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Who is eligible for Supplemental Security Income benefits?

Many people may be familiar with Social Security Disability benefits and know that the financial support available through SSDI can be very helpful for workers who suffer a disabling injury or illness. It is important to remember that qualifying for this type of support requires a person to have paid enough in taxes to be considered "insured."

However, there are many Georgia residents who have not worked long enough or paid enough in taxes to qualify for SSDI benefits. Folks who are in this situation may be understandably concerned about their options for receiving support. It may be of some relief to know that there is another type of support available for people who may not meet the financial requirements to receive SSDI; it may be possible to collect Supplemental Security Income benefits.

People who qualify for SSI benefits are generally people who have a disability that prevents them from earning adequate income. Unlike SSDI, SSI benefits are available to people who have not paid Social Security taxes. This is because the financial support for SSI does not come from Social Security taxes. 

SSI benefits are intended to help disabled people cover certain living expenses, even if they are not earning an income. For example, if a very young person gets hurt in an accident and suffers a traumatic brain injury or is paralyzed, he or she may not be able to work in the future and may be unable to financially support themselves. Because that person has likely not contributed enough in Social Security taxes, SSDI would not be an option. 

While it may seem simple, qualifying for SSI can be a complicated process. There are physical or mental disability requirements that must be met, employment evaluations conducted and interviews with members of the Social Security Administration that must be completed as part of the qualification process. All this can be stressful and confusing. However, with the help of an attorney, people in Atlanta can navigate the system and work toward a successful claim to get the money the need.

Source: Oklahoman, "Disability could trigger eligibility for Supplemental Security Income," April 6, 2014

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