At Disability Attorneys of Arizona, our practice is dedicated to helping disabled individuals obtain disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA). Even if you have never worked and have not paid into the Social Security system, you may still be eligible for benefits known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Qualifying for SSI is challenging, however, which makes it essential to have an experienced disability attorney at your side. When you consult with us, we will help determine if you qualify for these vital public benefits, and, if so, guide you through the claims process. We offer free consultations, and there is never a fee until we obtain benefits for you. Contact our Phoenix office today to get started.
Qualifying for SSI in Arizona
Under SSA guidelines, you may qualify for SSI, if you are disabled, over the age of 65, or blind; however, there are strict income and asset limits.
SSI Income Limits
In 2022, an individual who earns up to $841 per month ($1,261 for a couple) may be eligible for SSI. The income limit is based on the federal benefit rate or FBR; your monthly income cannot exceed the FBR, which is adjusted annually if there is a Social Security cost of living adjustment.
The SSA considers several sources of “countable” income when calculating the SSI income limit, such as:
- Earned income – earnings that result from performing work
- Unearned income – payments from other sources such as a pension, alimony, child support, or the benefit programs (e.g. Veterans benefits)
- In-kind income – benefits from a nongovernmental entity such as living rent-free with a relative
- Deemed income – a portion of the income earned by a spouse or other household members
It is also important to note that the SSA only considers a portion of your income when determining countable income, which means you may still qualify for SSI if your income is greater than the monthly limit.
Also, certain income and benefits are excluded from the SSA’s determination, such as:
- $20 per month of unearned income
- $65 per month of earned income
- Medical care
- SNAP benefits
- Housing and home energy assistance
- Reimbursed expenses from a social services agency
- Food stamps
- Housing or home energy assistance
As you can see, determining whether you meet the income qualifications for SSI can be tricky, which makes it wise to work with a capable disability attorney.
SSI Asset Limits
SSI is only available to those with limited financial resources. Generally, the asset limit is $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a married couple. The SSA considers the following resources in its calculation:
- Checking/savings accounts
- Cash value in life insurance policies greater than $1,500
- Stocks and bonds
- Household goods and personal effects greater than $2,000
- Motor vehicles, (more than one)
- Real estate (non-owner occupied)
However, certain assets are excluded from the SSI resource limit, such as:
- A home – principal residence only
- One motor vehicle
- Wedding rings/engagement rings
- Income set aside for SSI “PASS” savings
- Earned income tax credit payments
- Child tax credit payments
- State or local relocation assistance payments
- Grants, scholarships, fellowships, or gifts for tuition and educational expenses
- Burial Savings
In sum, if your resources exceed the asset limit, you will not qualify for SSI
Why You Need a Disability Attorney
Because qualifying for SSI is challenging, and because initial claims are frequently denied, it takes an experienced attorney who understands the income and asset limits to. At Disability Attorneys of Arizona, we will provide you with knowledge, compassion, and the personal attention you deserve.
Once we determine that you qualify for SSI, we will handle all the details of your benefits claim:
- Completing and filing your SSI application
- Working with your doctor to produce the medical record
- Handling all communications with the SSA
- Filling a disability appeal, if necessary
- Representing you during the disability hearing
Although benefit claims are frequently denied, don’t worry. Our attorneys have established working relationships with disability examiners who know that we only represent clients who have valid disability claims. We have the skills and determination to guide you through the appeals process and have handled hundreds of disability hearings.
You should know that a disability hearing is not like a formal court hearing. Instead, it is an informal meeting with an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) who is typically an attorney appointed by the SSA to handle these matters. Above all, we will work to ensure that you meet the income and asset limits for SSI and that your claim is handled professionally and expediently.
Contact Disability Attorneys of Arizona Today
Whether you need assistance with filing a claim for SSI or a disability appeal, trust our experienced disability attorneys to get you the benefits you deserve. Contact us today for your free consultation.