The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides disability payments to workers who previously paid taxes into the Social Security system but now have a condition that makes maintaining employment difficult. The SSA also has an entirely separate disability program called Supplemental Security Income (SSI) that pays benefits to claimants who are unable to work and live on an extremely low income.
Who Is Eligible to Receive Supplemental Security Income?
Supplemental Security Income is a purely needs-based program for people who have limited income and resources. Unlike Social Security disability benefits, SSI is paid out of general taxes rather than Social Security taxes. This is important because people applying for SSI don't need to have work in jobs where they paid Social Security taxes—in fact, they don't need to have worked at all in the past to be eligible for benefits.
In order to qualify for SSI benefits, there must be proof that you:
- Are disabled. If you're under 65, you'll need to prove your disability matches the SSA’s definition of long-term disability. This includes a complete inability to do the type of work you've done in the past, as well as an inability to be retrained into other kinds of work available in your area. If you're over 65, you may be able to collect if you're not disabled but are in financial need. If you're applying for benefits on behalf of a child with disabilities, you'll still need to prove his or her condition and limited financial resources.
- Have limited resources. SSI is reserved for people with a demonstrated financial need. Claimants must prove they have less than $2,000 worth of assets and possessions available to them, not counting one car and the house in which they live. A person may be denied SSI benefits if he or she lives with multiple people who are able to earn a living, have more than $2000 in a savings account, own multiple vehicles, or have other potential income available to them.
If you do qualify for SSI, you can make a claim for these benefits at the same time you apply for Social Security disability. If you need help with an application or need to appeal your Social Security benefits decision, fill out the quick contact form on this page today to schedule a consultation with our attorneys at no cost to you.