Abromson & Carey, Attorneys at Law
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What is SSI?

Supplemental Security Income provides monthly payments to individuals over the age of 65 years-old and who are blind or have a disability. Children with a disability or blindness and whose parents have little income may also receive SSI under certain circumstances.

SSI benefits depend on where the recipient lives. Certain minimum income, government benefits and certain services that allow a recipient to work are excluded from calculating income for eligibility.

To determine eligibility, the Social Security Administration uses calculations based upon an applicant's financial resources but also excludes property such as an applicant's home, car, burial plots and life insurance policies with a face value which does not exceed $1,500. Social Security does not consider wages that a person with blindness pays for work expenses such as transportation.

Applicants may receive SSI if they live in certain institutions. They are usually ineligible if they live a city or county rest home, a publicly-operated community residence serving more than 16 people, a prison or have felony or arrest warrants for escape from custody, flight to avoid prosecution or confinement, or flight escape. However, applicants may receive SSI if they live in a public emergency shelter for the homeless or in a private or public institution and Medicaid is paying for over half of that cost of care.

Special rules may help applicants who are blind or disabled, and who work. They may also receive SSI payments while they work. Once they earn more money, SSI payments may be stopped or reduced but recipients may keep their Medicaid coverage.

Blind or disabled applicant may also apply for free special services to help them work. Applicants may set aside some money for school or an occupational which will not reduce their SSI payments.

Certain documents must be submitted to apply for benefits. These include their Social Security card, birth certificate or proof of age, mortgage or lease, income information such as payroll slips and insurance policies, the addresses and phone numbers of doctors and hospitals which provided treatment if the applicant is seeking SSI because of blindness or a disability, proof of citizenship or eligible noncitizen status and documents that show bank or credit union account numbers.

An applicant may appeal a decision from the SSA. Applicants must follow procedures and have representation. An attorney can help applicants meet requirements for SSI and pursue an appeal.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Supplemental Security Income (SSI)," Accessed March 16, 2017

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