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Supplemental Security Income Celebrates 40 Years

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Supplemental Security Income providing support to those with severe disabilities and to the elderly. Signed into law by President Nixon in 1972, the program focuses on strengthening economic security and the opportunity for recipients to be active participants in society. The program does even more important work, however: it’s a crucial safety net to help children with severe disabilities receive care at home from their parents rather than in costly institutions.

A Record Of Success

Many parents of severely disabled children need to limit employment so they can focus on their child’s daily needs. The intensive care required puts not only a financial strain on parents but it can also lead to emotional strains as well. The SSI program helps reduce the financial strain from loss of income and helps reduce emotional stress, thereby helping parents keep their families intact.

SSI also helps give parents and youth access to education that can better their lives, and it helps provide accurate, extensive initial disability benefit determinations.

In today’s political climate, some are proposing sweeping changes to SSI disability benefits, but many consider the proposals a threat to the program’s traditional pro-family approach to solving problems and supporting those with severe disabilities. The income support provided by Supplemental Security is a critical complement to other programs that provide Medicaid health insurance, work and education services, and special health care needs.

An Intro to Supplementary Security Income

ssiIn a down economy, people are trying harder than ever to find benefits and relief that can help them to the next month.  If you’re trying to get back on your feet, then you should definitely know about Supplementary Security Income.  SSI is a form of disability benefits that is funded by general tax revenues.  It’s important to note that this is not the same as Social Security, so you don’t have to be of retirement age in order to qualify!

Can I Get Supplementary Security Income?

If you’re interested in Supplementary Security Income, here’s what you need to know:

SSI is a cash-based relief program that helps people over the age of 65, or with disabilities (e.g. blindness, physical handicap, etc.) get their basic needs met.

In order to see if you qualify for Supplementary Security Income, take the official Benefits Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST) test.  This test will help you determine whether or not you can get SSI.  Even better, it will inform you about all of the disability benefits and general benefits you may be eligible for!

You have nothing to lose by using this tool.  Additionally, your privacy is completely protected.  You don’t have to reveal any information that is associated with your identity in order to go through the BEST screening.

Once you go through BEST screening, visit Supplementary Security Income page on how to apply for SSI benefits.  Be sure to apply today!  SSI benefits cannot cover any time prior to your application date.  As always, feel free to contact us with any questions related to Supplementary Security Income or other disability benefits!

Supplemental Security Income At A Glance

ssiSupplemental Security Income, or SSI, is a program provided by the Social Security Administration and is available to low-income individuals who are blind, disabled, or at the age of 65 years old or older.  Unlike most SSA programs, the funds for SSI are not taken from the Social Security Trust but rather from the US Treasury.  According to the SSA government website, “it provides cash to meet the basic needs for food clothing, and shelter.”

The Basics of SSI

It is important to first pre-qualify yourself before applying for Supplemental Security Income benefits.  In doing so, you will save yourself unwanted hassle and it will most definitely save you time in the end.  There are a couple of ways that you can go about this.  A tech-savvy individual may want to visit the SSA government website and use their online testing options, but this option can be difficult. It may be much easier to speak to someone in person such as a Social Security lawyer.  Educating yourself in the beginning should always be your number one priority.

Once you have determined your eligibility then it becomes time to apply for your benefits.  You must understand that you will be required to provide details to your current financial standing as well as your past.  Once again, you will want to be prepared for this by putting together your financial documents in advance.  There is a decent amount of info that is required during the application process.

If your application is accepted you will be responsible for continuing to report your income.  The SSI is a supplemental income and there is a predetermined threshold for the amount of extra income that you bring in.  It is very important that you stay up to date and current in your reporting to the SSA.

SSI Questioned For Disabled Children

ssiRecent examination into the current Social Security program budget has begun to focus on where and how the money is spent. Not just in terms of the past program expenses, but the future expenses as well. Supplemental Security Income is reserved for those in financial need that are over the age of 65 or disabled, but lack qualification for Social Security Disability Insurance. In recent months, scrutiny has thickened over the SSI funds going towards the disabled.

