Supplemental Security Income
What is Supplemental Security Income?
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program intended for individuals with limited resources or income, to ease the burden of certain health expenses. Children with major health conditions may also qualify.
It is calculated based on the assets and wages of a person and their family in comparison to the expenses they require.
Supplemental Security Income applications cannot be submitted online, but an interview may be performed over the phone or in person.
Rights & Responsibilities Under Supplemental Security Income
Both the federal government and the state of Rhode Island provide Supplementary Security Income (SSI) to blind or disabled persons with limited income and resources. This monthly payment is essential to the survival of individuals who cannot work. If you receive Supplemental Security Income benefits, you should be aware of your rights and responsibilities under the Supplemental Security Income program in order to ensure that you continue to receive the monthly benefits to which you are entitled.
Right to Apply with Assistance
All U.S. citizens have the right to apply for Supplemental Security Income benefits free of charge. Every person does not have the right to receive benefits, however, and your payments are not guaranteed if your circumstances change.
You have the right to assistance throughout the application process and during any subsequent appeals. You also have the right to receive help from the SSA in filling out the forms or requesting the information necessary to complete your application.
If you choose, you may have someone assist you in filling out the claim forms, and you may have that person go with you to the SSA office for visits. You can choose to be represented by a person who may or may not be an attorney. You are entitled to an interpreter if English is not your first language.
Right to View Your File
The SSA will keep a file of the documentation you submitted with your claim and any subsequent documentation, such as medical records. You have the right to view the information in your file and request copies of the written laws or statutes used to decide your claim.
Right to Question the SSA’s Decision
Finally, you have the right to receive a letter from the SSA that will explain your benefits and what you will be paid. If you do not agree with the benefit decision, you have the right to appeal it.
Responsibility to Report Changes in Income or Address
In exchange for these rights, you have certain important responsibilities. Mainly, you are responsible for informing the SSA of any changes to your circumstances after you begin receiving benefits. Failure to fulfill these responsibilities can lead to the SSA and the state of Rhode Island stopping or reducing your monthly benefits.
You must notify the SSA if you or someone in your household has had a change in income, earnings or resources. You must notify the SSA if you begin receiving additional help with living expenses from family or friends. People receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits are required to notify the SSA if they become eligible for any additional benefit payments or programs.
Because Supplemental Security Income benefits are dependent upon you and your household’s income, you must notify the SSA if the makeup of your household changes. This includes notifying the SSA if you get married, separated or divorced and advising them of any changes in your name. The SSA should be notified if a new person moves into your household or if a household member moves out or dies.
The SSA must always have your current address. You are required to notify them if you move or change your mailing address or if you leave the United States.
You are also required to notify the SSA if you enter or leave an institution (such as jail, nursing home or hospital) or if you begin or leave school. You are also required to inform the SSA of any changes to your immigration status or if you receive a warrant for your arrest.
Responsibility to Report Changes in Your Disability
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, you must notify the SSA if your disability changes or improves. Failure to notify the SSA that you are no longer disabled could result in fraud or criminal charges, and you would be required to pay back any Supplemental Security Income benefits that you were not owed.
If you have trouble receiving benefits to which you are entitled, contact Rob Levine & Associates. Our attorneys can determine your rightful benefits and help keep you in compliance with your Supplemental Security Incomebenefit rules.
Children and SSI
The Supplemental Security Income program pays benefits to children or adults who qualify with medical or mental impairments. The Social Security Administration (SSA) provides SSI payments only to those whose medical or mental impairments fit within their guidelines. The SSA uses the Listing of Impairments as a standardized means to determine which conditions are and which are not eligible. Many common health conditions are included in the Listing of Impairments, which also provides guidance on debilitating symptoms and complications that must be present with the medical condition.
Below is an overview of some of the more common medically determinable conditions that are eligible for SSI:
- malignant neoplastic diseases or cancer (including of the lungs, liver, kidney, breast, brain, skin, bone, blood and many other forms of the disease – the SSA not only takes the effects of the cancer into account, but also the impact of the treatment, such as fatigue and illness caused by chemotherapy.);
- severe psoriasis;
- heart failure or other cardiac disease and impairments;
- multiple sclerosis;
- Bullous Disease;
- Growth Impairment;
- bipolar disorder;
- obesity (provided there is evidence of associated debilitating conditions and symptoms);
- chronic back pain;
- rheumatoid arthritis;
- cerebral palsy;
- Parkinson’s disease;
- loss of hearing;
- loss of vision;
- liver disease;
- irritable bowel disease;
- spinal disorders;
- schizophrenia; and
- certain rare and debilitating diseases and syndromes (such as Marfan syndrome and Sjogren’s syndrome);
- gastric feeding tubes;
- liver transplant;
- joint dysfunction.
You cannot simply claim that your child has an eligible medical condition without providing sufficient proof of the impairment. This evidence should include doctor and clinician statements, medical testing results (MRI, EKG, X-rays, blood tests, etc.) and treatment history. All medical documentation must originate from a qualified source, such as an approved medical professional.
Take advantage of our office’s free case evaluations to learn more from our team. Call us or complete our online evaluation form.