Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is a need-based program created by the Social Security Act (the “Act”) for those who are disabled. In some circumstances, SSI may assist those over age 65. As SSI disability attorneys, we believe it is important to help our clients understand disability benefits.
SSI Disability Requirements
To qualify for benefits, a claimant must meet the standard of disability set out in the Act. For adults, this means that the claimant is unable to work on a full-time basis. Children must be either blind or have a disability that meets Social Security requirements. An SSI disability attorney can help you decide whether you or your child may be eligible for SSI.
A claimant’s SSI claim may be denied outright at application if they do not meet the non-disability requirements. Or, a claimant who is found disabled may get no benefits or reduced benefits due to the non-disability factors that play an important role in SSI.
Applicants must meet income and eligibility requirements. Income refers to anything an individual receives in cash or in-kind that can be used to meet needs for clothing and shelter. It is counted on a monthly basis. There are specific regulations for how income is counted for SSI eligibility purposes. Income is counted for both the month received and, if retained, as a resource in the following month. While almost all income is countable, there are some sources that are not counted for SSI purposes. Income is further subdivided into earned income, unearned income, and in-kind support and maintenance, which may affect the SSI benefit.
The resource eligibility limits are:
$2,000 for an individual, and
$3,000 for an individual with an eligible spouse. (20 C.F.R. 416.1205).
Resources include cash or liquid assets or real or personal property that an individual or spouse owns and could convert to cash to be used for support and maintenance. Resource determinations are based on what assets an individual has and what their values are.
Some resources are excluded, meaning they do not count against someone’s SSI eligibility. For example, a home is not counted as a resource regardless of its value. However, “home” has a specific definition in Social Security’s regulations. For example, if a person moves out of the house with no intent to return, the house may become a countable resource. Ask your SSI disability attorney more about what counts as a resource if you’re unsure.
Talk to an SSI Disability Attorney
Resource/income determinations can be quite complex. As a result, make sure to keep proper documentation of any sources of income, loans from friends or family, and anything that could be considered a resource. This will allow you to give Social Security sufficient information to make a determination on your SSI eligibility. Your SSI lawyer can help you put all of this together for your case.
If you have any questions about a Social Security claim, contact a disability attorney at any of our offices across Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Illinois. Call (618) 266-4038 or submit the Contact Form on our website for a free consultation.