Houston Social Security
Disability Attorney

Photo of David Dopkin
Photo of David Dopkin

SSI is a valuable resource for those who’ve never worked

On Behalf of | Jul 31, 2020 | Supplemental Security Income

Social Security is a critical social and financial safety net that helps protect individuals in the United States from poverty related to age or medical conditions. However, given that many people don’t need Social Security benefits until they retire, there is plenty of misinformation floating around on the benefits available.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) reviews applications for multiple kinds of benefits. Many people specifically think of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) when they think of Social Security benefits. However, those who may not qualify for SSDI could still potentially benefit from another benefit program managed by the SSA known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Who qualifies for SSI?

When it comes to SSDI benefits, only those who have worked enough months and accrued substantial contributions to Social Security via tax withholdings have the option of applying for and receiving those benefits. Individuals who have never been able to work because of a lifelong or acquired condition won’t qualify for SSDI.

However, that doesn’t mean they are simply left without any kind of help. SSI is a benefit available for anyone in the United States, including those who have made no payroll contributions whatsoever or who made insufficient contributions to qualify for SSDI.

In addition to protecting those with lifelong disabilities or those who acquired a disability before they were old enough to work, SSI also helps the elderly, the blind and those with no means of supporting themselves as adults because of a disability.

What benefits does SSI offer for applicants?

SSI is a financial assistance program that allows approved applicants to receive monthly financial benefits, up to a routinely-adjusted maximum amount. The current maximum benefit is $738 per month for an individual and $1,175 for a couple.

Not everyone gets the maximum benefit. The SSA will look at your income, ranging from paid work, reduced-cost services, and even gifts or support from family and friends when deciding how much to award someone in SSI.

Texas is among the states that offer a state-managed supplement to federal SSI benefits to qualifying recipients. However, that supplement is relatively small and typically only accessible to those living in a nursing home. The more you know about these benefits, the better prepared you’ll be to advocate for yourself as an applicant.