Helping You Receive the SSI Benefits To Which You Are Entitled
Approximately eight million Americans who are of a mature age, blind or disabled receive benefits from the Supplemental Security Income program. Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is a Federal government program created to assist those most in need. The current SSI program was incorporated into Title XVI of the Social Security Act during the Nixon era. Before this time, programs existed to help the elderly, blind, or disabled, but they were run on a state level and did not always provide consistent support. In 1972, President Nixon signed the Social Security Amendments, and the Federal SSI program was born.
SSI benefits can be a major boon for a disabled child or adult, providing him or her with the necessary monthly monies to pay for food, housing, and shelter.
SSI: An Overview
The purpose of SSI benefits is to assist people who are least capable of maintaining adequate employment and self-sufficiently caring for their basic life needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter. To this end, receipt of SSI benefits is limited to those individuals who are: 1) over the age of 65; 2) considered to be legally blind; 3) disabled children or adults. In addition, applicants must have limited income and resources. The Social Security Administration sets strict income and asset limits, which are addressed briefly below. Recipients must also be a resident of the United States, not absent the country for more than 30 consecutive days, and be either a U.S. citizen or national, or fall into one of the categories of eligible non-citizens.
Income & Resource Determination
In order to be eligible for SSI benefits, you cannot exceed income and resource limits set yearly by the federal government. As of 2014, you must make under $721 per month for an individual and $1,082 per month for a couple to be eligible. However, not all income is countable. SSI allows for certain earned income exclusions that make it easier for working adults to qualify. SSI excludes the first $65 in earnings and one-half of all earnings over $65 per month. This means that, in 2014, an individual can earn up to $1,500 a month and still qualify for SSI, although their monthly payment will be reduced. Disabled students and children have additional income exclusions designed to assist them in qualifying.
SSI will additionally look at your resources. Resources can include cash, bank accounts, land, life insurance, personal property, vehicles, and sometimes resources held by your parents or spouse, termed “deemed” resources. The limit for countable resources is currently $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple. However, many resources will not count towards the resource limit. Your home, for instance, is excluded, as are household goods, one vehicle, and grants or scholarships.
An experienced SSI attorney can assist you in understanding the income and resource limits for obtaining SSI benefits. Additionally, your attorney can guide you through the application process and assist you in becoming eligible for SSI benefits.
To qualify for SSI, those under the age of 65 must have a condition that meets the definition of a disability, as set out by Social Security. An adult is considered disabled if he or she is unable to perform a substantially gainful work activity due to a medically determination physical or mental impairment that is expected to last for 12 continuous months or result in death.
For children under the age of 18, a disability is defined as a physical or mental condition that severely limits one's activities, and the condition has lasted or is expected to last at least one year, or result in death.
The Shigo Law Firm, P.A.: We Deal With the Government So You Don't Have To
Successfully applying for SSI benefits can be complex, time consuming, and frustrating. At The Shigo Law Firm, P.A., we have the experience and resources to assist you in obtaining SSI benefits in no time at all. Schedule your initial consultation by calling our Gainesville office at (352) 338-1988 or our Ocala office at (352) 369-3476. We look forward to providing you with exemplary legal services.