Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program designed for disabled individuals who have demonstrated a need for financial assistance and an inability to maintain gainful activity. In certain cases, people who are older than 65 may still qualify even if they do not fully meet the Social Security Administration (SSA)’s definition of disability. This leaves many individuals wondering how to qualify for supplemental security income (SSI).
How to Qualify for Supplemental Security Income
- To quality for SSI benefits if you are under 65, you must demonstrate that you are totally disabled and that you have no other means of financial support. You will need to prove that your disability prevents you from performing work, whether it is for a job you had prior to your disability or anything else that you could have trained for.
- In order to qualify for SSI from a financial standpoint, your total countable assets cannot total more than $2,000 (or $3,000 if you are married). Countable assets refer to anything of value within your possession, excluding your current home and one vehicle. Examples of assets include money in your savings account or checking account, retirement accounts like a 401(k) or an IRA, a second or third vehicle, or life insurance policies with cash value. Of course, this is not a complete list.
- If you meet the SSA definition of disabled and can show that you quality financially, you may be eligible for SSI.
- If you have been employed at some point during the past ten years, consider applying for SSDI in addition to SSI. Certain people can receive both. The largest difference between the programs is that SSDI should be used by people who had been employed prior to their disability. SSI differs in that it is primarily for those who demonstrate a financial need. Not working in the past ten years does not disqualify you from SSI.
- As soon as you determine that your disability may last longer than a year, you should file for SSI. If you discover that your disability is terminal and will lead to your death in less than a year, it is especially important to file as soon as possible.
- It is possible for children to qualify for SSI. The SSA has a list of medical conditions that are acceptable and quality for SSI. In these cases, the benefits are generally paid to parents or a legal guardian. If your child begins receiving SSI based on a medical condition and this condition is removed from the list at a future date, he or she will continue to receive SSI benefits.
A SSDI attorney can represent you if your SSI claim is denied. These experienced advocates are well acquainted with the SSA and are the best option for representation if you think you have been denied SSI benefits unfairly. It is entirely possible to represent yourself if you wish to contest the SSA ruling, but having an advocate who is knowledgeable of the system will benefit you greatly. They will show you how to qualify for supplemental security income and make the application process much easier for you. Often, these advocates only receive payment if the ruling is overturned. You have nothing to lose in pursuing an appeal.