Supplemental Security Income, better known as SSI, is a Federally run program that provides money to people who have little or no income, few resources and who are aged, blind or disabled. You may be able to get SSI even if you don't qualify for Social Security Disability or retirement benefits. In addition to having little or no income and few resources, you must be either sixty-five (65) years or older, blind or disabled. A child or adult must have a mental or physical disability that has lasted twelve months or is expected to last twelve months or longer or result in death.
The disability must be so bad that it prevents a child from doing normal activities or an adult from doing any substantial gainful work.
There are certain resources or asset limits and you should call the Social Security District Office for the current limit for eligibility. However, there are certain resources which are not counted toward this resource limit, for example, the house which you own and live in, household goods up to a maximum limit, and a car worth up to a maximum limit.
The amount of SSI you will get depends on your own situation. If you have no income, you will get the maximum payment which is generally higher than Public Assistance. If you have some income, your payments will depend on the amount of your income.
SSI disability benefits automatically entitle you to eligibility for a medical assistance card from your local County Board of Assistance.
If you have been denied SSI benefits and feel you are eligible, you have the right to appeal that denial within 60 days from the date of the denial. You have the right to a hearing and should contact an attorney for help.
In order to apply for Supplemental Security Income, contact the Erie office of the Social Security Administration at 717 State St., Highmark Building, Fifth Floor, Erie, PA 16501. Their telephone number is 877-405-2887. 3/11
If you need an attorney and don't have one, the Lawyer Referral and Information Service can help.