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SSI eligibility requirements don't have to be a mystery -- II

Last time, we started discussing how the eligibility requirements for Supplemental Security Income benefits can likely prove mystifying to many Americans, a reality that is not only frustrating, but also counter-productive given that it may cause people to abandon their efforts to secure much-needed financial assistance.

In today's post, our blog will continue its efforts to provide background information on the basic qualifications for adults looking to secure SSI benefits.

To recap, the Social Security Administration indicates that SSI benefits are available to those U.S. citizens who are "aged, blind or disabled," and who have "limited income, and limited resources."

While we demonstrated how this first set of eligibility requirements is far from straightforward last time, what about the second set of requirements?

As it turns out, there is also more than meets the eye when it comes to these terms:

  • Limited income: The SSA will consider the money earned from employment, money secured via other sources (i.e., work comp, Social Security benefits, unemployment, money from friends/family, veterans benefits), and even shelter and food received gratis when assessing eligibility.
  • Limited resources: The SSA will consider cash, land, personal property, life insurance, bank accounts, savings bonds, retirement accounts, and anything that theoretically could be sold for cash and used to cover living expenses when assessing eligibility.

While it's important to understand that the SSA will not necessarily count all our your income and resources against you, it may nevertheless end up counting more than you anticipate and this, in turn, will see your potential SSI benefit amount reduced.

Given the complex nature of the SSI program, especially its eligibility requirements, those with questions or concerns should give serious consideration to speaking with an experienced legal professional who can answer all of their questions and help them form a plan of action.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Understanding Supplemental Security Income eligibility requirements -- 2014 Edition," Accessed March 18, 2015

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