SSI Attorney in Gulf Shores
SSI is a government program that strives to equalize income disparities for blind, disabled, and elderly people. However, it isn’t always just about applying and getting the benefits you deserve. To get monthly benefits, you have to go through a long process of proving your disability, documenting your assets and income sources, and proving to the Social Security Administration that you should be receiving SSI.
We’re here to help. If you need help applying for SSI in Gulf Shores, AL, contact Walton Disability at 251-455-5819 to set up a consultation now.
Do You Qualify for SSI?
Figuring out if you qualify for Supplemental Security Income can be challenging, since you must qualify in two ways. You must demonstrate that you meet one of the three qualifications for needing SSI and you must show that your income and assets are not so substantial that they disqualify you.
First, you have to be blind, elderly, or disabled to even be considered for SSI. Qualifying via blindness or being 65 or older is simple but proving that you are disabled may be a bit more work.
Second, you must not have too many resources or too much income to qualify. The income and resource limits for SSI are extremely low, and those who do not make enough to get by may still find that it is considered “too much” for SSI.
This is why working with a Gulf Shores disability lawyer is so helpful. We are well-versed in SSI requirements and can help you avoid mistakes that waste time and delay your application.
How Assets and Income Are Counted
When you learn about the asset and income limits for SSI, it may seem far too low to be fair. Remember, though, that there are numerous exceptions. Not all money you bring in is considered income, and not every asset you own is counted against your SSI.
SSI considers four types of income when determining an individual’s eligibility:
- Earned income, which includes wages, self-employment earnings, royalties, and payments from sheltered workshops
- Unearned income, which includes Social Security payments, pensions, and unemployment benefits
- In-kind income refers to anything that you receive for free or for less than you would pay for it on the open market
- Deemed income includes income earned by a spouse you live with or parents you live with
However, not all payments count for the SSI program. Earnings that do not negatively impact your SSI earnings include:
- The first $20 of income you earn within a month
- The first $65 of earnings you get in a month, and half of the earnings you earn beyond that
- Food stamps
- Home energy assistance
- Tax refunds
- Need-based assistance from state and local governments
- Infrequent or irregular small amounts of income
- Grants and scholarships for tuition or education
- Loans that must be repaid
Many other items are included in this category, which is why it’s important to connect with a Gulf Shores SSI lawyer before thinking that you cannot receive SSI.
The assets and resources you own can also decrease or eliminate the SSI you may receive. In general, resources include:
- Cash and bank accounts
- Life insurance
- Personal property
- Anything that could be sold and then used for food and shelter
An individual applying for SSI can only have up to $2,000 in countable resources before their SSI payments begin to decrease. A couple can have up to $3,000 in resources.
Again, though, there are many exceptions to this list. Items that are not counted as resources for SSI include:
- The home you live in and the land it is on
- One vehicle if you or someone in your home uses it for transportation
- Household goods and items
- Life insurance policies worth $1,500 or less
- Burial spaces
- Burial funds
- Property used for your work
- Money in a PASS
- Funds in an ABLE account
Many other resources are also not counted against your potential SSI earnings, so you should give your attorney a full and clear report of your assets and resources so they can help you explore your options.
Proving you are disabled (if you do not qualify via age or blindness) is a key step in receiving SSI. Children may receive SSI if they have an impairment that creates severe functional limitations and is expected to result in death or last for at least 12 months. For adults, an individual is considered disabled if their condition leaves them unable to engage in substantial gainful activity and is expected to end in death or will last at least 12 months.
If you meet these qualifications, you still have to prove this to the SSA. With an attorney, you can gather the right medical records, documentation, and physicians’ letters to highlight the full scope of your disability.
Benefits of Working with a Gulf Shores, AL SSI Attorney
You are not required to work with an attorney while applying for SSI in Gulf Shores. However, doing so can make this process significantly easier and faster. At Walton Disability, we know that there is often a significant gap between the documentation applicants provide and the documentation that the SSA needs. Our goal is to provide all the right information immediately for a faster approval of your application.
If you have already applied and you have been denied SSI, you should get in touch with us as soon as possible. Appealing a denial is possible, but you must work quickly to avoid missing the deadline. Additionally, if you do not know why your application was denied, you may fail to provide the information and documentation they are looking for. This causes a substantial delay in getting the funds you need for food, rent, and other necessities.
Schedule a Consultation with Walton Disability Now
At Walton Disability, we are committed to helping our clients get the benefits they rightfully deserve. No matter where you are in the application process, our Gulf Shores disability law firm is here to help. Set up a meeting now by calling us at 351-455-5819 or filling out our online contact form.