What Is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Briefly, SSI is a government program that pays monthly benefits to disabled adults and children or elderly people whose incomes and assets are limited or non-existent.

I. An Outline of SSI; What You Need to Know.

SSI program, or Title XVI (Title 16), is managed by the Social Security Administration and funded with U.S. Treasury general funds, not the Social Security trust fund, and is a cooperative program between Social Security and the state government.

A. To be eligible for SSI, you must show the following:

1. You must be 65 years old or older, blind, or disabled. This program is also available to blind or disabled children.
2. You must be either a citizen of the United States or meet very narrow requirements based on your U.S. permanent residency, military service, or political asylum-seeker or refugee status.
3. Your monthly income must be low or non-existent. Only about half of your earned income will be taken into account, but this counted income cannot be higher than an amount set by the state in which you live – from $700 to $1,400 per month. Your spouse’s income will also be considered.
4. The property you own (minus certain items, such as a car and your home) must be worth less than $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for a couple.

B. What May You Expect to Receive if Eligible for SSI?

1. You will receive money payments up to $750 per month for an individual or $1,125 per month for a couple on the first of the month (2018). Benefits may be reduced by any other income you receive, including other Social Security benefits received by you.
2. You also will be eligible for medical care (Medicaid) and your doctor’s visits, prescriptions, hospital stays and such will be paid. You may also be eligible for food assistance.


How Many Levels of the Administrative Review Can You Expect in A Social Security Disability Claim?

Level 1: Following the initial application, the agency will make an initial determination of whether you are disabled under its guidelines. If that decision is unfavorable to you;
Level 2: You have the right to request reconsideration and a different group of individuals will review your case to see if that initial decision was the right one. If the reconsideration decision is still against you;
Level 3: You then have the right to request a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. If after the hearing the Judge denies your claim;
Level 4: You then have the right to request review with the Appeals Council in Falls Church, Virginia. If Appeals Council denies your claim, that ends the administrative process. But;
Level 5: You could take your case to Federal Court.

Each appeal must be filed within 65 days (60 days plus 5 days mailing) of the date of the notice of decision. If the Appeals Council still goes against you, then that would complete the administrative process. The only way you could overturn the decision of the Administrative Law Judge would be to take your case to Federal Court.

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