Social Security Disability | Freedom Disability Advocates & Attorneys
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Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Eligibility

SSI Supplemental Security Income Disability Advocacy

What is (SSI) Supplemental Security Income?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal assistance program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA.)  SSI is a needs-based program available to assist people with few resources and low income who are 65 years of age or older, or


stroke

Presumptive Disability for Supplemental Security Income

Presumptive Disability Payments Summary: Program that allows those highly likely to qualify for Supplemental Security Income payments to begin receiving payments before the final decision is made on their case application. See list of qualifying conditions for Presumptive Disability Payments.


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What is (SSI) Supplemental Security Income?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal assistance program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA.)  SSI is a needs-based program available to assist people with few resources and low income who are 65 years of age or older, or who have a disabling medical condition that meets SSA’s definition of disability or blindness.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for People with Disabilities

Your eligibility for SSI is determined by what resources and income you have, where and how you live, and if you have a qualifying medical condition that meets SSA’s definition of a disability.

Medical Disability Requirement

Your condition must be listed on SSA’s list of impairments, or be severe enough to interfere with your ability to work and earn substantial gainful activity ($1,070 a month in 2014) at any job for a year. SSA requires a complete medical history and review of all documentation before making a final decision about whether or not you qualify for SSI based on a disability.

Resource Requirement

Personal resources cannot be worth more than $2,000 for individuals; $3,000 if married. Resources are things you own that are used to support you.

Resources include:

  • Cash
  • Bank accounts; stocks and bonds
  • Land
  • Vehicles
  • Personal property
  • Life insurance
  • Items that can be sold for cash to pay for food and shelter
  • Deemed resources: portion of resources from the person you live with

Not everything you own counts as a resource:

  • Your home
  • Household items
  • Wedding and engagement rings
  • Burial spaces and funds that are $1,500 or less
  • Life insurance policies valued at $1,500 or less
  • One vehicle used for transportation
  • Property or resources needed for self-support
  • Assistance support that is not counted as income
  • Cash for medical or social services that is not counted as income
  • Other assistance sources

Income Requirements

How much countable income you have determines the amount of your SSI monthly cash benefit. SSA determines that amount by subtracting income not counted from your total income.

Total income:

  • Earned income: wages earned from work or self-employment
  • Unearned income: Social Security and unemployment benefits, pensions, state disability benefits, interest from savings accounts, cash from friends or relatives
  • In-kind income: free food or shelter
  • Deemed income: part of income from the person you live with who is not eligible for SSI

Income not counted:

  • the first $20 of most income received in a month
  • the first $65 of earnings in a month (wages from a job)
  • one-half of earnings over $65 in a month
  • food stamps
  • income tax refunds
  • state assistance programs
  • interest or dividends earned from bank accounts or stocks (countable resources)
  • loans to repay
  • money received from someone to pay expenses other than food or shelter
  • impairment-related work expenses
  • disaster assistance

Living Arrangement

How and where you live is also factored into your countable income. For example, if you rent or own a home and pay for your own food, you may receive more in an SSI cash benefit than if you live in someone else’s home and you don’t pay for food and shelter.

Calculating Your SSI Benefit

Your SSI benefit is calculated by subtracting your countable income from the SSI federal benefit rate. The SSI federal benefit rate in 2014 is $721 for an individual and $1,082 for an eligible couple.

The Basic Formula:

Total Income  – Income not counted = Countable income

SSI federal benefit rate – Countable income = SSI federal benefit

SSI Payment Amounts Can Change Month to Month

Your resources and income are key factors in determining eligibility for SSI. Your monthly benefit amount is also affected by changes to the value of your resources and to the amount of income you may earn from working.

  • If your countable resources go over the allowable amount in the beginning of the month, ($2,000/individual; $3,000/married couple) you will not receive an SSI payment that month.
  • If your countable income goes over the allowable amount earned from wages ($1,433/individual; $2,107/married couple) you will not receive an SSI payment that month.
  • If there is a change to your living arrangement.

