Individuals with disabilities overcome face and overcome many challenges, but getting the Social Security benefits they deserve should not be one of them. If you are disabled and living in California, the disability professionals at Sackett and Associates know the application process for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits can be overwhelming unless you know what to expect and how to prepare for it.
This blog explains everything you need to know about the process to apply for SSI in California. It also describes how SSI works, including the eligibility guidelines and benefits, along with essential information about how Sackett Law can be of assistance.
What is SSI?
The SSI program is an assistance program for individuals for disabled individuals or anyone aged 65 or older provided the applicants have limited income and resources. The program is jointly administered and funded by the states and the federal government to provide eligible individuals with the ability to meet basic needs for food, shelter, and clothing.
It’s important not to confuse SSI with the Social Security Disability Insurance program, which also is administered through the Social Security Administration. SSDI applicants must have a work history to be eligible. The SSI program does not require a work history for eligibility.
Eligibility Guidelines For SSI
To qualify for benefits through SSI, you must meet federal and state eligibility requirements. The basic conditions set by the federal government apply in all states. Each state can include its requirements as long as they do not conflict with the general requirements of the federal government, which include the following:
- You must be 65 or older, but people of any age, including children, may qualify if they are blind or disabled, as federal regulations define those terms.
- You must have limited income and resources or assets that you own cannot have a total value over $2,000 for an individual or $3,000 for married couples that reside together.
- You must be a citizen or national residing in the United States or the Northern Mariana Islands. Noncitizens may qualify for SSI provided they live in the U.S.
Not all income and resources count toward determining SSI eligibility. Before you apply for disability, speak to a Sackett Law disability lawyer who can review the eligibility guidelines for SSI and SSDI to select the program or programs that you should apply to for benefits.
How To Apply For SSI In California
Before filling out an application, take time to locate the documents you’ll need to prove the following:
- Date of birth and citizenship or immigration status.
- If applying for SSI based on a disability or blindness, have medical records and other documents to prove it.
- Names and contact information for treating physicians and other health care providers.
- Income and resource documentation, including bank and financial statements, leases or rental agreements, and mortgage statements.
- Documents to prove your work history if you are employed or were employed in the past.
There may be additional documents that you’ll need, so schedule a free consultation at Sackett Law to learn more about what you need to complete and support your application when you apply for SSI.
Benefits Available Through SSI In California
The monthly SSI or federal benefit rate is $914 for an individual and $1,371 for eligible couples in 2023. However, some states, including California, supplement the FBR with a state-funded payment. In California, the state supplement increases the monthly payment for an individual to $1,133.73 and $1,927.62 for eligible couples in 2023.
If you qualify for SSI benefits in California, you usually qualify for Medicaid without completing a separate application. The medical assistance program in California is Medi-Cal. Other programs offered to SSI beneficiaries in California include the following:
- The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly called food stamps, is CalFresh in California. You may apply for the program at any Social Security office.
- A financial allowance to blind or disabled SSI recipients for service dogs is available in California through county health and human services offices throughout the state.
- SSI beneficiaries may qualify for personal care or domestic services if they meet specific criteria. Information is available in California at county health or human services offices.
The disability professionals at Sackett Law can review the benefits available if you are approved for SSI benefits.
How Can A Disability Lawyer Help With SSI?
People living in Northern California have trusted the disability lawyers at Sackett Law for 44 years. We provide outstanding advice and representation in disability matters. We do it all, from helping you to apply for disability in California to aggressively fighting for the benefits you deserve through the appeal process. Contact Sackett and Associates today for a free consultation.