Quite a few people know someone who receives SSI, but not many know what it is. SSI stands for Supplemental Security Income, a type of disability benefit program available through the Social Security Administration (SSA).
What is SSI?
SSI is a type of disability benefit designed to supplement the income of people with serious disabilities. SSI is available through the SSA like Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), although it differs in several ways:
- Instead of work credits, SSI bases benefits on an income and assets threshold
- You can qualify for Medicaid automatically
- You might also be eligible for food assistance benefits
How do I qualify for SSI benefits?
You qualify for SSI benefits if you meet the SSA’s definition of disability, are age 65 or older, or are blind.
Next, you must meet the income requirements. Your income must fall below the benefit threshold to qualify for SSI. (The threshold changes with each year’s Cost-of-Living Adjustment.) The income threshold is low; however, remember that the SSA does not consider all income. The SSA excludes:
- The first $65 you make each month plus half of what is remaining
- Any work expenses you have because of your impairment
- The first $20 of any unearned income each month
- Any state- or locally-funded assistance you receive
- Rent subsidies
The SSI application process also looks at the resources you have available to support yourself. Resources are things like cash on hand, investment accounts, and life insurance policies. You cannot have more than $2,000 in resources; if you are married, you and your spouse combined cannot have more than $3,000 in resources. (The SSA excludes assets such as your place of residence, one vehicle if used for transportation, household goods, and tax refunds.)
The SSA can revoke SSI benefits if your income, resources, or disabilities change. For example, if you receive a windfall such as an inheritance, you might have to give up your benefits. If your disability improves and allows you to work, the SSA will likely stop your benefits.
Where can I get help recovering SSI benefits?
A Social Security lawyer can help you with your application for SSI benefits, as well as applications for other possible benefits programs such as SSDI.
Berger & Green is a Pittsburgh Social Security disability law firm here to help disabled individuals and their families navigate the complex world of Social Security disability benefits. When you work with our team, you can rest easy knowing our lawyers are using years of disability application knowledge to improve your chances of recovering a Social Security benefit award.
We can also help you appeal the decision if the SSA denied your application for SSI benefits. For all your Social Security disability questions, meet with us in person or by phone for a free disability claim consultation. Call us at 412-661-1400 to schedule a free meeting with a Supplemental Security Income lawyer in Pittsburgh.