Supplemental Security Income (SSI): What is it?  How Do I Apply for SSI?

Supplemental Security Income is a program for low income individuals to receive cash assistance.  The program is a safety net for individuals who do not have a strong prior work history.  If you are disabled or blind and have limited income and resources, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  To apply for SSI based on disability or blindness, it is best to contact a Social Security disability ttorney who has experience in this field.  Match and Farnsworth, PC represents claimants in Idaho, Utah, Arizona and Nevada, and guides them through the process from the initial application through the hearing level, if necessary.

Supplemental Security Income is a federal program that makes payments to people with low income who are 65-years-old or older, or who are blind or have a disability.  Although the Social Security Administration manages the SSI program, it is not paid for from the Social Security taxes or trust fund.  You may be eligible for this benefit if you are disabled and have limited resources and income.  Contact an attorney who is knowledgeable in Social Security law and procedures and they can help you find out if you are eligible.  If you are eligible, as the lawyer can help you through the process of obtaining benefits.

The monthly SSI payment is just the first part of the benefits.  The state may also add money once a person is eligible for SSI. In some states like Utah, Arizona and Nevada, if you are receiving SSI benefits you may be eligible for housing assistance too.  Other benefits include insurance and food assistance. Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program are both administered through the state.

Only persons who live in the United States or its territories are eligible to receive SSI. Citizenship is not required, but there are other criteria that non-citizens must meet. A person living in certain types of institutions, such as publicly operated community residence, public emergency shelter for the homeless, and sometimes even public or private institutions where Medicaid is paying more than half the cost of the care may be eligible.  Residents of city and county rest homes, halfway houses or other public institutions such as jail or prison are usually not eligible for SSI, but there are some exceptions. People age 62 and older may also be eligible for Social Security benefits if they have worked long enough.  Retirement benefits and survivors benefits may both be paid along with SSI.

SSI is calculated on a month by month basis so it is important to keep track of income, housing situation, medical bills and assets on a monthly basis.  Social Security will ask for proof of these things on a monthly basis. There is an income limit that varies by geographic location, and an asset limit of $2,000 for individuals, and $3,000 for a couple.

After the initial application to Social Security Administration, the person becomes a claimant.  The claimant follows the same 5-Step process for those seeking Disability Insurance Benefits. They must prove they are not working, or if they are that they are earning below the income limit.  They must prove that they have a severe impairment.  Then that impairment must either meet or equal a predetermined list of impairments.  If not, then the Social Security considers whether or not a claimant can do past work.  And if they cannot do any of the jobs they had in the last 15 years, Social Security asks whether there is any other job they could do in the national economy.  If there are no jobs available because of the limitations of the severe impairment, a person is entitled to benefits.
Additional Resources

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Resource Limitations

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