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What are the requirements to receive SSI benefits?

Those in Los Angeles who have medical issues that are rendering them unable to work and put them in need of personal and financial assistance might not be aware that they have the option of filing for Supplemental Security Income. If they meet the eligibility requirements, they might be approved and get the SSI benefits they need. Before moving forward, however, it is imperative that you understand the criteria to make certain that applying for SSI benefits is the right choice.

To be eligible for SSI, it is necessary to be 65-years-old or older, blind or disabled. The applicant must also

  • have a limited amount of income, and limited resources,
  • be a citizen of the United States, a U.S. national or fall into certain categories of aliens,
  • be a resident of one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia or the Northern Mariana Islands,
  • must not be out of the country for a full calendar month or for 30 or more days in a row,
  • is not institutionalized in a prison or hospital at the expense of the government,
  • has not applied for other benefits,
  • gives permission to the Social Security Administration to contact financial institutions to garner their records
  • files an application for SSI
  • and meets other requirements

When the determination is made whether or not the "blindness" aspect is met, the vision must measure 20/200 or worse in the better eye when using corrective lenses. Alternatively, there must be a limited field of vision in the better eye so that the angle is no better than 20 degrees.

The limited income aspect means that the amount cannot surpass a certain level. Income will include money earned from work, money earned from other sources like workers' compensation, unemployment, Social Security, friends or relatives, the Department of Veterans Affairs and food and shelter assistance. Resources that are counted include land, vehicles, bank accounts and assets, personal properties, insurance policies and anything that could be traded for provide food and shelter.

SSI benefits are in place to help those who meet these requirements. It is a reasonable option for a large number of people who are in need. When considering applying for SSI benefits, it is important to understand the process. Mistakes can lead to a denial of benefits for an otherwise viable application. Speaking to a legal professional with experience in helping clients receive SSI benefits is the first step.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Eligibility Requirements," accessed on Aug. 4, 2015

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