Are you struggling to make ends meet due to a physical or mental disability? Are you 65 or older?
Over six and one-half million people receive funds through Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). If you need help, it’s time to figure out if you qualify.
Here’s what you need to do to make an SSI claim.
Check the Qualifications
Do you qualify for SSI? Here are the major qualifications. You must be:
- Age 65 or older
You must also:
- Have a limited income
- Have limited resources
- Must be a U.S. citizen, national, or fall into a specific category of alien
- Must be a resident of Washington DC, one of the 50 states, or the Northern Mariana Islands
- Can’t be absent from the U.S. for an entire calendar month or 30 consecutive days or more
- Not currently in an institution at the government’s expense, such as a prison or hospital
- Apply for other cash benefits for which you are able such as pension or Social Security benefits
- Give the Social Security Administration (SSA) permission to request financial records about you from any financial institution
- File an application and meet other specific requirements
Read through each point carefully to make sure you meet these initial requirements before you apply for an SSI claim.
Blindness refers to an individual with 20/200 or less visual acuity in your best eye with the use of corrective lenses. If the widest diameter of the visual field in your best eye subtends an angle of greater than 20 degrees, that also qualifies as blindness.
If you don’t meet the definition of blindness but have a visual impairment, you may still qualify for SSI as a disability.
What Qualifies as Disabled?
If you’re an adult age 18 or older, you’re disabled if you have a physical or mental impairment as determined by a qualified physician. This must result in an inability to do a substantial gainful activity. The expectation is that the disability will result in death or last for at least one year or more.
The SSA looks at the money you earn from work along with the money you get from other sources, such as Social Security benefits when determining whether you qualify. If you receive food or shelter free of charge, the SSA counts that as income.
The SSA determines the amount you’ll receive based on your income so it’s important to understand how they count the income. It is sometimes confusing and you may want to seek professional help. You can find more info here.
Before you apply for SSI, make sure you have details and documentation of all income and personal assets.
Making an SSI Claim
Making an SSI claim requires a lot of paperwork. The more thorough you are, the more likely your claim will go through. You can apply online or call the SSA.
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