Like Social Security Disability (SSD), the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is designed to help people who are unable to earn enough money to support themselves. One difference between the two is that SSI benefits are for a more specific group of people who have very limited financial resources, and who have blindness, certain disabilities, or who are 65 years and older. But just like SSD benefits, people who qualify for SSI cannot necessarily get their benefits right away.
In some cases, however, the Social Security Administration will make SSI payments quicker than normal. For example, if a person has a "presumptive disability" or "presumptive blindness," he or she may qualify for expedited SSI payments. A number of different conditions can qualify a person under either of these categories. Presumptive blindness, for instance, may be supported by an allegation that people have total blindness, which means that they have no light perception in either one of their eyes.
Like presumptive blindness, a presumptive disability occurs where the person has some kind of extraordinary disability like a leg amputation. Conditions such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy or muscular atrophy can also rise to the level of a presumptive disability and thus qualify a person for expedited SSI benefits.
Even if a person's condition qualifies him or her for expedited SSI, those payments can only extend for up to six months, while Disability Determination Services (DDS) makes a final decision on the person's eligibility for longer term SSI benefits. If DDS ultimately denies benefits, the person will no longer receive SSI, but would not have to repay the expedited benefit payments that he or she already received.
Like SSD and other Social Security programs, SSI has many nuances that can be tricky to navigate. If people in Houston think that they should qualify for SSI, they should research all of these issues and understand their legal options for getting help with benefits.
Source: SSA.gov, "Understanding Supplemental Security Income Expedited Payments -- 2016 Edition," Accessed on Dec. 13, 2016