The Social Security Administration (SSA) assists disabled individuals through two separate programs: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Many people may not qualify for SSDI benefits because they have never worked or have not worked long enough. For this reason, it’s important to learn about the SSI program to determine if you qualify.
Aged, Blind, or Disabled
According to the SSA Handbook § 2112, applicants must fit into one of three categories in order to qualify for SSI benefits. These categories are aged (meaning age 65 or older), blind, or disabled. It’s important to note that you only need to fall into one of these categories, not all three.
Income & Other Assets
SSI is a needs-based program, which means benefits are only awarded to low-income individuals. In order to qualify for SSI, your income must be below the federal benefit rate (FBR), which is adjusted annually. As of January 2017, the FBR is $735 per month for an individual, and $1,103 for a couple. This means if you are single and your monthly income is more than $735 per month, you do not qualify for SSI benefits.
The SSA will also look at your assets when determining if you qualify for SSI benefits. Examples of assets include bank accounts, real estate property, stocks, and bonds. In order to qualify for these benefits, an individual cannot have more than $2,000 in assets and a couple cannot have more than $3,000 in assets.
However, certain assets will not be included in this calculation. For example, the SSA will not include the value of the house that you live in, the car you drive, or your life insurance policy.
There are a number of other requirements that must be met in order to qualify for SSI. For instance, you will not be approved for benefits if you refuse to give the SSA permission to contact financial institutions and request information on your financial records. You will also not be approved if you are not a resident of one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands. This is just a small sample of the other requirements that must be met, so be sure to look at this list to determine if there is anything that prevents you from qualifying for SSI benefits.
If you qualify for SSI benefits, let one of our experienced attorneys assist you with the application process. We will fight tirelessly to ensure that you receive the benefits that you deserve. Call Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at 918-582-2500 or toll free at (800) 722-8880. You can also contact us online for a free consultation with an experienced attorney.