Some states also add supplements to the basic SSI payment. You may also be eligible for other social services such as Medicaid and food stamps.

Periodic Review Determines Continued Eligibility for SSI

Your SSI disability benefit is based on need, which is why your income and resources will be strictly reviewed by SSA to make sure that your income and resources stay within the limitations of eligibility requirements.

You may also qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Eligibility is based upon whether you have paid into Social Security and if you have a recent enough work history.

Your SSDI cash benefit is based on your earnings record and is not affected by changes to your countable income or resources, except if you are also receiving public disability insurance benefits and/or Worker’s Compensation. Once you receive SSDI benefits you will also be eligible for Medicare in two years.

Get Help Applying for SSI or SSDI

The eligibility rules for SSI are very complex. If you need help applying for Supplemental Insurance Income, or if you think you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, a Freedom Disability Advocate can evaluate your case and provide the help you need.  Contact us at (800) 298-6885.

Presumptive Disability for Supplemental Security Income

Presumptive Disability Payments

Summary: Program that allows those highly likely to qualify for Supplemental Security Income payments to begin receiving payments before the final decision is made on their case application. See list of qualifying conditions for Presumptive Disability Payments.

Certain applicants for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may be deemed by the Social Security Administration to be presumptively disabled.  In these cases the Social Security Administration (SSA) makes temporary presumptive disability payments to claimants while evidence is gathered to make a final decision on their disability case.   This allows claimants to begin collecting SSI cash benefits while their cases are reviewed by the SSA.  In some ways presumptive disability is similar to the new SSDI initiative for Compassionate Allowances.

Presumptive disability claims are rare.  The vast majority of SSI/SSDI claimants will not receive presumptive disability status.  Your Freedom Disability Advocate can explain to you whether or not your condition will allow you to claim presumptive disability.

When the SSA has preliminary documentation and strongly believes that the claimant will be found disabled, but still needs more evidence to make a final decision, they typically will deem the SSI claimant presumptively disabled.

Presumptive disability is typically granted under the following conditions:

  1. You are applying for the first time based on disability or blindness
  2. Your medical condition makes it very likely that you will be found disabled or blind when evaluated by the SSA
  3. You meet all non-medical factors of eligibility

Presumptive disability payments typically begin within the month you become disabled or blind, and continue for up to six months while you await the final decision on your disability claim.  After the six months have expired, the payments will cease whether or not a final decision has been made.

If you feel you are eligible for presumptive disability, contact Freedom Disability Services as soon as possible to begin receiving payments.  Call Freedom at (800) 298-6885 to speak with one of our trained and experienced Disability Advocates.

Presumptive Disability Impairments

  1. Amputation of two limbs
  2. Amputation of a leg at the hip
  3. Allegations of total blindness
  4. Allegation of total deafness
  5. Allegation of a cerebral vascular accident (stroke) more than three months in the past and continued difficulty using hands, arms or walking
  6. Allegation of bed confinement or immobility without a walker, wheelchair or crutches expected to last at least twelve consecutive months
  7. Allegation of muscular dystrophy, muscular atrophy, cerebral palsy and difficulty walking, speaking or coordination of arms or hands
  8. Allegation of Down’s Syndrome
  9. Allegation of diabetes with amputation of a foot
  10. Allegation of severe mental deficiency (mental retardation) made by another individual filing on behalf of a claimant who is at least seven years of age.  For example, a mother or father applying for benefits for his or her child.  The child must require a special school, special classes in school, or is unable to attend any type of school due to mental deficiency and requires supervision of routine daily activities (i.e. hygienic, or safety needs such as fastening a seatbelt)

The foregoing information is based on published materials from the Social Security Administration (“Disability Evaluation Under Social Security”). It is meant to serve as an introduction to some of the factors used by the SSA in evaluating cases. It is no way comprehensive. While Social Service Coordinators can help you prepare an effective application for benefits, only the SSA can determine whether or not you qualify. For more information call Freedom today at (800) 298-6885.