You May be Qualified to Receive Cash Benefits from the the Social Security Administration Without Knowing It

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or State Supplementary Payment (SSP) is one of the two largest programs of the U.S. Federal government (the other is that is the Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI. SSI was introduced by the Social Security Administration (SSA) in 1974; it was designed to provide cash benefits to the aged, the blind, and disabled people, who are with little or without income; this cash benefit should help provide for its recipients’ basic needs, which include food, clothing, and shelter. Specifically, SSI is designed for:

  • Disabled adults who have limited income and resources;
  • Disabled children who are younger than age 18 and who have limited income and resources; and,
  • People 65 years old or older who are without disabilities, but who meet the financial limits set under the federal benefit rate (FBR). (The FBR represents both the SSI income limit and the maximum monthly dollar amount paid by the SSI program.)

For 2016, the monthly income limit under the FBR is $733 for individuals and $1,100 for couples. Determining eligibility for SSI benefits, however, is not as simple as it seems as the SSA has its own method of income limit computation. Add to this the “state supplement,” that is the cash that majority of states in the U.S. (except in eight states which include Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Mississippi, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia) add on top of the federal SSI payment – this addition increases not only the total amount of SSI payment a beneficiary will receive, but the limit of income too.

In an SSA website with address, https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-eligibility-ussi.htm, the terms “disabled” and “blindness” based on SSA definitions are explained. The site also lists what the SSA considers as income and resources, as well as gives the conditions that will render a non U.S. citizen/alien eligible to receive SSI benefits.

With regard to disability, the SSA considers a child (anyone below 18) or an adult (those aged 18 and above) if he or she has a “medically determinable physical or mental impairment, (including an emotional or learning problem) that:

  • Has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months;
  • Results in severe functional limitations (in the case of children) or results in the inability to do
    any substantial gainful activity (in the case of adults); and,
  • Can be expected to result in death.” ( https://www.ssa.gov/ssi/text-eligibility-ussi.htm)

With regard to “income” and “resources,” for SSI purposes, income includes: money earned from work; money received from other sources, such as Social Security benefits, workers compensation, unemployment benefits, the Department of Veterans Affairs, friends or relatives; and free food or shelter. Resources, on the other hand, refers to things personally owned, including: cash; bank accounts, stocks, U.S. savings bonds; land; vehicles; personal property; life insurance; and anything that could be converted to cash and used for food or shelter.

As mentioned in the website of the Hankey Law Office, cash benefits payed by the SSI program definitely offers many Americans the much-needed relief from difficult situations. It has and still continues to help improve the quality of life, especially of those struggling to make ends meet. Many times, however, applicants for the benefit, despite eligibility, get denied due to technical and/or other forms of problems. While a person and his/her family can freely file an application on their own, having an experienced SSI attorney, who can help them through the lengthy and complex process, can present many advantages which may even result to the immediate release of benefits, especially if the medical condition of the patient is determined by the SSA as necessitating expedited payment.

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