Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are monthly payments for disabled persons who have limited income and resources. This federal income supplement program provides financial assistance for basic needs like food, clothing, and housing. A Cranberry Township Supplemental Security Income lawyer can help determine your eligibility for SSI and advocate on your behalf to build a strong and effective claim for benefits.
The lawyers of Berger and Green might be able to help you get disability payments. In many cases, the Social Security Administration (SSA) denies disability claims for individuals who should be eligible to receive benefits. Fortunately, there are multiple levels of appeals that you can go through to continue pursuing your disability claim. Call a legal team member today at (412) 661-1400 and start the process of qualifying for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits.
SSI Eligibility Requirements for Adults
Disabled adults qualify for SSI only if they meet certain eligibility requirements. These requirements include documenting a sufficiently severe medical condition that makes you unable to work, as well as meeting strict income and resource guidelines. A Cranberry Township Supplemental Security Income lawyer may be able to help you navigate the SSI application and eligibility process.
To qualify for SSI, you must have a physical or mental impairment that has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or result in death. This impairment or combination of impairments also must prevent you from working or engaging in substantial gainful activity. The definition of substantial gainful activity covers any work that you perform or typically would perform for pay or profit. Substantial gainful activity can include part-time or full-time work, so long as your earnings average $1,310 per month in 2021. If you can still complete substantial gainful activity despite your disability, you are probably ineligible for SSI.
You must have limited or no income to qualify for SSI benefits. Income includes all your earnings and any unearned income that you receive, such as pensions or unemployment benefits. Income also includes any in-kind benefits that you receive. Some of the income from your household members, such as your spouse who is not disabled, also counts as income for calculating eligibility for SSI benefits.
Some income, however, does not count for SSI income requirements. Some examples of excluded forms of income include:
- The first $20 of any income that you receive each month
- The first $65 of your earnings and ½ of any earnings over $65 each month
- SNAP or food stamps
- Scholarships or grants
- Income tax refunds
The SSA will decrease the amount of monthly SSI benefits that you receive by any form of income that counts for the purposes of SSI eligibility. The standard amount of federal SSI benefits changes slightly from time to time to account for changes in the cost of living.
In addition to income limits, you also must have limited resources to be eligible for SSI. A single person must have no more than $2,000 in resources, and a married couple must have no more than $3,000 in resources.
Resources are assets or property of value that you own, such as cash, bank accounts, real estate, and vehicles. However, not all property counts as resources for calculating SSI. For example, the SSA does not count the value of your primary residence and one vehicle that you use for transportation as resources. SSA also excludes some other resources, such as household goods and personal effects, burial spaces, and life insurance policies worth $1,500 or less. Some other types of resources, such as retroactive SSI benefits that you receive, remain excluded as resources for SSI calculations for nine months after you receive them.
Berger and Green can evaluate your eligibility for SSI. Call us today at (412) 661-1400.
Differences Between SSI and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
One major difference between SSI and SSDI benefits is the limitations on income and resources for SSI recipients. People who receive SSDI have no income or resource limits. There is a limit on the amount of income that you can get from working while applying for SSDI. A person who receives SSDI, then, can own more than $2,000 in countable resources and still be eligible for monthly SSDI benefits.
Furthermore, the amount of SSDI benefits that you receive depends on your earning history. To be eligible for SSI, you do not have to have any earnings history. In fact, many disabled adults receive SSI because they do not have an earnings history sufficient to qualify them for SSDI. In contrast, SSDI benefits depend in part on how much you earned and how long you worked. Therefore, the amount of SSDI benefits that you receive can be very different from person to person.
Another major difference is that SSI benefits do not provide any benefits for the family members of disabled adults. If you qualify for SSDI benefits, however, your dependent children and family members may qualify for a monthly benefit payment, as well.
Get Legal Advice About Your SSI Eligibility Today
Dealing with a disability and being unable to work can be a stressful and challenging situation. If SSA denies your initial claim for SSI benefits, you may be unsure where to turn for help. Fortunately, a Cranberry Township Supplemental Security Income lawyer can evaluate your situation and work to ensure that SSA has all the information necessary to prove your eligibility for SSI benefits.
We know how crucial getting Social Security Disability benefits can be for you and your family when your disability makes you unable to work. The wait for SSA to approve your claim for benefits can be substantial, especially when you receive an initial denial of your claim. We can evaluate your situation, present your available options, and work to get you the benefits for which you are eligible. Call us today at (412) 661-1400 and see what Berger and Green can do for you.