What Is Supplemental Security Income? Who is eligible for SSI?

For millions of people unable to work, because they are blind or disabled, the Supplemental Security Income program gives them the money they need each month to pay for food and shelter. According to the Social Security Administration, 86% of the people qualifying for benefits through SSI did so because of a disability or blindness that is severe enough to prevent them from being gainfully employed.

Its tough eligibility requirements and complex regulations make the application process a difficult one for the average person to handle on their own. A disability advocate at London Eligibility can turn a frustrating experience into a successful outcome whether filing your initial claim for benefits or appealing a denial or other adverse determination. Here, in the meantime, is some important information about the eligibility requirements to help you gain a better understanding of the Supplemental Security Income eligibility process.

What is SSI?

SSI makes monthly cash payments to adults and children who have a disability or are blind as defined by SSA regulations. It also provides benefits to individuals who are 65 years of age or older who are not disabled or blind but meet the financial requirements to qualify for the program.

Unlike Social Security Disability Insurance, which is another disability program administered by the SSA requiring people applying for benefits to be “insured” by having worked and paid Social Security taxes on the earnings, you may qualify for SSI without any work history whatsoever. Some people who worked at jobs or through self-employment may be eligible for benefits through both programs. An SSD representative from London Eligibility will explore all options available to you.

Who is eligible for SSI?

SSI benefits are available to anyone who qualifies through being 65 years of age or older, or by being blind or disabled. Applicants must have limited income and resources and must be U.S. citizens or nationals living in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia or the Northern Mariana Islands.

Blind or disabled eligibility

The SSA uses the same definition of “blindness” for purposes of eligibility in the SSI program for both children and adults. A person is blind when they have a central visual acuity for a distance of 20/200 or less in the better eye while using corrective lenses. A person also meets the eligibility requirement as being blind with a visual field limitation in the better eye causing the widest diameter of the visual field to subtend an angle no greater than 20 degrees.

Separate definitions for “disabled” exist for adults and children. An adult is disabled when a medically determinable physical or mental impairment, which is expected to last for more than a year or result in death, makes them unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity.

Children from birth to under 18 years of age are disabled according to SSA guidelines if a medically determinable physical or mental impairment, which is expected to result in death or to last for at least one year, results in marked and severe functional limitations. When a child reaches 18 years of age, their disability must meet the adult criteria to remain eligible to receive SSI benefits.

Financial criteria for SSI eligibility

Your income and financial resources available to you must be within limits set by federal regulations to qualify for SSI. Income includes the following:

1). Money earned from a job or through self-employment.

2). Benefits you receive from Social Security, such as SSDI; workers’ compensation; and unemployment.

3). Benefits from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

SSA also counts as income any money given to you as a gift by friends, relatives, or others. If someone provides you with free food or shelter, its value is counted as income for the month you receive it.

Resources, which generally are things that you own, also have limitations placed on them to qualify for SSI. The value of resources cannot exceed a total of $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for couples. Resources include cash, bank accounts, stocks and bonds, motor vehicles, real estate, and personal property.

Some resources do not count toward the limits set for SSI. For example, the value of the home you live in as your principal residence does not count regardless of how much it may be worth or the amount of equity you have in it. Also excluded is the value of a vehicle used primarily for personal use by you or a member of your household.

Learn more about SSI eligibility

We have only touched upon some of the Supplemental Security Income eligibility requirements that you need to meet to qualify for benefits. It is a difficult process to go through on your own. Get the help you need from the disability representatives at London Eligibility. Their unsurpassed knowledge of SSA rules and regulations and experience with everything from applications to appeals make them formidable advocates to have working on your behalf.