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Supplemental Security Income (SSI) For Mental Disability: What You Need To Know and How To Apply?

Mentally ill individuals find it impossible to get employed by someone. Mental illness has always been an exclusion criterion in all sorts of interviews and selections. Then how is it that these people survive? They need money to carry out their daily living, isn't it?

What is Supplemental Security Income?

To those adults and children with scarce income and resources, Supplemental Security Income, provides with money to avail the basic necessities. This facility is also available for aged people with disabilities and/or very little or no income.

What is Social Security?

Through an innovative approach called Social security or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the U. S. government ensures its citizens' economic safety. Basically, you are bound to pay into the system until you work in FICA taxes. A meager part of your salary is funded into providing Social Security to those in need of it. You can enjoy Social Security benefits once you attain a certain age or become disabled. You may wonder as to how to apply for Social Security. You can apply both online and by visiting the SSA office.

What's the difference between Social Security (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

SSI and SSDI are two entirely different government programs. A person may be eligible for SSI but not for SSDI, and vice versa.

  • Social Security SSDI - You will have to work for a certain number of years to enjoy Social Security benefits before applying for it. It functions pretty much like an insurance claim.
  • Supplemental Security Income SSI - On the other hand, Supplemental Security Income is based on only the person's financial needs, regardless of the work experience. Income and worth of total assets play a major role in deciding eligibility for SSI, while work credits are essential when it comes to SSDI.

Who can get Supplemental Social Income?

The eligibility criteria for collecting Supplementary Security Income are complex and vast; the basic and essential points are listed below.
SSI benefits are exclusively available to individuals who are:
  • Of old age (above 65 years old)
  • Blind
  • Disabled
It is essential to know that the Social Security Administration (SSA) strictly follows its own disability definition. What may be a disability medically may not be included in the definitions by SSA and vice versa.
Requirements to be fulfilled:
  • Limited income
  • Limited assets and resources
  • Is a citizen of the U.S., or falls in any category of 'aliens'.
  • Currently resides in any one of the 50 States of the U.S. He may also be a resident of the District of Columbia or the Northern Mariana Islands.
  • Is present in the country for at least 30 consecutive days.
  • Is not held at an institution at government expenses, maybe a hospital or a prison cell.
  • He may also apply for other monetary benefits while meeting eligibility criteria for them, like Social security or pension.
  • The person should be able to permit the Social Security Administration to have access to his or her financial and institutional records.
  • The person should, of course, apply to receive SSI benefits.
  • And a few other requirements.
The SSI monetary limits for resources and assets are up to $2,000.00 USD for individuals and up to $3,000.00 USD for couples. They include all cash in possession, bank account savings, and land property. They also count vehicles, stocks, personal property, and life insurance.
Meanwhile, income considers money earned by working and from other sources like pension, Social Security, unemployment benefits, and that provided by friends and relatives. The income limit is USD $710.00 in most cases if not in all.
Applying for SSI Benefits while having mental health disability
As of now, there is no online portal available for application for SSI. So you need to head towards the nearest SSA office. There is no shortage of SSA offices, so you won't have difficulty in reaching out to one. You should first contact the SSA and schedule an appointment by dialing 1-800-772-1213.
Once your application is considered and successfully met all the conditions listed above, the SSA will review your medical records. For the best results, one must gather the following documentations beforehand:
  • Medical history - admissions, consulting, procedures, etc.
  • Documented opinions of specialists like psychiatrists, psychologists or therapists.
  • Treatment records and list of all medications ever taken, regardless of their impact.
  • Brain scans and other related radiological imaging.
The SSA addresses the following mental conditions:
  • Anxiety disorders - phobias, panic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Personality disorders - for example, depression.
  • Affective disorders - Bipolar disorder and others
Can you receive both Social Security and SSI at the same time?
It is possible to enjoy the aids of both SSI and SSDI at the same time. This happens when an individual is eligible to receive Social Security but receives a considerably low amount per month, because of lack of work credits.
A person receives less money from Social Security when:
  • He or she has a very little work history as of prior to disability, for example, if disability ensued at a very young age.
  • If the person earned very low wages throughout his work years.
  • If the person didn't work during the past few years.
The reason these conditions provide very low SSDI benefits is that Social Security is entirely based on work credits. Again, you may compare it to an insurance claim. Likewise, in these types of situations, one may enjoy both these major disability programs' benefits.
You need to be aware that your condition is reviewed once every year or so, to check for improvements or deteriorations. Nevertheless, receiving these disability benefits is a selective and multistep process. These programs have no doubt made the daily life of many unfortunate people worth living.

About the Author:

Michael Morelli writes for the website SocialSecurityOfficeNearMe.org