Applying for Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is possible for many people, and often times, you may not realize it. If you qualify for Social Security Disability, you may also be able to receive an additional monthly payment paid to you from the SSA to help you to meet your financial needs. There are very strict rules in place, however, that determine who should receive SSI and how much they should receive. If you wish to qualify, you must work through the system to prove your eligibility.
The Social Security Administration focuses specifically on your income and your resources –your resources being the things you own. Those who have excessive income or resources, above and beyond what the SSA states is the limit are unable to receive SSI. Consider the following before you apply.
Income Qualifications for SSI
Income is any money you receive, including from other Social Security benefits, wages from a job and even income from a pension. It also includes any type of shelter or food you receive. The amount of income you receive is dependent on a number of different factors, including where you live. Some states have a higher cost of living than others and therefore SSI benefits are likely to be higher in those areas.
Social Security does not count all of your income. In fact, the following is not counted as part of your income:
- The first $20 you earn in most types of income per month.
- The first $65 you earn from working and half of the amount you make over $65 does not count.
- The SNAP Benefits (formerly food stamps) you receive.
- The home energy assistance benefits you receive.
- The shelter you receive if it is obtained form a private, nonprofit organization.
It does include half of your spouse’s income and resources if you are married. For those that are under the age of 18, the SSA does factor in the resources of your parents, including income. For students, only some of the wages you earn will qualify and only some of the scholarship received may be taken into account when determining whether or not you qualify.
For those who are disabled according to the guidelines set forth by the Social Security Administration does not count the wages you earn that are used to pay for services or items that help you to do your job such as the wheelchair you may own.
It is important that you complete the Social Security Disability application with all of the income you earn. You do not want to withhold any information here.
Resources You Own Affect Your SSI Eligibility
Resources are also considered in each application for SSI. In order to receive Supplemental Security Income, you must disclose all of your resources such as the real estate you own, the bank accounts in your name and your cash. You must also declare all of your investments, such as the bonds and stocks you own.
If your resources are worth less than $2000, you should qualify for SSI. If you are in a relationship, you and your partner’s combined resources cannot be worth more than $3000. In some cases, those who are trying to sell property may also qualify for benefits while they are attempting to sell the property (but there are restrictions on how this process works.) Like with income, not everything you own is taken into consideration. For example, the following items are not counted towards your eligibility requirements:
- The home you live in does not count towards this limitation.
- If you own the land where your home is located, the value of the land does not count towards your resources.
- If you have a car, it usually does not count against these resources.
- If you have a life insurance policy and the face value of it is under $1500, then it does not count towards the limitation.
- If you own burial plots for yourself and your immediate family members, this does not count towards your $2000 resource limit.
- In addition, you may have up to $1500 in burial funds for you and another $1500 for your spouse.
As with your income, you do need to disclose all information about your resources in order to obtain Supplemental Security Income. You will not need to worry about your Date Last Insured, as this relates only to Social Security Disability Insurance.
There are a few other things to keep in mind as you consider whether or not to apply for Social Security Disability. For example, you must live in the United States, or in the Northern Mariana Islands. You must also be a citizen, although there are limited situations where non citizens may also qualify.
Where you live and what you earn are the main factors which will enable you to get SSI. If you do not qualify for SSI, other programs may be available to help you. However, if you believe you do qualify, you should apply for these benefits to improve your financial circumstances.