What are the eligibility requirements to collect SSI?

If you or your loved one suffers from a serious condition that makes it impossible to work and earn enough to money to care for yourself and/or your family, it may be wise to consider your options for Supplemental Security Income.

SSI is a disability program that provides government benefits to people who cannot work. It is different from Social Security disability in that it does not require recipients to have had to work a certain number of years to have had to pay into the Social Security system. However, there are still a number of eligibility requirements for people seeking SSI.

Generally speaking, there are three categories of eligibility requirements: level of disability, financial resources and immigration status.

In terms of the level of disability, SSI is only available for people who are over the age of 65, blind (not just visually impaired) and a serious physical or mental disability. These conditions must be confirmed through medical records and other information.

SSI is also only available to people with limited financial resources. If you or your loved one earns more than the limits set by the Social Security Administration, or if you have access to other financial resources in excess of that limit, you are not eligible for SSI. This includes income, savings bonds, land ownership, property and other valuable assets.

Finally, you have to be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident to be eligible for SSI. There are additional guidelines in terms of leaving the U.S. and living in government-paid confinement that will also restrict access to SSI.

It is important to understand that even if you feel like you meet these requirements, it doesn’t mean that you will automatically collect SSI. There is a rigid application process in place and many people see their applications initially denied. Having the guidance of an attorney who can help you navigate your way through this complex process can be wise for people who want to avoid costly delays and mistakes.