Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal disability benefits program that provides adults who are disabled and who have little income with monthly cash benefits.
Adults who are age 65 or older and adults who are blind also qualify for SSI benefits. SSI is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) along with the other common disability benefits program, Social Security Disability Insurance.
Although the Social Security Administration handles SSI benefits, the funds for the program do not come from Social Security taxes.
The experienced Supplemental Security Income Lawyers at Phillips Disability, P.C., can help you apply for SSI benefits if you live in Arizona, New Mexico, California or Utah.
SSI Income & Resources Limits
The SSA has stringent requirements for SSI benefits. The SSA looks at two categories in order to determine whether a disabled individual is eligible for SSI benefits.
The two categories are assets and income. In order for disabled individuals to qualify for SSI benefits, they are required to meet the income and resources guidelines set by the SSA.
Any income that comes into a household will be subtracted from the SSI benefit amount to determine the monthly benefit amount. The SSA will add up all of the income that is available from all of the different sources to determine whether SSI benefits are appropriate.
Income includes cash, checks and other things that can be exchanged for food and shelter, including:
- Wages from a job even if you are paid in food
- Net earnings from a business if self-employed
- Value of food or housing that someone gives you
- Veterans benefits
- Retirement and unemployment benefits
- Workers compensation benefits, pensions or annuities
The SSA does not count medical car, social services, interest, dividends, tax refunds, Earned Income tax Credit and Child Tax Credit payments, loans and weather assistance as income.
In determining whether someone is eligible for SSI benefits, the SSA will review all of the resources that an individual or couple have at their disposal. The resource limitations are $2,000/per person and $3,000/per couple.
The following items do not count towards the resource limits:
- Home (primary residence)
- Land (primary residence)
- Life insurance policy less than $1,500
- Burial plots that have already been purchased
- Car (personal use)
- Household goods
- Burial funds up to $1,500
On the other hand, the following resources do count towards the $2,000 or $3,000 limit:
- Checking accounts
- Savings accounts
- Certificates of Deposit
- U.S. Savings Bonds
- Christmas club accounts
It is vital that all income and resources be reported appropriately to the SSA so that an appropriate determination can be made. Additionally, simply getting approved for SSI benefits is not enough. Remaining eligible for SSI benefits means keeping the SSA aware of any and all changes to your income, including cash or in-kind gifts and presents.
There are many additional sources of income that may be considered income or considered a resource by the SSA.
An experienced Social Security disability lawyer at Philips Disability, P.C., will address all of your income and resource limitation questions.
Disability Back Pay
When you are granted SSI benefits, the Social Security Administration will approve your benefits back to the month that you applied for benefits. If it takes you nine months to get approved, than the SSA will send you an electronic deposit for nine months of benefits minus your attorneys fees.
There are other factors that determine your disability backpay. The SSA may also look at when your disability began. The alleged onset date or AOD is the date listed on your application that you tell them your disability started.
If an individual is approved for Supplemental Security Income benefits, the backpay will be distributed in three installments if it is more than 3X the maximum federal benefit amount for that year. The three installments would be delivered six months apart.
For example, the maximum monthly benefit amount for 2014 is $721. If the SSI backpay exceeds $2,163, than the SSA would send three separate deposits spaced six months apart.
How Much Will A SSI Lawyer Cost Me?
Phillips Disability, P.C., disability lawyers will not charge you any up-front costs or fees in order to handle your Social Security disability case. At our firm, we will only get paid if we successfully recover Social Security disability benefits for a client.
A more important question, is can I afford to avoid financial ruin if I don't get professional help for SSI denial. Our lawyers will fight for you from the application process to the appeal.
Even when we successfully get benefits for clients, the law limits the amount that our attorneys can charge. In order to handle a Supplemental Security Income case, lawyers may only charge 25% of the backpay that is awarded and only up to a maximum of $6,000.
Our disability lawyers are experienced and skilled attorneys with years of experience guiding disabled and struggling Americans through the disability process. We can do the same for you.
Contact our firm at 1-800-503-2000 to discuss your case for free. We won't charge you unless we get you your benefits.
Need Help with Your SSI Application? Contact Us Today
Phillips Disability, P.C., SSI lawyers serve clients throughout Arizona, Utah, California and New Mexico. As long term legal practitioners in these states, the lawyers at our firm know precisely how to ensure that disabled individuals present the best possible case to the Social Security Administration.
If you or someone you love is disabled and without an income, contact your SSI lawyers to figure out how to apply for disability benefits.