I would say that the first (most important) question I receive from prospective clients during consultations is “Am I Eligible For SSI?” Unfortunately, without having the initial consultation, I am only able to give the stereotypical lawyer answer of “Well…it depends.”
The Social Security Administration has outlined very specific criteria for eligibility regarding Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Pursuant to the SSA Website, an individual is eligible for SSI if they are:
– Aged (age 65 or older);
– Blind; or
– Has limited income; and
– Has limited resources; and
– meets certain other requirements.
Many of the above criteria are self-explanatory; however, some do contain caveats that, when understood, actually assist individuals in obtaining SSI Benefits. Generally, limited income for SSI is $750 per month for an individual and $1,125 per month for a couple in 2018. For the benefit of the individual, not all income is countable. Therefore, it is possible to earn more than $750 per month and still qualify for SSI.
SSI allows an individual to deduct certain medical and/or disability-related expenses from their calculated income. For example, special transportation need for doctors’ visits, specialized medical devices needed to treat the disability in the home, and many others. Also, the SSA will allow you to deduct the first $20 from many kinds of income you receive such as tax refunds, loans, and/or other governmental benefits.
The calculation process is tricky and complex. It is best to set up a meeting with an attorney and have all income-related documents, i.e. bank statements, car insurance forms, legal settlement documents, etc., on hand ready to present. This will allow the attorney to follow the governmental regulations in calculating income and determining your eligibility.
My next post will be entitled, “May My Child Receive SSI?” I do not believe I am wrong in saying that we care about our children and want to see them receive all benefits to which they are entitled. In my next post, you will learn how to go about calculating the income that must be reported to determine if your child is eligible for SSI benefits. After that, we will tackle the application process.