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What is SSI? The acronym stands for Supplemental Security Income. SSI is a Federal program that pays benefits to:

  • Seniors (65 or older)
  • Individuals with a disability
  • People who are blind
  • Children who are disabled and blind

But just falling into one of those groups isn’t necessarily enough to be eligible for SSI disability benefits. Because the program is designed to assist those with limited resources or income, you also have to be able to show that you have non-exempt resources under $2,000 (or $3,000 for a couple) and that you meet the stringent income limitations.  Additionally, you have to meet several other SSI eligibility requirements.

What Is SSI Eligibility? Know the Requirements

Unless you are 65 or older, qualifying for SSI isn’t very straightforward. To meet the definition of “disabled,” you have to be able to show that your “medically-determinable” physical and/or mental condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least a year or will result in your death, and prevents you from engaging in substantial gainful activity.

As mentioned above,  you also have to prove that you have limited income and resources, have exhausted  other options to gain income (Social Security, pensions, and so on), are not confined in a prison or hospital paid for by the government, and that you are a citizen of the U.S., a national, or in a certain category of aliens.  And, of course, you have to file an application and give SSA permission to look into all of your financial documents.

As you can see, asking “what is SSI?” is just the beginning of a conversation on how to get SSI benefits for yourself. An experienced Chicago disability lawyer can help you through the entire process, but if you’re not ready to take that step, our free resources page has answers to many common questions, and you can stay up to date on the latest information by subscribing to our newsletter.