Deficit-Cutting Measures

As the program currently stands, $10 billion of SSI program funds are earmarked for disabled children. While there is no doubt that there are families who depend on, and require, the assistance provided by SSI; there are a fair number of skeptics as to whether these funds should continue in the future. At a forum earlier this week in Washington, disability advocates and critics met to discuss the role of these for the future.

Arguing that deficit-filled times call for deficit-cutting measures, questions arose as to whether SSI is the best source of financial assistance for poor families of disabled children. Further points were raised about the current state of the program, comparing it to essentially a “morphed alternative welfare program”. Those supporting SSI program reform suggest that the disabilities being covered by the program’s funds are hard-to-measure behavioral, mental and learning disabilities; most of which can be easily treated or overcome through other avenues of assistance.

The controversial forum did not lead to any major decisions or declarations, as lawmakers are always hesitant to move on issues surrounding disadvantaged children. For now the idea of SSI reform has been tabled and further discussions could be revisited as the election nears this fall.





Supplemental Security Income Not Meeting The Needs of the Poor

ssiMany individuals who are not eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance instead turn to Supplemental Security Income.  Supplemental Security Income is designed for those who require disability payments, yet do not have the work credits necessary to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance.

Is It Enough?

For many Americans who are collecting Supplemental Security Income, the answer is a disheartening “no.” For example, take the case of Bill Ricker. He currently lives in Hartford, Maine, and his entire yearly income sits at $12,036. He currently lives in a trailer, that he bought in the 1980s, and spends about a third of his income each year on heat. He is too poor to afford to move and even too poor to afford many basic maintenance issues that are required on his home. Most of this money goes toward the rent on the lot where his trailer sits, food, heating, and prescription medicine.

The prevalence of fraud, when it comes to the disability programs that are offered through the United States government, needs to be rectified as soon as possible. Those who are truly disabled are often living well below the poverty line, because they are unable to work to get any other sort of income. The increasing amount of applications for both Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance are worrying for those who are already reliant on these disability programs. If these programs are not saved, Americans like Bill Ricker are the ones who will suffer the brunt of the collapse.


What Else Can Help?

ssi and food stampsParticularly if you receive Supplemental Security Income, you might be facing the reality that your income is very, very low.  The current payment rate is set at around 650 dollars per month for individuals who receive SSI, so it can be challenging to make ends meet.  If you happen to be getting payments through Supplemental Security Income, be sure to check out these other programs that might be able to help you through your life.

What Programs?

If you get SSI, you might also be eligible for the program known today as SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.  This program was also formerly known as food stamps.  Depending on the status of your household, you might be eligible for a certain amount of money dedicated to your nutritional needs every month.  For more information, check out the SNAP website.

When you get Supplemental Security Income, you are automatically eligible for Medicaid.  Depending on the state where you live, you may also be eligible for Medicare.  Sometimes your state might pay your Medicare premiums for you – so be sure to do the research on the laws and requirements in the state where you live.

You might be surprised at all the programs that are available to help you through your financial troubles if you are getting Supplemental Security Income.  It can be very challenging to make ends meet on such a low salary, but with the money from SSI and the other programs that can assist you with getting the benefits you need, you can make it work.

Student Earned Income Exclusion

ssiIf you are somebody you know is receiving Supplemental Security Income, it is important to be aware of all benefits that come along with being part of the program.  In the event that you are interested in earning some extra income while receiving Supplemental Security Income and are under the age of 22, you might be eligible for the Student Earned Income Exclusion clause of Supplemental Security Income.

What Is Student Earned Income?

If you or somebody that you know is under the age of 22 and is receiving Supplemental Security Income, and are also regularly attending school, you are eligible to have up to 1,640 a month excluded from your overall income for up to 6,600 per year.

With this exclusion, somebody who is attending school is encouraged to work while getting an education.  While the Social Security Administration understands that many people who are living with disabilities are unable to work full time, it is important to encourage individuals to work as much as possible and as much as they can.  The Student Earned Income Exclusion is one of the many programs that are in place to encourage young people to work as much as they can without risk of losing their disability payments.

