Abromson & Carey, Attorneys at Law
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Recent statistics on the SSI benefits program

As previous posts on this blog have discussed Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, differs in important respects from Social Security Disability Income, or SSDI. Basically, most New Jersey residents who are "disabled," as that term is defined by the Social Security Administration, can draw SSDI benefits based on how much they have worked and thereby put in to the system. Although not a perfect analogy, one can think of SSDI as a necessary early withdrawal from a retirement fund should a person become unable to work.

On the other hand, a disabled resident of Newark need not have worked at all in order to draw SSI benefits. Whether someone can collect SSI basically depends on whether that person is indeed disabled and whether he or she is of limited income and means, although other eligibility criteria may apply.

As recently as May 2016, well over 8 million people were receiving SSI benefits. Of these, the vast majority, over 7 million, were receiving SSI benefits because the Social Security Administration had determined that they were either blind or disabled. People who are over 65 and of limited means can also get SSI, which accounts for the other 1 million recipients.

When looking at which age groups were collecting SSI, almost 5 million people were adults of working age that is 18 to 64. Over 1 million children under 18 collected SSI, as did about 2 million seniors who were over 65, an age commonly thought of as "retirement age."

If anything, these statistics illustrate that SSI is commonly used as a source of income for disabled people who simply cannot work to provide for themselves, which may, in turn, explain why they are also of limited means. As far as age is concerned, the majority of people who require SSI are disabled people of working age, although SSI is still available for disabled children.

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