Hiring the right SSI attorney can make all the difference in your case. Millions of Americans are unable to work due to a disability. Thankfully, the Social Security Administration has put in place the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. This program pays monthly benefits to disabled individuals with limited income and resources.
If you don’t fit within SSI’s financial qualifications, you may still qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (or “SSDI“). You should consult an SSDI attorney to discuss whether you may qualify.
For more information about what SSI is and whether or not you’ll qualify, refer to the following.
Award Winning SSI Attorney
At ARM Lawyers, our disability attorneys are dedicated to helping individuals get the benefits they deserve. With more than 100 years of combined experience, we do more than just help our clients understand the law. We will provide you with the confidence you need to find solutions, get back on your feet and start planning for a better financial future.
Attorney Patrick J. Best has represented thousands of disabled individuals who were wrongfully denied Social Security Disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income. Attorney Best has been named a Super Lawyer Rising Star for his work with the disabled. He is a member of the National Organization of Social Security Claims Representatives (NOSSCR) and the National Association of Disability Representatives (NADR). He hosts the YouTube show “Social Security Disability with Patrick J. Best, Esq.“.
What is SSI?
SSI makes monthly payments to disabled individuals. The SSI program is a “need-based” program rather than an insurance program like SSD. Thus, in order to qualify, you must have limited income and resources (things you own). If you meet SSI’s income limitations, you may qualify for SSI whether or not you qualify for SSD based on your earnings record.
How do you qualify for SSI?
To meet all the requirements to receive SSI a claimant must:
- Be “disabled”
- Meet the income and asset requirements of the SSI program
- Be a U.S. citizen or fall into the group of limited exceptions to the citizenship rule; and
- File an application
Disabilities Covered by Supplemental Security Income
Both children and adults may qualify for SSI. However, in order to qualify, you must have a disability that meets the criteria established by the Social Security Administration:
- You are not making more than $1,260 per month (for 2020);
- Your condition affects your ability to perform work-related activities and has lasted or is expected to last more than one year or result in death;
- Your condition either:
- meets the strict criteria of the Social Security Administration’s listings of impairments; or
- prevents your from performing your past work and from adjusting to other work in the national economy.
How much money will I get from SSI?
The current benefit rate (for 2020) is $783 per month. Many states supplement the federal SSI benefit. Thus, the SSI benefit amount varies from state to state.
Determining Financial Eligibility for SSI
The SSI program has both income and resource limitations because it is a “need-based” program. Some states regulate income limits differently than others. If you are single, the resource limit is $2,000. The amount is “$3,000” for married couples. The income limit is essentially $803 per month. Certain income and resources are not included in the calculations.
Resource Limits for SSI
- bank accounts, stocks, U.S. savings bonds;
- life insurance;
- personal property;
- anything else you own which could be changed to cash and used for food or shelter.
There are two types of resources: countable resources and non-countable resources. As the names suggest, countable resources are counted toward your eligibility of SSI, whereas non-countable resources do not.
Some examples of non-countable resources include:
- the home you live in and the land it is on;
- household goods and personal effects (e.g., your wedding and engagement rings);
- burial spaces for you or your immediate family;
- burial funds for you and your spouse, each valued at $1,500 or less;
- life insurance policies with a combined face value of $1,500 or less;
- one vehicle, regardless of value (if it is used for transportation for you or a member of your household);
Simply gifting or selling assets will not reduce individual’s resources counted toward eligibility. If you, your spouse, or a co–owner give away a resource or sell it for less than it is worth, you may be ineligible for SSI benefits for up to 36 months. How long you are ineligible for SSI benefits depends on the value of the resource you transferred.
Income Limits for SSI
Generally speaking, the income requirement for SSI considers the following “countable” sources of income:
- Earned Income
- Self employment income
- In-kind payment (e.g., free rent for work)
- Unearned Income
- Periodic payments (annuities, pensions, SSDI, worker’s compensation, and unemployment)
- Rental income
- In-Kind Support and Maintenance
The following types of income are not “countable” for SSI:
- the first $20 of most income received in a month;
- the first $65 of earnings and one–half of earnings over $65 received in a month;
- the value of food stamps;
- income tax refunds;
- assistance based on need funded by a State or local government;
- small amounts of income received irregularly or infrequently;
- food or shelter based on need provided by nonprofit agencies;
- loans to you (cash or in–kind) that you have to repay;
- money someone else spends to pay your expenses for items other than food or shelter (for example, someone pays your telephone or medical bills)
Receipt of income does not necessarily preclude SSI eligibility. Generally, the more countable income you have, the less your SSI benefit will be; however, if your countable income is over the allowable limit, you cannot receive SSI benefits.
How can an SSI attorney help?
SSI benefits can greatly affect your quality of life. Our SSI attorney knows how important your case is, and knows how important the benefits would be. Whether you’re applying for SSI or appealing a denial of SSI, we can help.
At ARM Lawyers, we handle disability cases in Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, and New York and have offices in each of these states. For more information about the disability process in your state, feel free to click below:
- Pennsylvania SSI lawyer
- Maryland SSI lawyer
- New Jersey SSI lawyer
- New York SSI lawyer
Contact an SSI attorney today
For more questions regarding your eligibility, the amount of benefits that may be paid to you, what documents you’ll need, and how you can appeal a decision made by the Social Security Administration, contact us today at 570-503-6255 or e-mail us.