Who Qualifies for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

by Oct 27, 2017General

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Who Can Qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

SSI is a government benefit program for disabled people who have limited financial resources.

If you are a low-income American who cannot work because of a disability, you could qualify for SSI. However, the program has stringent requirements and the application process is thorough and detailed. If you leave out a crucial piece of evidence, and you could receive a denial—even if you have a qualifying case.

Before filing for SSI, speak with a qualified disability attorney at the Disability Advantage Group. We will evaluate your case and determine if you are a good candidate for SSI. If you are not, we can help you with other options to receive benefits. The consultation is free, so call 865-566-0800 today for an appointment.

How Do I Qualify for SSI?

To be eligible for SSI, you must demonstrate to the Social Security Administration (SSA) that you have three things: a disability that meets its standards for benefits, a limited income, and little to nothing in assets.


There are two ways to prove that your disability qualifies for SSI. The first, and easiest, is to show that you meet the Blue Book criteria for a listed condition. The Blue Book is a list of medical conditions, including both illnesses and injuries, for which the SSA pays disability benefits. It also lists the qualifying criteria for each condition, such as the medical diagnoses, test results, and other evidence you must submit with your application.

If your disability does not meet the criteria of a Blue Book listing, we can use something called the residual functional capacity (RFC) test to prove you deserve benefits. This test is something your doctor completes on your behalf. When finished, it offers an objective analysis of the different ways your condition limits your ability to work and carry out activities of daily living.

The RFC is a useful tool because the SSA ultimately cares more about how your condition affects your ability to work than your specific diagnosis.


Because SSI is a welfare program, it is only available to those whose income falls below certain limits.

As of 2017, the monthly income limit for SSI is $735. However, you might still qualify if you make more than that, as certain forms of income do not count toward the SSI limit. For instance, none of the following income sources count toward your monthly limit:

  • Your first $65 of earnings each month, as well as one-half of your earnings over $65;
  • The value of any food stamps you receive;
  • Irregular or infrequent income;
  • Income tax refunds;
  • Educational grants or scholarships.
  • Assistance with food or shelter from charities or nonprofits; and
  • Loans you must repay.

Your attorney at the Disability Advantage Group, can evaluate your financial situation and let you know if you should apply for SSI or take advantage of another disability program.


There is also an asset limit to qualify for SSI. In 2017, you must have countable resources not worth more than a total of $2,000—or $3,000 for a couple—to receive SSI.

As is true with your income, there are many assets and resources that do not count toward SSI’s limit, such as:

  • Your primary residence;
  • One vehicle;
  • Life insurance policies with face values of $1,500 or less;
  • Burial plots and burial funds, up to a value of $1,500; and
  • Household goods and personal effects.

Again, you should go over your assets with one of our attorneys before starting the application process for SSI.

What If I Do Not Qualify for SSI?

If you do not qualify for SSI because your income or assets are too high, there is a good chance you qualify for the government’s other disability program, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

This program is different from SSI in that it does not have income or asset limits, but it is available only to those with sufficient work histories who have paid into Social Security through payroll taxes. We can advise you on how to apply and get approved for SSDI.

Ready to Start Your Application? Call 865-566-0800 for a Free Consultation With a Disability Attorney.

The expert legal team at the Disability Advantage Group, is here and ready to help. Call our office today at 865-566-0800 to set up a time to come in and meet with one of our lawyers for a free consultation.