There is a careful balance that needs to be struck between supporting individuals with disabilities and encouraging them to work as much as they can.  The Social Security Administration looks forward to working with young people to help further their educational and occupational goals while providing them with the benefits they need to succeed.


Supplemental Security Income and PASS

If you or somebody you know is relieving Supplemental Security Income benefits and would like to consider starting a business, you might be eligible for PASS, or Plans To Achieve Self-Support.  It’s not unusual for individuals who have been stricken with disability to consider starting their own businesses – after all, it’s a way of achieving self-support and a higher standard of living that allows the disabled person to work according to their own interests and abilities.

own businessThe Social Security Administration wants to encourage entrepreneurial disabled individuals as much as they can, and there are ways to consider receiving your Supplemental Security Income benefits while starting a business.

How Do I Start?

The first step to getting approved for a PASS is by submitting a statement outlining your business aims and goals to the Social Security Administration.  The information asked for includes the following:

  • The job or business itself (your work goal)
  • the steps you will take and the things you will need in order to achieve your work goal (for example:  education or training, transportation, child care, or assistive technology);
  • the money you will use to pay for these things (this may be any income or assets, such as social security benefits, wages from a current job, or savings); and
  • A timetable for achieving your goal.

With this information, you can begin your conversation with the Social Security Administration about your eligibility for PASS.  But the Social Security Administration is all about helping individuals get back into the workforce should they desire – and if you have the desire to work, they’ll help you do it!


Supplemental Security Income: Earned Income Exclusion

social-security-checkIf you or somebody that you know is receiving benefits from Supplemental Security Income, you might be wondering about the possibility of work while receiving these benefits.  After all, in the case of Supplemental Security Income, the amount of money that is given out is not very high – it is intended only to provide enough money for the most basic necessities.  It’s not intended to be able to provide for a luxurious lifestyle.

Can I Work?

The short answer is yes!  In fact, the Social Security Administration is very keen to have individuals who are receiving both Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance to get back out into the workforce.  There is a great strain on both of these programs, and helping individuals who could possibly be able to get back out into the workforce, even in a lesser capacity, is a priority.

Even though the Social Security Administration is eager to help people work, it also understands that not everybody is able to work a full-time schedule.  In order to both help people get back to work in whatever capacity they can while recognizing the need for recipients of Supplemental Security Income to continue receiving benefits, there is the earned income exclusion rule.  Essentially, if you make fewer than 65 dollars a month, this does not count against your income.  If you make over 65 dollars a month, one out of every two dollars is counted against your income.

In this way, you can work to your abilities while receiving Supplemental Security Income.  Be sure to look into work incentive programs and see what they can offer you and your loved ones!


Improperly Reported Assets

ssiIf you are on Supplemental Security Income, you might be aware of the parameters of the program and what is required of individuals to continue receiving payments on these programs.  However, if you are not, here are the stats: the main difference between Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance is that Supplemental Security Income is meant as a safety net for those who have long-standing disabilities that have permanently affected their ability to work.

What’s Assets Got To Do With It?

SSDI is meant for those who have worked and put money into the Social Security administration for at least 10 years worth of time.  Supplemental Security Income is mostly for those who have never been able to work.  It is definitely not a small program: payments under SSI in the current fiscal year are expected to go to more than 6.8 million people and cost more than $53 billion. In 2000, payments totaling $24 billion went to 5.1 million people.

In order to revitalize the program and prevent it from going bankrupt, many politicians are working toward making recipients of Supplemental Security Income properly report their assets.  It has been estimated that $4 billion in overpayments went to SSI recipients who did not properly report assets.

If you or somebody that you love is a recipient of Supplemental Security Income, be sure that you report your assets to their fullest extent.  Failure to do so can result in problems or even the loss of your benefits as regulations crack down – so be prepared to provide the government with a full accounting of your monetary worth!

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