What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?
Even if you haven’t worked in the past and paid into the social security income program, you may still be eligible to receive Social Security benefits if you meet certain requirements. These benefits are called Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
SSI is a federal income supplement program that gets its funding from general tax revenues instead of Social Security taxes. The program is meant to assist aged, disabled, and blind people that have little to no income. The benefits are a supplement to help the disadvantaged meet basic needs such as shelter, food, and clothing.
What is the Difference Between SSDI and SSI?
Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is available to workers who have accumulated a certain amount of work credits during their work careers. The main difference between SSDI and SSI is that SSI doesn’t require that a person has ever worked to qualify for the program. The benefits are entirely need-based, and they have nothing to do with a person’s work history.
How to Qualify for Supplement Social Security Income (SSI)
SSI applies a “means test” to applicants to determine whether or not they are eligible for benefits. First, an applicant cannot have more than $2,000 in assets ($3,000 for couples). You are also be eligible to receive food assistance and Medicaid benefits while receiving SSI benefits in Mississippi. Many states supplement SSI payments to help further assist those in need, but unfortunately, Mississippi is not one of those states.
The way the Social Security Administration determines income can be complicated and confusing, as can what they determine to be income. For example, any food or shelter that you receive for free will be calculated as income. Some other cash earnings may not go into the calculations. The higher your income from their formula, the less your SSI benefit will be. If your countable income is over the agency’s allowable limit, your claim for SSI benefits will be denied.
It’s also important to note that a portion of your spouse’s income could be used in your eligibility calculations. If you are eligible for SSI and your spouse is not, a portion of your spouse’s income may apply to your countable income.
How to Apply for SSI
Most of the SSI application process needs to be completed at your local Social Security Administration (SSA) office. Some application preparation can be done ahead of time so that you are completely prepared and can save time when requesting benefits. For example, you can complete an Adult Disability Report online if applying based on disability.
When you apply for SSI benefits, you’ll be asked for a significant amount of documentation, most of which must be original and not copies of documents. Things that you’ll be asked to provide include:
- Social Security number
- Proof of age
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or immigration status
- Proof of income
- Proof of assets and resources
- Documentation of living arrangements
- Documentation of medical condition
Hiring a Mississippi Attorney to Help with Your SSI Claim
Even though SSI is an important source of income for millions of Americans, those who apply for benefits without a lawyer often find that they are initially denied or receive just the bare minimum. Social Security has a conspicuously confusing and convoluted application process, which puts applicants at an immediate disadvantage
If you believe that you are eligible for SSI benefits in Mississippi, have been denied benefits, or would like to learn more about the requirements, the skilled Mississippi SSI Attorneys at The Gardner Law Firm have the experience necessary to help you with your case. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our knowledgeable Mississippi benefits attorneys. We can be reached in Biloxi at (228) 436-6555, in Pascagoula at (228) 762-6555 or in Hattiesburg at (601) 582-4300.