What are the Application Requirements For SSI Disability?

Supplemental Security Income disability (SSI) is a need based disability program that is managed along with the Social Security Disability program by the Social Security Administration.


1. Filing for SSI Benefits
2. Can I Be Eligible For SSI And Social Security Disability At The Same Time?
3. How Far Back Can SSI Back Pay Be Paid?
4. The SSI Award Letter
5. How to apply for SSI
6. How to file for SSI, pt2

Application requirements for Supplemental Security Income disability are centered on income and resources. Meaning, if an individual does not meet the income or resource limit they will not be eligible for Supplemental Security Income disability no matter what their disabling condition is. Moreover, if an individual does not meet the SSI income and resource limits their disability application will be denied prior to being sent (to a disability examiner) for a medical determination.

Each year Social Security determines what the income and resource limits are going to be for the year. For the year 2010 (remember these amounts are subject to change, so contact Social Security for current year limits) the resource limit is $2000.00 per individual and $3000.00 for a couple. Social Security does not count an individual's or couple's home if they are living in it, nor do they count the highest valued vehicle. However most other resources an individual or couple has can be counted toward the resource limit. Resources are extra vehicles, land other than where an individual lives (including heir property), stocks, bonds, 401K, any thing that can generate cash if sold.

Resource limits rarely change and are pretty black and white. An individual or couple either meets the resource limit, or they do not. Income limits have more flexibility than resource limits. The SSI income limit is sometimes more dependent on the composition of the family. For example, a family of five can have more income than a family of two and still meet the SSI income limit. Income can come from wages, short term or long term disability, work compensation, unemployment benefits, pensions, rental income, etc.

Other than income and resource limit factors, the application process for SSI disability is the same as Social Security Disability. An individual must complete an application with Social Security to provide their medical and work information. Once their disability claim is completed, the Social Security office forwards the claim to a state disability agency for a medical decision. If an individual is medically approved for SSI disability benefits, they still have one more hurdle to cross before they actually receive disability benefits.

All SSI disability claims have an end line interview at their local Social Security office to determine if they still meet income and resource limits and what their living arrangements are. If an individual does not meet income and/or resource limits at the time of this interview, their disability claim will be denied even though they have been found medically disabled by Social Security.

However, if the individual still meets the income and resource limits this interview will be used to determine what Social Security will pay them in monthly benefits. Social Security determines the SSI disability payment amount by determining the individual's household composition and whether or not they are are paying their share of the expenses in the household.

For example, if four individuals live in the household, then the SSI beneficiary is responsible for one forth of all of the household bills and they must pay one fourth of the bills to receive the full SSI disability benefit amount. If they do not pay their share of the expenses, their disability benefit will be reduced until they are able to.

About the Author: Tim Moore is a former Social Security Disability Examiner in North Carolina, has been interviewed by the NY Times and the LA Times on the disability system, and is an Accredited Disability Representative (ADR) in North Carolina. For assistance on a disability application or Appeal in NC, click here.

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