If you are not eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) under the work requirements, you may still be able to receive benefits through other programs. As an American with a disability, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a secondary program designed to help citizens with disabilities with demonstrated financial need.
Social Security Law Center has been working since 1990 to help Oklahoma citizens receive disability benefits. Reach out to us online or call today to get started on your application.
What is SSI?
Supplemental Security Income is a tax-funded program that provides support to American citizens over the age of 65 or with disabilities. If you have income and assets lower than the SSI threshold, you may be eligible to receive a monthly allowance.
SSI is designed for citizens who have not been able to work prior to the onset of their disability. This program provides support to those whose disability started as children, parents of special needs children with low incomes, or to those receiving other benefits who still cannot cover the cost of living. You may be able to receive SSI in addition to SSDI and other social support programs.
What Benefits Can I Receive?
The 2020 maximum benefits paid in Oklahoma for single SSI recipients is $783. Married couples may receive a maximum of $1,175 per month. SSI benefits may also be increased by state supplements. As of 2020, Oklahoma offers an SSI state supplement of $42 for those who live independently. The amount of benefits you will receive depends on your financial situation.
If you are eligible for SSI benefits, you may also be eligible for Medicaid or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
How is SSI different from SSDI?
SSDI requires applicants to have earned enough work credits in the past ten years to qualify. For applicants who do not meet this requirement, SSI offers an alternative program. SSI also permits you to work while receiving SSI, so long as your income does not exceed SSI requirements. Unlike SSDI, children are eligible for SSI, if their parents have significant financial need.
It is more difficult to be approved for SSI than SSDI. SSDI applicants generally have a longer work history, which gives them more credibility in the eyes of disability examiners. They also are more likely to have the proper medical documentation because they can afford to see a doctor more regularly and gather their evidence. It is important to be prepared for your SSI application, so you have the highest chance of being approved.
Who is Eligible for SSI?
To be eligible for SSI, you must have a disability or be over the age of 65, and you must meet certain financial requirements.
Your household assets must be less than $3,000 for a couple or $2,000 if you are single. This does not include the house you live in or vehicles worth less than $4,500. Other assets, such as burial plots, are also excluded from your total. Your income limit varies depending on your state. To find out the current income limits for Oklahoma residents, call the Social Security Administration (SSA) office at (800) 772-1213.
Children may be eligible for SSI as well, depending on their parents’ income. If your child has a disability, you may be able to receive SSI benefits on their behalf.
Applying for SSI Benefits
To apply for SSI benefits, you will need to file an initial claim. For adults seeking SSI benefits, you can apply online, as well as in person or over the phone. Guardians seeking SSI benefits for their children are not currently able to apply online.
When you apply, you will need to have your documents and information ready. You may be asked questions about your or your medical needs and your income. If you are receiving other benefits, such as SNAP or the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, you will need to have these documents on hand during your application.
Once you have been applied, you may need to wait for confirmation, while the SSA determines your financial need and the severity of your disability. If you are approved, you will receive notice of the amount of your benefits and the date they are set to begin.
If you are denied, you have the opportunity to file an appeal. At this level, an appeal is known as a Request for Reconsideration. If you are denied again, you may file an appeal requesting a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ). If the judge rules against you, you may file one more Request for Review with the Appeals Council. Your final opportunity for appeal is to the Federal District Court.
At any of these points, you may decide not to continue seeking benefits or to submit a new application entirely. Consulting an attorney can help you decide on your SSI application strategy.
How an Attorney Can Help
Applying for SSI benefits requires patience and attention to detail. Calculating the financial requirements can be complex for those who are not used to managing household finances, and you may be unsure where to start gathering your medical documents. Hiring an attorney to help with your SSI application can help you present a strong case from the start.
Our team can help you understand your eligibility for SSI and discuss your options before you file your initial application. With over 30 years of experience in Social Security Disability law, our firm knows the ins and outs of the local justice system and its judges. We can help you contact expert witnesses and gather relevant information from your physician. You may need to prepare documents showing your income or any other benefits programs you receive support from. An attorney can help you organize your information so that your application is comprehensive and accurate.
If your case is appealed before an ALJ, Appeals Council, or to the Federal District Court, it is critical that you have an attorney to help you. A hearing is your best chance to be approved for SSI support. Having an attorney to present your case to the judge and defend your right to financial support can make the difference between approval and denial.
Contact Social Security Law Center Today
Applying for SSI benefits is your right as a disabled citizen or parent of a disabled child. If you are struggling to make ends meet, SSI benefits can help you fill the gap. Our offices in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and Bartlesville are ready to help you with your application. The sooner you call us, the sooner we can get started.
Contact us online or reach out to us by phone to schedule your free, one-on-one consultation today. You deserve experienced and compassionate legal support during this time. The Social Security Law Center team is ready to help you get the benefits you deserve.