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SSI: the other disability program administered by the SSA

When a disability prevents someone from being able to find or keep a job, paying for medical treatment and everyday costs can be very difficult. There are a lot of different sources that people can turn to for assistance. While there are a wide variety of solutions, eligibility standards aren’t the same across the board.

Workers’ compensation is one source, but in these cases the disabling injury must have been suffered while on the job. An employer may provide short-term disability or an individual may have purchased long-term disability coverage. Then there are the benefits that are administered by the Social Security Administration.

The SSA administers three benefit programs: Social Security, Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income. The latter two programs provide assistance to those with a disability, but where SSDI is based on work credits, SSI is a need-based program.

President Richard Nixon put his signature on Public Law 92-603 in 1972, which put the SSI program that is funded by general tax revenues in place. Children and adults may be eligible for these benefits, but there are no automatic benefits for other members of the family.

Maximum federal benefit amounts are currently set at $721 per individual and $1,082 per couple, effective as of January. These amounts are not guaranteed and may be adjusted based on different sources of income. For instance, a Social Security benefit may reduce a monthly SSI payment. However, not all types of income will lower a payment. Working is encouraged, and so a percentage of wages may not be considered.

Although this is a federal program, state programs may supplement the maximum amounts set by the federal government. Those with a disability don’t want to leave any money on the table, which is why individuals in Wilmington should consult with a SSD attorney to determine what benefits they may qualify for in North Carolina.

Source: Farm Forum, “Supplemental Security Income explained,” Howard I. Kossover, May 23, 2014

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