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What is Supplemental Security Income?

by Joe Whitcomb / January 12, 2018

Under the Social Security Act of 1935, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program that provides a mechanism for disabled workers to receive monthly benefits. The U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA) administers this program, employing defined criteria to determine whether an applicant qualifies for SSI benefits. These benefits are available to individuals who do not have enough work history to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Who is Eligible for SSI Benefits?

Disability benefits under the SSI program are generally geared toward individuals who have a sparse employment history. This also applies to individuals who have never held a job. Individuals who once qualified for SSDI benefits, but are no longer eligible for such benefits, can potentially seek SSI benefits. Families with disabled children may be able to qualify as well, assuming their income and asset levels are below certain thresholds.

Can the Same Person Claim SSI and SSDI Benefits Simultaneously?

In short, yes, the same person can be eligible for both SSI and SSDI benefits. This is often referred to as a “concurrent disability claim.” When that person submits an application for benefits, the SSA reviews the information. Then the SSA determines whether to award SSI, SSDI, both or neither.

How Do Medical Records Impact SSI Applications?

Medical records are an important part of every SSI application. Every applicant is required to provide recent medical records – a maximum of 60 days old – to demonstrate their current disability status.

This is significant because SSI benefits are only available to disabled individuals. Consequently, if an applicant’s medical records do not show evidence of a disability, the SSA will likely reject the application.

What is the Significance of Residual Functional Capacity?

Residual functional capacity (RFC) is social security term that refers to a person’s present abilities. A person’s mental and physical limitations will determine their RFC. This metric is significant to SSI benefit applications in two ways.

First, a person’s present RFC can help determine whether he or she can return to any of his or her past jobs. If the SSA decides that the person is unable to return to past positions, then we move on to the second level of analysis.

Second, a person’s present RFC can help determine whether he or she can perform the required duties of a different job. If the SSA decides that the person is able to perform other jobs, then SSI disability benefits are not suitable in that situation.

Do You Need Legal Advice from an Experienced Social Security Attorney?

Whether you are dealing with SSI, SSDI, or related matters, it can be a challenge to unravel all of the relevant rules and regulations. When dealing with such circumstances, it is advantageous to seek legal advice from a skilled social security attorney. With such an advocate in your corner, you will push toward a positive outcome for your legal case.

Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC and its sister firm, the Rocky Mountain Disability Law Group (RMDLG), have demonstrated skill and experience dealing with SSI, SSDI, and related considerations. If you need legal advice, please do not hesitate to contact us for assistance. You can reach the attorneys at Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC by phone at 866-476-4558 (toll-free) and 303-534-1958 (toll) or online by completing a simple form on our website.

Tags: Supplemental Security Income

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Joe Whitcomb

Joe Whitcomb

Joe Whitcomb is the founder and president of Whitcomb, Selinsky, PC (WSM). In addition, he manages the firm and heads up the Government Procurement and International Business Transactions Law sections. As a result of his military service as a U.S. Army Ranger and as a non-commissioned officer in the Air Force, he learned mission accomplishment. While serving in the Air Force, he earned his Bachelor’s in Social Sciences and a Master’s in International Relations. His Master’s emphasis was on National Security and International Political Economics. After his military career, Joe attended law school at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

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