How do you know if you qualify for Supplemental Security Income?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program offered through the Federal government. It's funded by the general tax revenues and doesn't come from the Social Security taxes paid each year.

Unlike Social Security, Supplemental Security Income is designed to boost the income of those who are aged, disabled or blind. These individuals must meet the eligibility requirements and primarily have little or no income. This income is provided to help individuals with their basic needs, like food, shelter and clothing.

To qualify, individuals take a screening test through the Social Security Administration (SSA). This tool is called the Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool (BEST). It's not an application, but it will help individuals understand if they can qualify for SSI.

Some people may believe that if they're already receiving Social Security Disability (SSD) or Medicaid that they won't qualify for SSI. That's not true, in fact, needing SSD or Medicaid may be a sign that you could be eligible for SSI.

The point of SSI is to help boost your income. It adds a portion of income on top of disability benefits in some cases, which helps you afford more of what you need. If you think you qualify for SSI, your attorney can help you take the BEST test and begin the application process. If you've already taken the BEST test, you may wish to take your results to your attorney to discuss them. Even if you don't qualify when taking the test, it's a good idea to have someone review your case to see if there is a way to help you qualify.

Source: Social Security Administration, "What Is Supplemental Security Income?," accessed July 18, 2017

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