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SSI is a federal program that provides financial assistance to individuals with disabilities, low-income individuals over the age of 65, and certain blind individuals.

Applying for Supplemental Security Income

Published July 13, 2023

By Brian L. Miller, Esq.

What is Supplemental Security Income?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program through the Social Security Administration (SSA) that provides financial assistance to individuals with disabilities, low-income individuals over the age of 65, and certain blind individuals. To be eligible for SSI benefits, one must meet the following requirements:

1. Age: The individual must be at least 65 years old, or have a qualifying disability, or be blind.

2. Income: The individual must have limited income and resources. The resource limit is currently $2,000 for non-exempt assets.

3. Citizenship or Legal Resident Status: The individual must be a U.S. citizen or a legal resident who meets certain criteria.

4. Disability: If the individual is under the age of 65, they must have a disability that meets Social Security’s definition of disability, which means that their physical or mental condition must prevent them from engaging in substantial gainful activity.

5. Application: The individual must apply for SSI benefits at their local Social Security office or online.

It is important to note that the eligibility requirements for SSI can be complex, and there are certain exceptions and additional rules that may apply in specific cases. Therefore, it is always a good idea to seek advice from a qualified professional or the SSA to determine eligibility and to get help with the application process.

How do you apply for SSI?

You can apply for SSI benefits in several ways:

1. Online: You can start an application for SSI benefits online at the SSA’s website:

2. In person: You can visit your local SSA office and apply in person. You can find the nearest office by using the Social Security Office Locator tool on the Social Security Administration’s website.

3. By phone: You can call the SSA’s toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 and apply over the phone. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you can call the TTY number at 1-800-325-0778.

Before you apply, make sure you have all the necessary information and documentation to support your application. This may include your Social Security number, birth certificate, medical records, and financial information. The SSA will also ask you questions about your income, resources, and living arrangements to determine your eligibility for SSI benefits.

It is important to note that the application process for SSI benefits can be complex, and it may take several months to receive a decision.

What benefits are you entitled to under SSI?

If you are eligible for SSI, you may be entitled to receive several types of benefits, including:

1. Monthly cash payments: SSI provides monthly cash payments to eligible individuals to help them meet their basic needs for food, shelter, and clothing. The amount of the monthly payment varies depending on your income, resources, and living arrangements.

2. Medicaid: In some states, including New York, SSI recipients are automatically eligible for Medicaid, which provides health care coverage to low-income individuals.

3. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): SSI recipients may be eligible for SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, which provides assistance to help low-income individuals purchase food.

4. Housing assistance: SSI recipients may be eligible for housing assistance, such as subsidized housing or rent subsidies, through programs like the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) or the Section 8 program.

It’s important to note that the benefits you receive under SSI may be subject to change depending on your income, resources, and living arrangements. Additionally, some benefits may be reduced or eliminated if you receive income from other sources or if your living arrangements change.

What is the difference between SSI and SSDI?

The main difference between Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is that SSI is a needs-based program that provides financial assistance to individuals who have limited income and resources, while SSDI is an insurance program that provides benefits to individuals with disabilities who have paid into the Social Security system through their work history or their parent’s work history.

For a Disabled Adult Child (DAC) who became disabled before the age of twenty-two (22) years, they may not have a work history but may still be entitled to SSDI benefits. If the DAC is unmarried (and has never been married), they can apply for SSDI based upon their parent’s Social Security benefits and work history. Generally, a DAC is eligible to receive up to fifty percent (50%) of their parent’s full retirement or disability benefit while the parent is alive, and up to seventy five percent (75%) of the parent’s full retirement or disability benefit after the parent dies, subject to certain family maximums.

To learn more about your benefits and maintaining said benefits, please contact us to schedule a consultation.

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