Understanding the specifics of Supplemental Security Income

Supplemental Security Income is an option for disabled individuals that may not qualify for Social Security disability benefits to consider. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is for disabled individuals, as well as the elderly and blind. Rather than considering work history to qualify, the Social Security Administration examines the income and resources of disabled individuals applying for SSI benefits to determine if they are eligible. Eligibility for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits is evaluated based on work history.

In cases of disability, both SSI benefits and SSD are also based upon a physical or mental medical condition that is expected to last longer than 12 months, or result in death, and is severe enough that it prevents the disabled individual from working. While Social Security disability benefits are based on what the applicant has paid into the system, Supplemental Security Income is for disabled individuals of limited means.

Because eligibility for SSI benefits is based on income and resources it is important to be familiar with what the Social Security Administration considers income and to understand that resources refers to what the applicant owns. It is also important to understand what income the SSA counts when evaluating an application for SSI. Lastly, while the application process for Supplemental Security Income can be complex, it is important to keep in mind that there is an appeals process available when an application for SSI has been denied.

SSI benefits can be incredibly valuable in the lives of disabled individuals and their families. Disabled individuals and their families owe it to themselves to understand the different options that may be available and the details of the application process for SSI benefits.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Supplemental Security Income," Accessed Feb. 28, 2017

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