Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income in Illinois can provide people who have disabilities with income and benefits that can improve their quality of life. Some people who have disabling conditions that are expected to last at least 12 months or end in death do not qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits because they do not have enough work credits. For these people, filing for Supplemental Security Income may be an option.
What Is Supplemental Security Income?
Supplemental Security Income in Illinois, also referred to as SSI, is a federal benefit program created to provide resources for people who are elderly, blind, or have a disabling condition and who have little to no income or assets. This need-based program is similar to Social Security disability insurance (SSDI), but it is funded through general taxes not Social Security taxes. The benefits available through SSI are intended to provide for basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. Those who receive other Social Security benefits may also be eligible for SSI benefits.
Applying for Supplemental Security Income in Illinois
Establishing your eligibility for SSI benefits is two-fold. First, you must demonstrate your general eligibility for the program because of your age, disability, or blindness. In general, you qualify for these benefits if:
- You are totally blind or have very bad eyesight (20/200 vision in the best eye with correction) or,
- You are an adult who is unable to work because of a severe physical or mental disability or,
- You have a child whose disability prevents him or her from leading a normal life or,
- You are 65 years old or older
Next, you must demonstrate your financial eligibility to qualify for Supplemental Security Income in Illinois. There are numerous rules that determine whether a claimant is financially qualified to receive SSI benefits. The Social Security Administration will consider your resources (assets and property you own) and income. Some types of resources and income are not counted for eligibility purposes, however. These include:
- The value of your primary residence, regardless of the value
- Your car’s value if the vehicle is used as transportation to your job, to obtain medical treatment, for a person with a disabling condition, or for daily activities.
- The value of your car up to $4,500
- Grants and scholarships for education expenses
- Government assistance
- Income tax refunds
- Assistance from charities and non-profit organizations
Since the Social Security Administration imposes strict regulations with regard to filing deadlines and the information that must be submitted when you apply, figuring out whether you qualify for SSI benefits and going through the application and appeals process can be challenging. Hiring an experienced disability attorney to assist you with your SSI claim can make the process much easier, and can significantly improve your chances of receiving benefits. Your lawyer will be able to help you gather medical records and other evidence to prove you have a qualifying disability, evaluate your income and assets to make sure you are eligible for SSI, ensure you meet the deadlines for filing appeals if your claim is denied, and present your case before the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) if a hearing is necessary.
At Ankin Law, our attorneys are experienced in handling both SSDI and SSI claims. Our law firm can help you whether you are filing an initial application or appealing a denied claim. We serve clients throughout Illinois including Cook, DuPage, Lake, Will, McHenry, LaSalle, Kankakee, McLean and Peoria counties. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.