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SSI Disability Claims FAQ

Disabled individuals and seniors (aged 65 years and older) may receive federal assistance through Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) even if they have not contributed Social Security taxes or their contributions are not enough during their past employment.

Because SSI aims to provide assistance to poor people with disability and medical condition that prevents them to earn a living, it is generally easier to qualify for this program compared to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) which requires individual to have sufficient Social Security contributions.

But unlike other Social Security programs, SSI does not provide separate benefits to spouses, children, and other dependents.

What are the Benefits Included in SSI?

In 2010, the SSI monthly payment is $674 for an individual or $1,011 for an eligible couple.

Aside from this monetary assistance, SSI beneficiaries will automatically receive Medicaid coverage from the moment they collect their monthly payment. But in some circumstances, Medicaid eligibility may start three months after receiving SSI benefits.

Medicaid, which is a state-run health insurance, is partially funded by the federal government.

Meanwhile, some states also provide SSI beneficiaries with social services such as free transportation, food stubs, and homemaker services.

What are the Qualifications for SSI Benefits?

To qualify for this federal assistance, people should prove that they have limited sources of income. Most states define “low income” as monthly earnings not more than $500 or financial resources not more than $2,000 (or $3,000 if married).

(Note: Income includes wages from employment, settlement and court awards, inheritance in the form of properties and cash, other government assistance, personal savings and bank accounts, life insurance, and alimony payments. However, personal properties, home, car, and household furniture are not counted as income.)

Generally, SSI claimants should be a legal resident of the US. But in some cases, even noncitizens may be eligible for this benefits if they are granted with a special immigration status by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

In addition, SSI claimants should have a long-term disability, impairment (such as blindness), or medical condition that prevents them from working. Usually, those who have partial or temporary disability are not covered by this program.

What are the Factors that may Affect SSI?

SSI payments may be reduced or stopped if claimants transferred to a nursing home, nursing facility, or any kind of institution which cares for disabled or elderly people.

Going back to work can also affect or end the SSI payment as it shows that a person has already the capability to earn a living. However, his wage and the length of employment will still determine if he can continue receiving benefits or not.

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