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What is Supplemental Security Income?


Supplemental security income (SSI) is a federal income supplement program that is funded by general tax revenues. SSI provides monthly cash assistance payments to eligible people to help meet basic needs for food, shelter, and clothing. You must meet specific criteria in order to qualify for SSI. The Law Offices of Steinhardt, Siskind and Lieberman, LLC have extensive experience helping individuals navigate the complex rules and procedures involved in determining eligibility for an SSI claim. Our accomplished Glen Burnie social security disability lawyers can assist you in matters such as completing the necessary forms, explaining the process of applying, and filing an appeal if you are denied benefits.

Who is Eligible for SSI?

SSI is available to people who have limited income and little resources to support themselves, and who are:

  • Aged 65 or older;
  • Blind; or
  • Disabled.

Disabled for an adult means you have a physical or mental impairment that can be determined medically and:

  • Results in the inability to perform any substantial gainful activity; and
  • Can be expected to result in death; or
  • Has lasted or is likely expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.

Blindness under the SSI program is defined as:

  • You have central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in your better eye with the use of a correcting lens; or
  • You have a visual field limitation in your better eye, such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees.

Guidelines for Receiving SSI Benefits

SSI is a need-based benefits program. Whether you qualify for SSI is based on your financial eligibility and is evaluated based on your income and resources.

Limited income for purposes of determining SSI eligibility includes:

  • Money you earn from work;
  • Money you receive from other sources, including Social Security benefits, unemployment benefits, worker compensation, the Department of Veteran Affairs, relatives, or friends; and
  • Free food or shelter

For purposes of SSI, resources are things you own such as:

  • Cash;
  • Bank accounts, stocks, U.S. savings bonds;
  • Personal property;
  • Vehicles;
  • Life Insurance;
  • Land; and
  • Anything else you own that can be converted to cash to be used for shelter or food.

To get SSI, you must also:

  • Live in the U.S. or the Northern Mariana Islands;
  • Not be outside of the country for 30 consecutive days; and
  • Be either citizen or a national of the United States.

Comparing SSI and Social Security Benefits

Differences between SSI and Social benefits include the following:

  • General funds of the U.S. Treasury such as personal income taxes, corporate taxes, and other taxes finance SSI. Social Security taxes do not fund the SSI program.
  • SSI benefits are paid on the first of the month.

Similarities Between SSI and Social Security benefits include the following:

  • Both programs offer benefits on a monthly schedule.
  • Generally, the medical standards for disability are same in both programs for individual age 18 or older.
  • Social Security Administration (SSA) administers both programs.

Consult with an SSI Lawyer

Schedule a free consultation at our main offices in Glen Burnie, or at our satellite offices in Owings Mills, Ellicott City, or Annapolis. Our passionate supplemental security income lawyers want to ensure you are treated fairly. They will assist you with your SSI claim by meeting with you, completing the required paperwork, and ensuring forms are complete and well-documented to support your claim. If you filed for benefits and received a denial, we are committed to helping you file an appeal to get the benefits you deserve and are entitled to by law.


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