What is Supplemental Security Income and Its Benefits?
If you are blind, disabled, or elderly with few assets and minimal income, cash payments from the Supplemental Security Income program may provide much-needed financial help. The program, which is administered by the Social Security Administration, currently assists almost eight million people who receive an average of $586 in monthly SSI benefits. Adults and children who qualify for SSI may also qualify for medical assistance through Medicaid.
Applying for SSI benefits involves more than completing and submitting a form. You must know and comply with strictly enforced federal regulations and eligibility guidelines that routinely result in applicants being denied benefits or having an approval delayed due to mistakes and omissions. The following information about the SSI offers insight into the program; however, working with an SSI advocate at London Disability ensures that someone with knowledge of the regulations and application review process is there to guide and advise you.
What are SSI benefits?
The maximum cash payment available through SSI is $794 for one person and $1,191 for a married couple. The payment amounts are for 2021 and may vary depending upon other resources available to you or if you live in a state that supplements SSI benefits.
SSI provides more than a monthly cash payment to help you pay for food, shelter and other necessities. When you qualify for SSI benefits, you may be eligible for the following:
- A supplemental monthly payment from your state government depending upon the state in which you reside.
- Most states offer Medicaid to SSI recipients to pay the cost of hospitalization, doctor’s visits, prescription medications, and other expenses related to health care.
- Some states offer food assistance through the SNAP program to individuals receiving SSI benefits.
- You may receive Social Security benefits in addition to SSI benefits provided you worked and paid Social Security taxes to qualify for Social Security benefits.
An SSI advocate at London Disability will review with you all of the benefits that SSI and your state offer.
What is the SSI qualification process?
You may qualify for benefits if you have limited income and financial resources and are elderly, which means 65 years of age or older, or a blind or disabled child or adult. The value of resources, or the assets you own, cannot exceed $2000 for individuals or $3,000 for married couples. The resources and income of a parent may be considered in determining the eligibility of a child applying for SSI benefits.
Resources include the following:
- Personal property.
- Land and the structures located on it.
- Motor vehicles.
- Money on hand and deposited at banks or other financial institutions.
- Other assets you own that can be converted to cash or exchanged for food and shelter.
Some assets you own do not count toward the resource limits to qualify for SSI. For example, the value of a vehicle used by you or a member of your household primarily for transportation does not count as a resource and neither does the home and land you occupy as your principal residence.
The income you receive from working and benefits from Social Security, workers’ compensation, unemployment, and other programs may affect your eligibility for SSI. Financial assistance that is given to you by friends or relatives counts as income according to regulations that apply to SSI. It does not matter whether the assistance comes in the form of cash or free food and shelter. However, food and shelter provided by community organizations do not count as income. Unless it is excluded under SSI guidelines, the income you receive reduces the monthly benefit from SSI.
Qualifying for SSI benefits as blind or disabled
To qualify for SSI benefits as a disabled adult, you must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that prevents you from engaging in substantial gainful activity. The impairment or impairments must last or be expected to last for at least one year or cause death.
A child applying for SSI as disabled is subject to a different standard than the one for adults. A child is disabled when a medically determinable physical or mental impairment results in marked and severe functional limitations lasting or expected to last for at least one year or cause the death of the child.
Children and adults must meet the same standard to qualify for SSI as blind. The applicant must have 20/200 or less distance central visual acuity as corrected in the stronger eye or have a visual field limitation in the stronger eye resulting in the widest diameter of the visual field to subtend an angle that is no greater than 20 degrees.
Contact London Disability for help with SSI benefits
Speaking with a disability advocate at London Disability before applying may improve your chance of approval for SSI benefits. Their experience makes them a valued resource capable of avoiding errors that can delay your application or cause it to be denied.