People face differing financial challenges during their lifetimes and may sometimes wonder what options are available to help them. Fortunately, relief may be available through programs provided through the Social Security Administration. One option, depending on the circumstances, may be Supplemental Security Income benefits.
Supplemental Security Income benefits are generally for those individuals who are elderly, blind, or disabled and who have limited resources and income. Both income and available resources are considered when evaluating eligibility for Supplemental Security Income. Income is considered money the applicant receives, including wages, Social Security benefits, and other income such as pensions or food and shelter. Certain income is not counted when calculations are made for the purpose of SSI benefits. Income limits to qualify SSI benefits can vary by state.
In addition to a disclosure of your income and expenses, available resources are also considered and include items that the applicant owns. Resources include bank accounts, cash, real estate, stocks, and bonds. The maximum amount of resources the applicant can own in order to still qualify for SSI is limited. However, not everything the applicant owns, such as the home where they live or their car, as well as some additional items, will be considered resources by the SSA when evaluating eligibility for SSI benefits.
When applying for SSI benefits, the applicant will have to provide information related to income and available resources. Additional requirements, such as medical contact information if the applicant is blind or disabled, are also required as part of the application process. Applicants who are denied SSI benefits have the right to appeal the decision.
Alternatively, Social Security disability benefits may be available for individuals with sufficient work history and meet the requirements to qualify as disabled. Familiarity with the options available, and the process, can help individuals determine the best options for them to obtain oftentimes badly needed benefits.
Source: Social Security Administration, “Supplemental Security Income,” accessed on Dec. 21, 2015