Do you qualify for Supplemental Security (SSI) benefits from the Social Security Administration?

If you’ve applied for these monthly cash benefits and you’ve just been denied, you probably feel like all hope is lost. It’s disheartening to be denied SSI, since anyone who qualifies for these benefits has little to no other income to live off of.

That said, you can still join the approximately 8 million Americans who rely on SSI to meet their basic needs. Here are some tips to use when fighting for your right to receive SSI.

1. Appeal Immediately When Denied SSI

That disheartening letter of denial is not a decision set in stone regarding SSI benefits. Every decision made by the Social Security Administration can be appealed.

According to a recent annual statistical report, roughly 23 percent of individuals who apply for SSI are initially denied. However, if they appeal this initial decision, they have a better chance of being awarded the benefits.

You may think that reapplying or waiting to appeal can increase your chances at getting SSI. However, neither is correct. You have to appeal the denial within 60 days or your application becomes invalid. Also, reapplying instead of appealing a decision will likely cut your chances at getting your benefits.

2. Get to Know Your Rights

How much do you know about the benefits you are eligible for?

For instance, are you eligible for SSI or SSDI? There are major differences between SSI and SSDI; they are each designed to cater to a specific group of disabled Americans. You are eligible to collect SSI benefits if:

  • You are a low-income senior over age 65.
  • You are a low-income blind individual of any age.
  • You are low-income and disabled, but you don’t technically qualify for any other social security benefits

You qualify for SSDI instead if:

  • You’ve ever worked legally either during or prior to being disabled.
  • You are eligible for survivor’s benefits.
  • You are a disabled adult child of a retired parent

The SSI program is much more restrictive than SSDI. You can only make a certain amount of income per month, for instance. Also, you need more legal and medical documentation to apply and stay eligible for SSI. Gather all of your documents and get to know your rights well before your appeal. Don’t count on SSA workers to tell you the ins and outs of the laws.

3. Lawyer Up

The best way to fight your SSI denial is with legal assistance. Find a reputable Social Security Disability lawyer to help you navigate the ins and outs of this complicated system.

A lawyer can answer any questions about your rights and help you find any loopholes that you can take advantage of during your appeal. Also, he or she can keep tabs on your case and ensure that all SSA workers handling your case are operating according to the law.

Remember, you don’t have to pay a Social Security Disability lawyer unless you win your case. Also, keep in mind that though SSI is a federal program, some states have slightly different laws around it.

Need More Helpful Tips?

Navigating any process involving the Social Security Administration can be daunting and confusing at best. However, we’re not just there for you when you’re being denied SSI.

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