Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a welfare-based Social Security Administration disability program that disabled people can apply for in all 50 states. SSI is based on a person’s limited income and resources as well as their disabilities. While SSI requirements are generally similar in all states across the nation, there can be slight differences in each state. If you live in California and are applying for SSI, here is what you need to know.
The first thing you should find out is if you are technically eligible for Supplemental Security Income. When you apply, Social Security determines your technical eligibility before sending your case to be medically reviewed. Your income and resources need to be below a certain limit if you want to be considered for this program. As of 2011, the monthly SSI limitation in California for income is $1,000 for an individual and $1,640 for a blind individual. Social Security will need to know exactly how much income you and your spouse have coming in and from what source. Regarding resources, you are allowed to have up to $2,000 in resources if you are single and up to $3,000 for a couple.
Determining resources can be confusing at times. For example, certain things do not count against you as a resource, such as one vehicle. However, if you or your family own more than one car, that second vehicle will be included as a resource. The home you live in does not count as an asset, but if you own more than one home or another piece of property, that will counted against you for SSI. Burial plots are not considered a resource. However, almost anything else you or your family has- including bank accounts, extra vehicles, including mobile homes and boats, and insurance policies, will be included by Social Security as a resource. SSI is catered for those who are disabled and in an extremely dire financial need.
Those people in California who are awarded SSI monthly benefits will receive up to a certain amount. The Federal Benefit Rate for California, or the highest amount that you can receive, is $845 for an individual and $ 1,407 for a couple. It is slightly higher for blind individuals- $908 for an individual and $ 1,554.20 for a blind couple. Additionally, people who are awarded will also received Medi-Cal (called Medicaid in all other states). Medi-Cal is a free medical insurance policy program that kicks in as soon as you are awarded. It is also important to note that people living in California cannot receive Food Stamps if they have been awarded SSI. This is because the state has already awarded this amount to their federal SSI payments. However, a claimant can apply and receive Food Stamps while in the process of applying for SSI.
If you are considering applying for Supplemental Security Income, having a disability lawyer on your side is the best way to ensure that no mistakes are made on your claim from the beginning. They will keep up with all Social Security requests and paperwork regarding your SSI case.