Answering 5 Questions About SSI Benefits

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Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is often grouped with Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), but these are very different government programs and do not always apply to the same individuals or circumstances. Learn more about how SSI benefits work and what it takes to apply and qualify with the help of an SSI attorney.

1. Where does SSI funding come from?

SSI is funded by general taxes and provides monthly payments to someone who is disabled, blind, or have little to no income. Individuals and couples receive different amounts of SSI payments but, regardless of marital status, a person must first be found disabled by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and meet the SSA’s rules regarding income and assets.

2. Can I work while I apply for SSI benefits?

To qualify for SSI benefits, a person’s medical condition must be serious enough to prevent them from working for 12 months or longer doing “gainful activity,” or they must suffer from a condition that is expected to result in death. If you earn less than SSA’s threshold for gross pay (which typically changes annually), then you are not likely to be classified as “working.”

3. How do I know if I qualify for SSI benefits?

There are plenty of hoops to jump through when it comes to getting Supplemental Security Income. These are some of the very basics to keep in mind:

  • Recipients: SSI gives minimal cash assistance to those who are disabled and have little recent work experience.
  • Qualifying: You must have limited or no income and under $2,000 in assets (less than $3,000 for a married couple).
  • Medical details: Applicants must prove they qualify medically by showing evidence of their disability – SSI is not about income alone.
  • Employment: Even if you have never worked, you may qualify for SSI, especially if you cannot qualify for SSDI or no longer qualify for SSDI because you have not worked in a long time. SSI benefits are meant for those with few assets and little income, children too.

4. Do my spouse’s assets affect my chances of qualifying for SSI?

If you and your spouse’s combined resources – cash, savings, investments, or other physical assets like multiple vehicles – is too high and these resources could be used to help cover your basic needs, qualifying for SSI will be much more difficult because the assets will be counted toward income. There are always exceptions to the rule, however, and a one-vehicle family or the family home or personal items are not counted against income. Your SSI attorney will guide you.

5. What do I need to know about applying for and keeping SSI benefits?

It is wise to meet with a lawyer before you apply for SSI benefits to ensure that you meet the threshold for every item, including medical requirements, income requirements, and mental and physical conditions. The Social Security Administration reviews cases occasionally to ensure that everyone receiving payments should be getting them and is receiving the right amount.

Information about income and resources must be up to date – failure to report changes can be classified as false information and comes with a penalty or sanction which could stop payments. If you’re not sure what the SSA needs to know, Thurswell Law will help you. Schedule a consultation by calling (248) 354-2222 today. We do not charge any fees until we win.