Understanding the Steps to File for SSI in Pennsylvania

June 2, 2017

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program that helps individuals who are 65 years of age or older, and those who are blind or disabled at any age, who are in financial need. The 2017 maximum monthly federal SSI benefit is $735 for individuals and $1,1,03 for a couple. While some states pay an additional supplement, in Pennsylvania that supplement only applies to certain disabled individuals.

It is important to understand that SSI is different than social security disability (SSD), which is not income-dependent. Your unique circumstances will determine whether SSI or SSD is the more appropriate form of assistance for you.

SSI is also different from Social Security benefits, which individuals over age 62 who have paid in to the social security trust fund throughout their lifetime are entitled to. Social Security benefits depend on the recipient’s lifetime earnings and payments to the Social Security system. Depending on the amount of their benefits payments and the individual’s circumstances, there are cases where a person may receive both Social Security benefits and SSI.

Applying for income assistance

Applying for SSI can be a complicated process. This step-by-step guide explains the specific actions individuals should take in applying for assistance. A qualified Philadelphia SSI attorney can help make filing easier and more effective.

  1. Determine eligibility. Eligibility involves your income, age, and disability status. You are eligible for SSI if:
    • You are age 65 or older with or without a disability; or if you are under 65 and are blind or have another qualifying disability.
    • Your individual net worth totals less than $2,000, or if you and your spouse’s total assets are worth less than $3,000.
    • You are a US citizen or are legally residing in the Unites States.

You are also eligible for the Pennsylvania state supplement if you are a resident of a personal care boarding or domiciliary care home.

  1. Gather necessary documentation. To verify your eligibility for SSI, you will need to provide documentation of the following:
  • Citizenship status in the form of a social security card, birth certificate, passport, naturalization certificate, or another viable document.
  • Proof of age, which can include a birth or baptismal certificate, passport, etc.
  • Proof of income, resources, and work history. These can be verified through a combination of tax returns, payroll stubs, bank account statements, stock/bond certificates, property appraisal, or other relevant documentation.
  1. Complete the benefits application. You can apply by phone, online, or at your local social security office.

If you need help completing these steps, or have questions about eligibility, our Philadelphia SSI lawyers are here to help. We can also help you through the appeals process if your application is denied. Contact Larry Pitt & Associates at 888.PITT.LAW or use our contact form. We serve clients throughout Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties.