The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides monthly cash benefits to low-income, low asset individuals under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. Applying for SSI benefits is a complicated, lengthy process, however, and most applicants must wait several months before they receive their first payment — provided that their benefits claim is approved. The good news is that the SSA makes temporary benefits available for certain disabilities during the claims review process that is referred to as presumptive disability benefits.
The best way to protect your rights to SSI benefits is to consult Disability Attorneys of Arizona. Our social security disability law firm is knowledgeable in the eligibility requirements for presumptive disability benefits and highly regarded for being dedicated advocates of the disabled. When you become our client, you will have peace of mind knowing that your welfare is our primary concern.
How Does SSI Work?
SSI disability benefits are available to individuals who are disabled, over the age of 65, or blind, as well as children under the age of 18 who have a qualifying medical impairment. Unlike like benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance program, SSI recipients need not have worked during their lifetime or paid into the Social Security system. They must have a medical condition that prevents them from working and supporting themselves financially, however. Finally, SSI is subject to strict income and asset limits and SSA limits the total amount of resources to $2,000 for individuals and $3,000 for married couples.
Am I eligible for presumptive disability benefits?
SSA is authorized to grant immediate SSI payments, or presumptive disability when it is convinced the claimant’s case will be approved because certain disabilities presume approval for SSI. Medical impairments that qualify as a presumptive disability include:
- Amputation of two limbs
- Amputation of one leg at the hip
- Total blindness
- Total deafness
- Spinal cord injury resulting in an inability to walk without a walker or similar assistive device
- Stroke, longer than 3 months prior to applying, resulting in difficulty walking or using a hand or arm
- Cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, or muscular atrophy that requires the use of an assistive device such as a wheelchair
- Symptomatic HIV infection or AIDS
- Down syndrome
- Confinement to bed or required use of a wheelchair due to a longstanding condition
- Severe mental deficiency (individuals 7 years or older)
- Parenting a baby 6 months of age or younger with a birth weight of less than 1200 grams
- End-stage renal (kidney) disease
- Severe prematurity
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease
- Being in hospice care, with 6 months or less to live
It is important to note that presumptive disability benefits are only available to new SSI claimants who meet the means test of income and resources. Presumptive disability payments will be made for 6 months. If the SSA has not made a decision about the claim within this time period, the presumptive disability payments will end. Even if the SSA presumes you are disabled, your claim for SSI may still be denied if you do not meet the means test. If the SSA denies your SSI claim, you are not responsible for repaying any presumptive disability benefits you may have received.
How do I obtain presumptive disability benefits?
You can apply for presumptive disability benefits when you submit your initial SSI application. Depending on the circumstances, a presumptive disability determination may be made in the SSA field office or by Disability Determination Services, the SSA agency that makes disability benefits determinations. While an examiner in the field office may require additional medical confirmation about the disability, DDS can also make presumptive disability determinations for impairments that are medically equivalent to a listed presumptive disability.
Other Benefit Options for Individuals with Presumptive Disabilities
In addition to expedited disability payments, individuals with a presumptive disability may also be eligible for Medicaid. In fact, Medicaid is available even without applying for SSI. Finally, the SSA also has other expedited disability benefit programs, such as:
- Compassionate allowance — available for many types of cancer and certain other illnesses that can be easily diagnosed and assessed
- Terminal Illness Program (TERI) — available to individuals with terminal illnesses or who are in hospice care
- Quick Disability Determination — disability cases are quickly determined through an SSA software program
Regardless of whether you are seeking SSI, presumptive disability benefits, Medicaid, or any other expedited disability benefits, having proper legal representation is key to navigating the bureaucracy of SSA and obtaining the benefits you deserve.
Contact Our Arizona Presumptive Disability Attorney
When you engage the services of Arizona Disability Attorneys, you will receive the first-rate representation you need and the personal attention you deserve. If you are seeking SSI benefits, we can help determine whether you have a qualifying presumptive disability and make sure your payments are expedited. We understand the overwhelming emotional and financial burdens of your situation and will offer you a supportive environment where you can focus on healing. Please contact our office today to speak with our disability benefits attorneys.