Unlocking Support for Disabled Iowans: Who Qualifies for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits?

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Posted by Corey Luedeman

The Social Security Administration (SSA) administers Supplemental Security Income (SSI), a government program that offers financial assistance to disabled individuals with limited income and resources.

There are only certain people who can receive SSI benefits.

1. Eligibility Based on Disability:

To be eligible for SSI benefits, individuals must have a qualifying disability. The SSA defines a disability as a medical condition that stops an individual from participating in substantial gainful activity (SGA) and expects it to last at least 12 months or lead to death. The disability can be physical, mental, or a combination of both. During the application process, they assess the impairment’s severity and its impact on an individual’s ability to work.

2. Limited Income and Resources:

SSI is a needs-based program, which means that eligibility is also determined by an individual’s income and resources. The SSA sets specific income and resource limits that applicants must meet to qualify for SSI benefits.

Income includes wages, self-employment earnings, pensions, and other sources. However, they may exclude or disregard certain types of income, such as a portion of earned income, during the calculation process.

Resources, on the other hand, refer to the assets an individual owns, such as cash, bank accounts, stocks, and property.

The SSA has set limits on the value of countable resources that applicants can have to be eligible for SSI benefits. They may exempt certain resources, like the individual’s primary residence and personal effects, from counting towards the resource limit.

In addition to offering much-needed support, SSI also includes various benefits and payment adjustments.

Monthly Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefit Amount: How is it Determined?

They calculate the monthly benefit amount for SSI recipients based on several factors. The SSA sets and annually adjusts the primary factor, the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR).As of 2023, the FBR for an individual is $914 per month, while the FBR for a couple is $1,371 per month.[KR1] 

However, this is the most you could receive each month as an Iowa resident.  Your actual payment may vary based on factors such as any “in-kind” income and on your living arrangements.

SSI follows an income-based system where the benefit amount is reduced if the recipient has countable income. The SSA considers both earned income like wages, self-employment earnings, and unearned income like pensions, etc. when determining how much you can receive each month.

Living arrangements also play a role in benefit calculations. For instance, individuals living in someone else’s house or apartment may receive a reduced payment due to the availability of “in-kind” support and maintenance. On the other hand, individuals living independently may receive a higher payment because they will have to pay rent.

This is very different from the other type of disability benefit, Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) benefits. SSDI benefits are calculated based on the number of years you worked and how long ago that work was. The amount you could receive is calculated in a different way from SSI benefits.

To determine which type of disability benefits you could receive, you should speak with an experienced Iowa Social Security Disability attorney. If you have applied for disability benefits and been denied, an attorney can help you appeal your claim and get the benefits you deserve.

RSH Legal offers free, no-obligation case evaluations for Iowans who have been denied Social Security Disability benefits. To schedule yours, call 1-800-433-0283 today.

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