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Understanding if you qualify for SSI benefits

When individuals hear Social Security benefits, it is likely they think about the government program in which individuals must pay into in order to receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits should they later need them.

But not every one who needs financial assistance because of a disability is eligible for this program. This is often because they have not earned enough work credits by holding a job. But when a disabling injury or illness makes it impossible to work, individuals in Tampa need help meeting their basic needs.

For those that do not qualify for SSDI benefits, it is possible to obtain Supplement Security Income. SSI is a federal program that is designed to provide monthly payments to individuals that have limited income and few resources to get by yet are disabled.. An applicant is approved from SSI benefits, based on the 2017 national average, an individual is expected to receive $735 a month while a couple is expected receive around $1,103 a month.

Additionally, in order to qualify for SSI benefits, an applicant's income and the things they own will be assessed. With regards to income, this includes the money an applicant earns, the Social Security benefits they receive already, their pension and the value of items obtained from someone else, which includes food and shelter. If the items an applicant owns is worth no more than $2,000, he or she will most likely qualify for benefits. Things that are looks at are bank accounts, stock and bond. It should be noted that a house is typically not counted if the applicant owns it, and cars are usually not counted either.

Seeking SSI benefits can be a complex process. Additionally, an applicant might initially be denied benefits. This should not deter an applicant, however, because there are opportunities to appeal the decision. Because the process can have many steps and working parts, it is important to fully understand what options you have and what rights you are afforded.

Source: Ssa.gov, "You May Be Able to Get Supplemental Security Income (SSI)," accessed March 4, 2017

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