SSI Attorneys in Pace, Florida
Most residents of Pace, Florida are part of the professional class, making between 60k and 200k per year. Among the leading industries are health care, hospitality, education, and manufacturing. Retail is also big industry in Pace.
However, not everyone in Pace has financial security and stability, Daily living expenses can be overwhelming for someone who is unable to work due to blindness, disability, or age. While the SSDI program provides benefits for those who have paid into the system throughout the course of their career, it isn’t an option for those who have never been able to work because of their disability. The SSI, or Supplemental Security Income, is available to those who do not have any work history and cannot work because of their disability.
Getting the benefits that you qualify for can be a time-consuming process, but it helps to have an experienced and compassionate attorney fighting for you. Call Baker & Baker at 850-433-0888 to schedule a consultation and discuss your needs.
An Overview of the SSI Program
The SSI program is managed by the Social Security Administration. It’s currently available to those who are 65 or older, blind, or disabled. While you may qualify for both SSI and SSDI benefits and the SSI application allows you to apply for both, there are significant differences that separate these programs.
SSI is a need-based program. You qualify by proving that your disability is severe enough to keep you from working and by showing that your assets and income are limited enough to require assistance. You do not need a certain amount of work credits to qualify.
The funding sources of the SSI and SSDI programs are different. While SSDI is paid for from the money put in by workers, the SSI program is a program funded by taxes.
If you meet the income, assets, and disability qualifications of the SSI program, you can receive monthly payments. As of 2022, the full federal payment for an individual is $841 and the full federal payment for a couple is $1,261. There are factors that may change your final payment.
For example, those living in an assisted living facility like Arcadia Senior Living or Laurelwood Assisted Living may receive a different amount than those remaining in their home. Florida has a state-run supplemental payment program that you should receive if you qualify for SSI.
SSI Limitations and Requirements
To receive SSI benefits, you will need to prove that you have limited income, limited assets, and a disability that is expected to last at least 12 months or result in your death.
The SSA is very strict about its asset and income requirements. However, calculating how much of an income you are allowed to earn or how many assets you are permitted to keep is confusing—there are lots of exceptions that can make it difficult to understand what you can and cannot keep.
That’s one of the benefits of working with an SSI lawyer in Pace, FL. They can take an in-depth look at your finances and your assets to help you understand whether or not SSI is a viable option for you.
Assets, referred to as resources in SSA documentation, include anything that you own that could be sold and used to cover your expenses. Examples include cash on hand, bank accounts, life insurance, stocks, and cars. You also have to count deemed resources if you live with a parent or spouse.
If you live with a parent or spouse, a percentage of their resources are assumed to be yours. These count against your allowed resources for SSI. Currently, an individual receiving SSI may have up to $2,000 in resources and a couple can have up to $3,000.
Income includes four types of money you bring in:
- Earned income, including wages, self-employment income, and workshop payments
- Unearned income, such as Social Security benefits, disability benefits, and unemployment benefits
- In-kind income, which is food or shelter you get for free or at a reduced price
- Deemed income, or part of the income earned by your spouse or parent with whom you live
And now, the exceptions. For example, resources that do not count for the sake of the SSI program include the home you live in, your vehicle if you use it for transportation and your personal items. Income that does not count for the SSI program includes the first $20 of most income you get monthly, the first $65 of your earnings in a month, income tax refunds, and SNAP.
Applying for SSI Benefits
You can apply for SSI benefits online, over the phone, or in person. The sooner you apply, the better—benefits can begin from the date of the application. However, you do want to make your application as thorough as possible.
Spend time gathering your medical documentation, as the SSA will take an extensive look into your records to ensure that you are too disabled to work. If you think a piece of documentation is unnecessary, discuss it with your lawyer. It’s likely that you’ll send it in any way as anything supporting your disability can be helpful.
After your application is received and processed, you will be notified about the SSA’s decision. You’ll either start receiving monthly payments or have your application denied. If your application is denied, you can appeal it.
How Our Team Can Help
The money you stand to receive from the SSI program can change your life, putting you in a position to pay for your daily needs and other obligations. The process of getting those benefits can be stressful and confusing, especially if this is your first time through the process. The SSA is extremely rigorous in its handling of SSI and SSDI applications, and any weakness or error in yours could lead to an automatic denial.
Our team has extensive experience with SSI and SSDI applications, and we know what the SSA looks for as it processes your information. We’ve helped many applicants navigate the pitfalls of the application process and the appeals process, and we can help you submit the strongest application possible. Explore your options with the help of our team.
Start Your Application with Baker & Baker
If you’re ready to start the application process and find out if you qualify for SSI benefits in Florida, it’s time to talk to the team at Baker & Baker. Schedule a meeting now by calling us at 850-433-0888 or contacting us online.