Both adults and children with severe disabilities might be eligible to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). This program from the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides monthly compensation to disabled people who also have limited incomes and assets.
Eligibility for SSI requires meeting the program’s medical and non-medical standards. To meet the medical standards for SSI, an applicant must be totally disabled [In Progress: link to https://www.socialsecuritylawcenter.info/frequently-asked-questions/what-is-total-disability-according-to-the-social-security-administration/]. By the SSA’s standards, a person with a total disability is unable to earn a living through work. There is no such thing as partial Social Security disability.
The non-medical SSI standards refer to income and assets. SSI is a means-tested program for the needy. It is for poorer Americans who lack a substantial income or assets. Accordingly, a person who makes too much money or whose net worth is too high will receive a denial on the grounds that they are not needy.
If you are seeking benefits for yourself or applying for your child, a disability lawyer can help you understand the SSI disability qualifications for adults and children before you file your claim. The attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group, offer free consultations to review your claim and answer your questions. To get started, call us today at 865-566-0800.
How Does the SSA Define a Child?
To qualify as a child under the SSA’s standards, a person cannot be married or be the head of a household. They also must be under age 18 or enrolled in and regularly attending school if they are between the ages of 18 and 22.
An SSI applicant classified as a child can receive benefits based on the disability standards for children. If your child is not considered a child by the SSA, they might still be eligible for SSI benefits, but they will have to qualify under the adult standards.
What Are the Medical Standards to Receive SSI as a Child?
A child can qualify for SSI on a medical basis if they have a disabling medical condition that causes marked and severe functional limitations and:
- Has lasted or will probably last for at least 12 months; or
- Will likely result in the child’s death.
What Are the Medical Standards to Receive SSI as an Adult?
Anyone applying for SSI who does not qualify as a child must qualify under the program’s adult standards. Unlike children, adults must be able to show that their disabling condition prevents them from being gainfully employed on a substantial basis.
The exact medical criteria to qualify for SSI as an adult are:
- You have a physical or mental impairment that makes it impossible to do substantial gainful activity; and
- Your condition has lasted or will last at least 12 months, or is likely to result in your death.
We can review the medical records of you or your child and determine if they adequately show limitations [In Progress: link to https://www.socialsecuritylawcenter.info/frequently-asked-questions/how-do-medical-records-show-limitations/] before we assess your chances of getting approved. We can point out the strengths and weaknesses of your claim and help you put together an application packet that makes a convincing argument for disability benefits.
What Are the Non-Medical Standards to Receive SSI as an Adult or Child?
Even if you or your child meet the applicable medical standards to receive SSI, there are income and asset requirements under which you must qualify.
Based on the number of adults and children in your household, your monthly income cannot exceed a certain threshold, which the SSA sets each year. The threshold is higher for earned income, such as wages from work, than it is for unearned income, such as welfare or other government benefits.
There are also asset requirements. An individual applying for benefits may not have more than $2,000 in assets, while a couple’s total assets may not exceed $3,000.
SSI income requirements can be confusing, which is why it is best to let one of our disability attorneys review your finances before you apply. That way you know if any potential challenges await and you can deal with them ahead of time.
What Happens If I Do Not Meet the Requirements?
If you meet the SSI’s medical requirements but not the non-medical requirements—meaning you make too much money or have high a net worth—you might qualify for the SSA’s other disability program, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). We can explain this program to you and help you apply.
SSI and SSDI have the same medical requirements, so if you do not qualify for one on a medical basis, you will not qualify for the other.
Call 865-566-0800 to Schedule a Free Consultation With a Disability Attorney.
The attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group, want to help you or your child win disability benefits. We have a long, successful track record and many resources to put to work on your case. Call us today at 865-566-0800 for a free consultation.