What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program that provides monthly payments to disabled people with limited income and resources, along with non-disabled individuals over 65. Unlike with Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), applicants for SSI benefits do not need to have paid into the Social Security system in order to be awarded funds. Our SSI attorneys in Orange County can help assess and strengthen your case for benefits.
Who is Eligible for SSI?
Only U.S. Residents are eligible for SSI benefits. There are three ways residents can be eligible for SSI:
- The applicant is at least 65 years of age.
- The applicant is totally or partially blind.
- The applicant has a medical condition that prevents them from working. That condition is expected to last at least one year or result in death.
What Do You Need to Qualify for SSI?
In order to qualify for SSI benefits you must begin by submitting an application. The Social Security Administration will consider your income (including any benefits you are currently receiving) and assets to ensure you meet the need-based criteria for this type of benefit. If you are applying because of a disability, you will need to provide medical evidence of your condition and symptoms.
What Counts as an SSI Disability?
The Social Security Administration has a specific way of defining disability. According to the SSA, a disability is a provable mental or physical condition which prevents a person from engaging in substantial gainful activities (SGA). This condition must be expected to last for at least a year. Disabilities are assessed based on the criteria found in the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments, often referred to as the Blue Book.
The Blue Book includes specific requirements for a number of common conditions and symptoms which can qualify a person for disability. The main sections, under which specific conditions are named and detailed, include:
|special senses||hematological disorders||mental disorders|
|respiratory system||skin disorders||neoplastic diseases (cancer)|
|cardiovascular system||endocrine disorders||immune system disorders|
|digestive system||multiple body systems||Low birth weight, failure to thrive|
Qualifying for a Listing
In order to qualify for a listing found in the Blue Book, the applicant must provide substantial medical evidence to support their claim. This typically includes lab reports, doctor’s notes, and information about treatments tried along with the results of those treatments. In some cases, the SSA will require a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) evaluation, which assesses the applicant’s ability to keep up with the demands of a workplace.
Not All Conditions are Listed
Keep in mind that the Blue Book does not include listings for every medical condition that could possibly qualify a person for benefits. In many cases, applicants are disabled by an unlisted condition or multiple conditions whose net impact makes SGA impossible. Applicants with an unlisted impairment, or combination of impairments, can apply for a medically equivalent listing.
Our SSI Attorney in Orange County Can Help
The Social Security benefits system can be complex and confusing for those who are unfamiliar with disability law. If you are planning to apply for the first time, or are looking to appeal the Social Security’s ruling on your application, we can help. Our SSI attorneys in Orange County can step in to help you make your case at any stage in the process. Contact us today to request a free consultation.