The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is a federal program designed to provide financial assistance to people with limited income and resources who are disabled, blind, or over 65. The program provides monthly payments to help with basic needs such as food and shelter. In Oregon, SSI benefits can be a lifeline for those struggling to make ends meet. In this article, we will discuss how the program works, who is eligible in Oregon, and how to apply.
How the Program Works
The SSI program is a needs-based program that provides financial assistance to people who have limited income and resources. The program is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
To qualify for SSI benefits, an individual must meet certain income and resource limits. In general, an individual cannot have more than $2,000 in countable resources, and a couple cannot have more than $3,000 in countable resources. Countable resources include things like cash, bank accounts, stocks, and real estate (other than the home you live in).
In addition to resource limits, the SSA also looks at an individual’s income. For SSI purposes, income includes things like wages, Social Security benefits, pensions, and any other money you receive. If you are married, the SSA will also look at your spouse’s income.
If an individual meets the income and resource limits, they may be eligible for SSI benefits. The amount of the monthly benefit is based on a formula that takes into account an individual’s income, resources, and living arrangements. In general, the maximum federal SSI benefit is $914 per month for an individual, and $1,371 per month for a couple.
Who is Eligible in Oregon?
In addition to the federal eligibility requirements, Oregon has additional requirements for SSI eligibility. To be eligible for SSI in Oregon, an individual must:
- Be a resident of Oregon
- Be a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-citizen
- Meet the federal SSI disability, blindness, or age requirement
- Have countable income and resources below the federal SSI limits
- Not be in a public institution (such as a nursing home) paid for by Medicaid
- Have a Social Security number or apply for one
In addition to these requirements, Oregon also has specific rules for how it counts income and resources. For example, Oregon does not count the first $20 of most types of income, and it allows certain deductions for things like medical expenses. It’s also important to note that in Oregon, there is a separate program called the State Supplement Program (SSP) that provides additional cash assistance to certain SSI recipients.
How to Apply
The SSI application process can be complex, but the SSA provides resources to help individuals apply for benefits. To apply for SSI, you can:
- Call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment to apply in person or over the phone.
- Apply online at www.ssa.gov/benefits/ssi.
- Visit your local SSA office Supplemental Security Income (SSI) | SSA in person to apply.
Before you apply, it’s important to gather all the necessary information and documents. The SSA will need information about your income, resources, living arrangements, and medical conditions. You will also need to provide documents such as your Social Security card, birth certificate, and proof of income and resources.
It’s important to note that the application process can take several months, and it’s not uncommon for an initial application to be denied. If your application is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. In fact, many people who are ultimately approved for SSI benefits are initially denied and only receive benefits after appealing.
There are several levels of appeal, including a reconsideration, a hearing before an administrative law judge, and a review by the Appeals Council. If you are denied at any level, it’s important to consider hiring an attorney who specializes in SSI law to help with your appeal.
Contact Drew L. Johnson, P.C. Attorneys At Law, for a Free Consultation
Navigating the SSI application process can be challenging, especially if you’re already struggling with limited income and resources. That’s why it’s important to consider seeking the assistance of an experienced SSI attorney who can help guide you through the process and increase your chances of success.
At Drew L. Johnson, P.C. Attorneys At Law, we specialize in SSI law and have helped many low-income Oregon residents obtain the benefits they deserve. Our staff can help you gather the necessary documentation, navigate the complex application process, and appeal a denied application if necessary.
If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help you with your SSI application, contact us today for a free consultation. We understand the challenges facing low-income Oregon residents, and we’re committed to helping you get the financial assistance you need to improve your quality of life. Call Drew L. Johnson, P.C. Attorneys At Law today at (541) 434-6466.