Struggling to make ends meet? A disability attorney in Raleigh can determine if you may qualify to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Eligibility is based not just on your financial need, but other requirements as well. A lawyer can even assist you as you apply for SSI benefits.
Requirements for Supplemental Security Income
You may find yourself in a position where you need to supplement your income. To be eligible for SSI, though, you must first be:
- 65 years or older;
- disabled; or
In addition, you will have to prove that your income and resources are limited. However, there are also requirements based on your citizenship, residency, other benefits you may be eligible to receive, and more. An attorney can help sort through this.
In order to be considered disabled, you must have been suffering from the medical condition for at least 12 months, or it must be expected to last that long. If your medical condition is expected to result in death, you may also qualify.
Disability is also based on your ability to work and the severity of your condition. What’s more, if you are applying for SSI based on blindness, you must meet Social Security Administration’s (SSA) definition of blindness.
The other important requirements are having limited income and resources. In figuring out your income, this means not just money you earn from work. If you receive payments for Workers Compensation, Veterans’ benefits, or Social Security disability benefits, these will be counted.
If you receive free food and shelter, this will be figured in as well. For instance, you might have a relative who is allowing you to live in an apartment he or she owns rent-free. This could be factored into your eligibility.
Requirements are also based on having limited resources. These are the things that you own, like your:
- bank accounts;
- savings bonds;
- life insurance; and
- other things that could potentially be converted to cash.
Your car, land and other personal property may also be considered when determining if you have limited resources. However, not everything you own is counted toward the value of your income or resources. You may even exclude part of your income when figuring out your payments. You may benefit from speaking with an attorney to sort everything out, as the process may be complicated.
Supplemental Security Income Payments
So if you meet the requirements for SSI, how much can you expect your payments to be? Payments are based on the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR), which can change each year. For the year 2012 it is $698 per month for an individual and $1,048 per month for a couple.
However, this is the maximum amount you could qualify to receive. There may be exclusions that apply to your payment, which would reduce the amount. At the same time, supplemental money from the state may be added in some cases depending on where you live.
State supplements usually depend on your marital status and who you live with. For instance, you may live on your own or in a nursing home. Either situation will impact the amount.
If you are receiving Social Security disability benefits, this could also impact your payments. Let’s say you only receive $285 each month in disability benefits. To reach the maximum amount of $698 per month for an individual, then your SSI payment may be $413. Combining that with your disability benefit payment, you are receiving the maximum FBR.
Contacting a Disability Attorney in Raleigh
It is generally very difficult to meet the strict requirements for SSI. The supplemental income is intended for individuals or couples who have serious financial needs with limited assets and income. What’s more, it is intended for individuals who are blind, disabled, or elderly.
To learn if you are eligible, contact a lawyer at Brent Adams & Associates at 800-849-5931 or 910-892-8177. It doesn’t hurt to take advantage of our free initial consultation with a disability attorney in Raleigh to learn if you should proceed with filing an application for SSI.