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Supplemental Security Income

What is Supplemental Security Income and Do I Qualify?

People who are unable to work due to a disability have options through federal programs, such as Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The main difference between the two is that SSI is a needs-based assistance program, and recipients are generally individuals whose disabilities have prevented them from ever working.

Applying for SSI benefits can be a bureaucratic nightmare. Applying for federal benefits of any kind is rarely an easy task, but SSI applications are especially time-consuming and complex due to the nature of the request; people who have never entered the workforce - or who haven’t worked much in their lives - are requesting money from the government…and the government doesn’t want to make the process an easy one. But with the help of a skilled Massachusetts SSI attorney, you can dramatically improve your chances of getting the benefits you deserve in a timely manner. At Altman & Altman, LLP, we will ensure that your claim documents both your disability and your financial need thoroughly, and to the Social Security Administration’s satisfaction.

Do I Qualify?

SSI benefits are distributed in the form of monthly payments to low income individuals with disabilities. The purpose of SSI is to help recipients cover basic needs, such as food, shelter, and clothing. The following eligibility requirements must be met in order to qualify:

  • The applicant’s disability must prevent them from working.
  • The applicant’s disability must be expected to last at least one year or result in death.
  • or
  • The applicant must be totally or partially blind.
  • or
  • The applicant must be at least 65-years old.
  • and
  • The applicant’s financial resources may not exceed $2,000, or $3,000 if married.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer to Apply for SSI?

In order to be deemed eligible for benefits, you are required to fill out multiple forms, prove income and financial resources, and provide medical records proving that you do, in fact, have a mental or physical disability. Medical records must show that your condition matches one of the eligible impairments in the Social Security Administration’s “Listing of Impairments.” If records aren’t an exact match, you can still get an approval, but without the help of a skilled Boston SSI lawyer, your chances of success are significantly reduced. Further, if your initial application is denied, which they often are, an attorney can help you navigate the lengthy and complicated appeals process.

Appeals Process

If your application is denied, you have four chances to appeal the decision. The four levels of appeals are as follows:

  • Reconsideration: A claims examiner who did not participate in the initial examination of your claim will provide a new review during the reconsideration phase. If necessary, you may add information to the initial application at this stage.
  • Hearing: If the reconsideration is unsuccessful, you will have the opportunity to request a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ). At this hearing, you will be permitted to present witnesses, such as medical experts, who may support your case.
  • Appeals Council Review: If the ALJ denies your appeal, you may request to have the Social Security Administration’s Appeals Council review your case. You can no longer submit additional evidence at this point, and the Council may deny your request, conduct the review, or return your case to the ALJ.
  • District Court Case: Following the decision of the Appeals Council, you have one final opportunity to pursue your claim. In this phase, you must file a lawsuit against the Social Security Administration.

In each of the four levels of appeals, having a knowledgeable attorney by your side can make all the difference in the world.

Altman & Altman, LLP - SSI Lawyers Serving All of Massachusetts

If you are unable to work due to a long-term disability, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help you determine if a program such as SSI or Social Security Disability is available to you. During this difficult time, the last thing you need is the added stress of government bureaucracy and legal complications. We can help. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.

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