen resident can get SSI.
We understand that the Eligibility and other rules of the SSI program can feel overwhelming and confusing. An Altoona supplemental security income lawyer at Berger and Green can evaluate your circumstances and help you navigate the application and appeal process. You can call us today at (412) 661-1400 to get started.
What Disabled Means for Purposes of SSI Eligibility
You must have a medical condition that meets the severity test of the Adult Listing of Impairments, also called the Blue Book. The SSA uses this reference tool to assess whether your illness or injury is significant enough to prevent you from supporting yourself through gainful employment.
The SSA will look at your income for two different reasons:
- To see if your income is low enough to meet the limited income requirement to be eligible for SSI, and
- If you are working while applying for SSDI. The SSA says that if you can earn more than $1,260 a month ($2,110 a month for a statutorily blind), the SSA will declare that you are not disabled. These numbers are for the year 2020 and usually change from one year to the next with the cost of living.
The SSA will measure your medical condition against the Blue Book or assess your functional capacity to see if you are sick enough to qualify as disabled.
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What Counts as Resources for SSI Eligibility
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) General Information page states that you can only have up to $2,000 in countable things that you own (as an individual) or $3,000 for a couple. Typically, the SSA counts your cash, bank accounts, investments, life insurance with a cash value, some personal property, property other than your home, and vehicles you own in addition to the one you use for your transportation.
If you can sell it, exchange it, or use it to buy food or shelter, the SSA might count it as a financial resource. Your home and the land it sits on do not count. Your household goods and personal items, like a wedding ring, are usually exempt. Burial plots for you or your immediate family do not count. Property that you use for work, like tools, can be exempt.
In some situations, the SSA can “deem” part of the assets of another person; in other words, include them in the calculation of your total assets. For example, some of the assets of your spouse might count against you, potentially putting you over the financial limit for SSI eligibility.
Getting Legal Help with Your Altoona Supplemental Security Income Claim
You did not ask to have a severe medical condition that left you unable to work.
People who qualify for SSI benefits often get rejected the first time they apply. An Altoona supplemental security income lawyer can help you go after the assistance for which you are eligible.
You can call Berger and Green today at (412) 661-1400 for a free initial consultation. There is no obligation, and there are no upfront legal fees.