To get Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you will have to gather all the proof necessary to show you qualify, and then apply either by phone or in person. If you are certain you meet the strict qualifications for the federal program and have the required documentation, you can call 1-800-772-1213 or contact your local Social Security office to schedule your application interview.
But we recommend contacting Berger and Green to help you. While SSI can be a lifesaver for many Americans who cannot work and have little income and few resources to pay their bills, the application and approval process is often difficult. Many applicants qualify, but it is often difficult to provide the proper documentation to show you meet the stringent requirements.
The Pennsylvania Social Security disability lawyers at Berger and Green understand how to get SSI, and can help you get the benefits you deserve. Call our Pittsburgh office at 412-661-1400 today to learn more about how we can help you get SSI.
What is Supplemental Security Income?
SSI is a federal program run by the Social Security Administration (SSA). SSI offers benefits to those who cannot work due to their age, disability or blindness and have very limited income and resources. Without benefits from SSI or a similar program, many of those who qualify could not afford housing, food, clothing, or other necessities.
How can I get SSI?
To get SSI, applicants must show they meet strict rules that outline how much income is available to you and the maximum value of resources you have access to. There is no past work requirement, though, so you can draw even if you did not pay into Social Security.
In addition, you must:
- Meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disabled;
- Meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of blindness; or
- Be age 65 or older.
We can help you determine if you:
Meet the Income Requirements
SSI requires you suffer from a health condition or other medical problem that limits your ability to earn a living. The income limit for SSI is equal to the Federal Benefit Rate, which can change every year. For 2017, the income limit is $735.
For a full list of what the SSA considers and does not consider income, click here.
SSI also places a limit on the assets you can have. For 2017, this limit is $2,000 per person or $3,000 per couple. The “countable resources” considered by the SSA include almost anything you could cash in or sell to make money. Exceptions include:
- Your family home
- Personal effects
- One vehicle (as long as you use it to transport you or a family member)
- Property or items used in a business or trade
- Some life insurance policies without a cash surrender value
- Burial plots or expense funds
When we discuss your qualifications for SSI, we carefully list all possible resources and weigh them against the exceptions provided by the SSA. As we analyze your family’s financial landscape, we also help Social Security gather documentation to show you meet the qualifications for SSI. Even if do not meet this qualification, we may be able to help you qualify for another benefit.
Prove You are Disabled
In many cases, most difficult part of getting SSI is proving disability. Once you reach age 65 (and meet the income restrictions), you automatically qualify. But those under 65 must provide the SSA with documentation of their medical condition and demonstrate how it impairs their ability to work and live a normal, active life.
Typically, this proof comes in the form of your medical records. Occasionally, the SSA may require you see one of its preferred doctors to understand your impairment and process your claim.
To prove you are disabled, you must provide evidence that shows you meet the severity criteria for your specific condition listed in the SSA’s Blue Book, or that your condition is so severe it keeps you from adjusting to any type of work.
Thanks to our extensive experience with disability applications, we understand what it takes to prove you suffer from a significant disability. We can help Social Security obtain and analyze your medical records, if necessary.
Do I qualify for other benefits?
Many people who qualify for SSI also qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Both SSI and SSDI rely on the same impairment listing guidelines, meaning if you qualify as disabled under one program you also meet that requirement for the other. However, there are two big differences between SSI and SSDI.
You can qualify for SSDI if you are unable to engage in “substantial gainful activity” (i.e., making more than a given amount each month). For 2017, you are engaging in substantial gainful activity if you make more than $1,170 a month.
To draw SSDI, you must have been an active part of the workforce and paid a minimum amount into Social Security over the course of your career. For each year you worked, you received work credits. The number of credits you need depends on your age.
We will examine your case, determine which benefit you qualify for, and help you apply for the program(s) that benefits you and your family the most.
Berger and Green: Pennsylvania Social Security Lawyers
The Pittsburgh SSI attorneys at Berger and Green know how to get SSI for you. Whether you are not sure you qualify or if you received a denial and need help navigating the appeals process, we are here for you. Give us a call today at 412-661-1400, and schedule a time to meet with a Pennsylvania SSI lawyer.