Many people in Atlanta have heard of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), but they may not be sure what it is and whether they are eligible for benefits. Atlanta SSI eligibility hinges on fulfilling both physical requirements and financial requirements. Applicants must prove they meet the standards in both areas before they can receive SSI benefits.
Therefore, those who want to obtain SSI benefits need to first determine whether they meet eligibility requirements, then ascertain how they will demonstrate that they meet the qualifications. A knowledgeable SSI attorney can help with every stage of this process.
Who Determines Eligibility?
The SSI program is not based on work history or supported by payroll taxes like Social Security Retirement and Disability benefits. However, determinations regarding Atlanta SSI eligibility are made by the same federal agency that examines applications for other programs, which is the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The SSA is a huge agency with offices all over the country, including a regional headquarters in Atlanta. Agency staff are bound by legal requirements to apply an extremely strict standard when reviewing SSI applications to determine whether someone is eligible for benefits, so they often deny many claims. However, applicants have several opportunities to appeal a denial.
Physical Requirements for SSI Eligibility
To receive SSI benefits, an applicant must demonstrate that they have a long-term disability or that they are at least 65 years old. While demonstrating age is simple for most people, proving that an individual meets the agency’s disability standards is often just the opposite.
If someone in Atlanta suffers from a condition on the SSA’s listing of impairments, they may be able to demonstrate SSI eligibility by providing medical records. For those who suffer from a disabling condition that is not on the list, more information may be required.
Besides showing that the applicant has a medical condition, it will be necessary to show how the condition affects the applicant and specifically how the condition prevents the applicant from undertaking activities necessary to hold a job. It can be helpful to have a statement from a physician explaining why the condition makes it difficult or impossible for the applicant to perform functions such as sitting, standing, reading, concentrating, lifting, walking, or other actions that are part of most employment situations.
SSI benefits are intended to provide funds for basic needs like food, clothing, and shelter. Before the SSA will award benefits to an applicant, that person must show that they lack resources to meet those needs on their own. The agency will look at assets the applicant has available to draw on, as well as income or assistance coming in.
Some assets will be removed from consideration. For instance, when determining whether an applicant has more than the required amount of resources available, the SSA will not count the value of the applicant’s home, personal car, or household effects, since these cannot be converted to cash without depriving the applicant of basic needs. However, the SSA may consider assistance from family and friends as unofficial income, including the provision of free food or shelter.
More Information About SSI Eligibility in Atlanta
To demonstrate Atlanta SSI eligibility, you must gather records regarding your assets and your physical condition and be prepared to make a persuasive argument to support your eligibility claim. In addition to financial and physical requirements, applicants must satisfy qualifications regarding U.S. residence standards and immigration status.
If the SSA denies your application, you can present additional evidence during a reconsideration or an administrative hearing. An experienced legal advisor can help prepare an application or appeal a denial in a manner that makes the best possible case for SSI eligibility.