Millions of adults in the United States have a disability that renders them unable to perform basic tasks, such as working. Furthermore, the U.S. Census reported that in 2010 about 2.8 million school-aged children had a disability. While Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is in place for those who are “insured” by virtue of paying into the Social Security account throughout their working years, others — including children — don’t qualify for SSDI.
However, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is intended for children and adults who have a qualifying disability, or those over the age of 65, who have limited income and resources. If you think that you or your child may qualify for SSI, here’s what you need to know to apply.
Who can apply for Supplemental Security Income in Pennsylvania?
Those who can apply for SSI are adults with a disability, children with a disability, anyone who is blind, and adults aged 65 and older. In addition to meeting the disability and/or age requirements, a person also must have limited resources and income. In order to qualify, in 2014 you cannot have more than $2,000 in resources as an individual or $3,000 as a couple. Your home is not counted as a resource. Your income must be less than $721 for individuals and $1,082 for couples.
Additionally, in order to qualify for SSI benefits, you must be a citizen or U.S. national, be living within the United States and not be confined to an institution. Furthermore, your disability or blindness must meet the criteria set forth by the Social Security Administration.
Preparing Your SSI Application
Unlike the application for SSDI, an SSI application cannot be filed online. As such, you will have to file the application at your local Social Security office. When you file your application, you’ll need the following documents.
- Social Security number and card.
- proof of age.
- citizenship or alien status record.
- proof of income.
- proof of resources.
- proof of living arrangements.
- medical sources if filing for blindness or a disability.
- work history.
- and, contact information for people who can testify to a disability and an IEP report, if applying on the behalf of a child.
The application is very detailed, and if not completed in full, it may be denied.
If Your SSI Application is Denied
If your initial application for SSI benefits is denied, you can appeal the decision by asking for a reconsideration. If the reconsideration is unsuccessful, you have the option of appealing the decision with an administrative law judge (ALJ). Furthermore, your case can be heard by an Appeals Council review and by filing a lawsuit in federal court if necessary.
Speak with a disability attorney if you must appeal a denied SSI application so you can review your options and get help with your case.
How a Pennsylvania Disability Attorney Can Help You
An attorney can be a valuable tool when appealing a denied application and can help you to gather all of the documents that you need to prove your eligibility for benefits. Additionally, Social Security disability law is often complex, and the process of receiving benefits can be confusing. An attorney can provide you with straightforward answers and explanations about how to get your application approved.
Attorney Patrick J. Best of ARM Lawyers, is ready to help if you must take your case to the Appeals Council or if you must take the case to federal district court. For a free case consultation, call ARM Lawyers now at 570-257-4509 (Stroudsburg), 484-765-8140 (Palmerton) or 610-849-2788 (Bethlehem) or contact us online.