Supplemental Security Income

Besides Social Security Disability Benefits, Social Security provides another disability program for individuals known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is for adults who are not insured for Social Security Disability Benefits. SSI also covers disabled children. SSI is a welfare program, and, as a welfare program, it contains strict guidelines for eligibility. In essence, a claimant must have limited resources, such as money and assets, in order to qualify. Certain assets are exempt from consideration, but a claimant must be able to demonstrate that they will qualify for SSI benefits under the regulations governing the SSI program.

A major disqualifying factor for adult claimants is the fact that they have a spouse who is working. The income made by the spouse could disqualify the claimant from qualifying for SSI because the income of the spouse is deemed to also be income of the claimant. A typical example is a woman who has been a stay-at-home mother and, therefore, does not qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits due to lack of an earnings record. She becomes disabled due to illness or injury. Her husband, however, works and earns more than allowed under SSI guidelines. The wife would not qualify for SSI benefits due to the income of the husband. Another example would be an individual who owns more than one vehicle.

A recipient of SSI is also under a duty to report any income received to Social Security on a monthly basis, as well as any change in living circumstances. A claimant living with others will receive less in benefits than the claimant would if living alone. The amount received in SSI benefits can literally change from month to month.

DISABILITY DEFINITION

The definition for disability under the SSI program is the same as the definition under the Social Security Disability program: "the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months."

MEDICAL PROGRAM

A recipient of SSI benefits is covered under a different medical program than a recipient of Social Security Disability Benefits. A recipient of SSI receives Medicaid and is immediately entitled to Medicaid coverage once it is determined that they are disabled and meet the income requirements. This is a significant advantage over the regular disability program, which provides Medicare after a 29-month waiting period from the date that the claimant is determined to be disabled.

APPLYING FOR SSI BENEFITS

In order to apply for SSI benefits you must call Social Security through their telephone number, 1-800-772-1213 or go in person to your local Social Security office. It is best to call the "800" number and make an appointment at your local Social Security office in order to apply for benefits. You will save considerable time in doing so. Currently you cannot apply for SSI benefits online.

For more information on Supplemental Security Income, please click HERE.

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Texas lawyer Michael Sloan represents clients in McKinney, Plano, Frisco, and throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, in communities such as Allen, Richardson, Prosper, Wylie, Murphy, Sachse, Sherman, Denison, Bonham, Anna, Van Alstyne, Greenville, and Celina, and in Dallas County, Grayson County, Hunt County, Fannin County, Collin County and Denton County.