Understand SSI Disability Requirements and the SSI Appeal Process
The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is a federal, needs-based program designed to supplement the income of people who are disabled and unable to work, and otherwise meet SSI disability requirements.
In general, Supplemental Security Income disability benefits are geared to help disabled individuals who have never worked, or they have worked and at one time were covered by Social Security Disability yet their insured status has lapsed. It may also help those who are insured by Social Security Disability benefits, yet the benefit payments are very small.
Unlike the Social Security Disability program, SSI benefits are paid out of general revenues, not out of the social security trust fund. Many states supplement the federal SSI benefit, causing SSI benefit amounts to differ from state to state.
Basically, to meet all the SSI Disability requirements, you must:
- Be “disabled” using the same definition of disability used for the Social Security Disability program
- Meet the SSI requirements for income and assets (see below)
- Be a U.S. Citizen or fit into the group of exceptions to the citizenship rule
- File an application
How Do You File for SSI Disability?
To file an SSI disability claim, you apply with the Social Security Administration. The determination of which type of disability application your initial filing will be (Social Security Disability or SSI) is decided by the claims representative.
One determining factor will be your work history – if you have not paid sufficient social security taxes to be covered by Social Security Disability benefits, then the SSI program will review your application. You must also meet several other SSI Disability requirements, such as limited income and assets, as described below.
SSI Disability Requirements for Income and Assets
Because SSI disability pays benefits based on financial need, there are limits placed on your income and assets.
Income refers to money you get from wages, Social Security benefits and pensions, as well as food and shelter. Income limits also vary by state, so the monthly income you are allowed to receive and still qualify for SSI depends to this extent on where you live.
Assets, or resources, are the things you own such as stocks and bonds, bank accounts, real estate, or cash. To meet SSI disability requirements, your assets may be worth no more than $2000 for an individual, and $3000 for a couple. Several important assets are not counted, such as a home of any value and one car of any value if it is used for work or to obtain medical care.
The SSI Appeal Process
If you are denied SSI benefits, or if you do not agree with any portion of their decision, you have the right to appeal their decision. In most cases there is a 60-day time limit from the date of the letter of denial to the time you may file for a SSI appeal.
Do not delay. Be sure to appeal the denial in time. Your right to appeal means that you have the right to be represented by an attorney of your choice. A qualified attorney knows the SSI disability requirements for a successful SSI disability claim, what proof the SSI disability system needs, and will professionally handle all aspects of the complicated paperwork. It may be your most direct way to a successful claim.
Don’t let a denial of SSI disability prevent you from claiming the benefits which you are due. There are many reasons why the program may have denied your benefits… and there are many reasons they may have made a wrong decision. A denial does not mean that your claim is not a justifiable claim.
Call Marc Whitehead & Associates today for a FREE evaluation of your claim. Our firm fights for the rights of the disabled. When you have been unfairly deprived of SSI or Social Security Disability benefits, you can count on us for exceptional legal guidance.
Attorney Marc Whitehead is Board Certified Social Security Disability Advocate.