SSI Lawyer in Mobile, AL
The Supplemental Security Income program aims to support those who are elderly, disabled, or blind and in need of financial assistance. However, many people who qualify for assistance through this program have a difficult time getting the payments they deserve. The application process can be confusing, and many deserving applicants are initially denied.
We’re here to help. If you’re ready to apply for SSI in Mobile or fight a denial, call Thiry & Associates at 251-478-8880 to schedule a meeting now.
Who Does SSI Help?
The SSI program is designed with three groups of people in mind:
- People who are 65 or older
- People who are blind
- People who are disabled
Proving your age or vision is relatively easy, but it’s a bit more complicated to prove whether or not you have a disability. This is where many SSI applicants struggle to make their case and get the benefits they deserve.
You may qualify if you have one of the impairments listed in the SSA Listing of Impairments (or “Blue Book”), which separates qualifying diagnoses into categories. Each diagnosis has a set of criteria that must be met for automatic approval.
If you do not have one of the listed diagnoses or you have a listed diagnosis but do not meet the criteria, you need to dig a little deeper to prove your disability. Essentially, you have to prove that your diagnosis prevents you from working and that it is expected to last at least 12 months or until your death.
How Your Assets and Income May Count Against You
Note, too, that the SSI program is need-based. That is to say that anyone who meets one of the three requirements listed above can get assistance—only those who fall below certain income and asset thresholds qualify for monthly payments.
To evaluate whether or not an applicant meets these standards, the Social Security Administration looks at each individual’s resources and income sources during the application process.
Assets include things like cash, bank accounts, cars, land, personal property, and life insurance. Individuals applying for SSI may have up to $2,000 in assets before they lose SSI, and couples applying may have up to $3,000 before they are denied SSI payments. It gets more complicated—some assets are exempt from being counted by SSI. These assets include:
- Household goods and personal items
- One vehicle used by you or someone in your household for transportation
- The house you live in and the land it sits on
- Burial spaces for you and your immediate family
- Up to $100,000 in an ABLE account
There are many such exceptions, highlighting why it is so important to have an attorney as you navigate the process of applying for SSI in Mobile. Applicants may misunderstand resources requirements and assume that they do not qualify for SSI, only to discover later that their assets are exempt.
Your income is also taken into consideration during the SSI application process. They categorize money into the categories of earned income, unearned income, in-kind income, and deemed income. All four of these categories can decrease or eliminate your SSI payments. Again, there are numerous exceptions:
- The first $20 you earn in one moth
- The first $65 of earnings and half of earnings over $65 received in a month
- Tax refunds
- Irregular or infrequent income
- Food or shelter provided by nonprofit agencies
- Loans that must be repaid
- Need-based assistance from a local government, federal government, or Native American tribe
The list of exceptions goes on. Again, this is why you should talk to a Mobile disability attorney if you believe you might qualify for SSI, but you aren’t sure if your income or resources disqualify you. People are often surprised to find out that much of what they have or receive is exempt, allowing them to receive partial or full payments.
SSI Payment Amounts in Mobile
Payment amounts are adjusted each year to account for changes in the cost of living. In 2020, individuals could receive up to $783 per month and couples could receive up to $1,1175 per month. In 2021, an individual may receive as much as $794 monthly and a couple may receive up to $1,191 monthly.
Many states also offer additional benefits to those receiving SSI. Alabama participates in this program. The amount you may receive depends on whether you are applying as an individual or as a couple and whether you receive independent home care or specialized independent home care. Amounts also change each year to accommodate changes in the cost of living.
How We Can Help
While the process of applying for SSI in Mobile might seem prohibitively difficult, it is extremely detailed to prevent fraudulent applicants from siphoning funds from those who truly need and deserve the supplemental income. This fact doesn’t make it any less discouraging for worthy applicants who struggle with their application or receive a denial letter.
We are here to help. Our team’s extensive experience with disability law gives us valuable insight into what the SSA looks for in SSI applications, what types of applications get immediately denied, and what you need for a successful appeal. If you are struggling with your initial application, we will help by looking for weaknesses in your application and gathering more evidence when necessary. In many cases, it’s just a matter of providing more proof of your disability and how it impacts your life.
If you have already been denied, we will go through your initial application to figure out where you need more evidence or documentation. We’ll work with you to ensure you meet the appeal deadline, submit a stronger file, and do everything possible to access the SSI benefits you deserve.
Contact Thiry & Associates for Help with Your Disability Case
Applying for SSI is stressful, especially when prompt payments are the difference between full meals and getting by on one meal per day. That’s why we strive to help every client get the benefits they’re owed. Whether you need help with an application or appeal, let Thiry & Associates help. Call us at 251-478-8880 or reach out online to schedule a meeting now.