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Determining eligibility for Supplemental Security Income payments

Determining eligibility for Supplemental Security Income payments

| Nov 28, 2014 | Supplemental Security Income (SSI) |

When a New Jersey worker can no longer hold a job because of a disability, that person usually can apply for and receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. Sometimes, however, a disabled worker may also be eligible for other benefit programs.

In addition to Social Security Disability Insurance, the Social Security Administration oversees the Supplemental Security Income program. How much a person receives each month in SSDI benefits depends on how much the person has paid in Social Security, or FICA, payroll taxes during a lifetime.

Because of the severity of their disabilities, however, some disabled individuals would never be able to work or work long enough to pay FICA taxes and thus cannot qualify for SSDI benefits. For these people, SSI benefits are available. Supplemental Security Income provides fixed amounts to those who qualify to cover basic living expenses. Eligibility and the amount of benefits are determined by financial need or level of poverty.

Those who may be eligible must be aged 65 or older, blind or disabled. They also must have limited income, limited resources and be U.S. citizens, or fall within certain categories of resident aliens. An applicant also must meet SSA criteria for physical or mental disabilities, cannot have worked for 12 months before applying, will not be able to work during this time, would not be able to perform the same work as before or would be unable to adjust to a new job because of his or her disability. If the person meets the criteria, then that person can receive benefits under the SSI program.

If you are not sure about the application procedures to get benefits, visit our SSDI and SSI webpage. The information we have posted there explains more about the programs and provides details on the claims process.