What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)? How is SSI in New York? How Can A Personal Injury Settlement Affect My Eligibility?

What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Supplemental Security Income, also known as SSI, is a federal benefit program that seeks to provide assistance for individuals who are financially in need. This includes blind or disabled adults and children, individuals who have limited income, and non-disabled seniors who meet the financial limits to qualify for SSI. The program is intended to provide cash for individuals in need to meet their basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.


What are the eligibility requirements for SSI?

SSI is available to children or adults who are blind or have physical and/or mental disabilities that last at least a year, and seniors or any individual who is financially eligible. The beneficiary of SSI must be a U.S. citizen residing in one of the 50 states or a non-citizen who is a legal resident of United States under the alien eligibility criteria. In order to qualify for SSI, you must have little or no income and very few resources. This means the value of the things that you own, your total assets, must be less than $2,000 if you are single and less than $3,000 if you are married. Such assets include checking or savings accounts, IRAs, retirement accounts, life insurances, vehicles, personal property, cash assets, and any other asset of significant value.

If you are deemed eligible, Supplemental Security Income provides individuals monthly cash payments, also known as the Federal Benefit Rate (FDR), of up to a maximum of $735 for individuals and $1,103 for married couples. SSI individuals may also receive supplemental security payments(SSP) with varying amounts depending on the state they live in. Also, many states vary in the amount of supplemental payment given to SSI beneficiaries in accordance to the individual’s living conditions. For instance, nursing home residents may receive higher supplemental payments than others depending on the state. Furthermore, if you receive SSI, you can automatically get Medicaid coverage and thus offset your healthcare costs. In order to receive SSI, you must also apply for any other cash benefits you may be able to get.

How does SSI differ in New York?

To be eligible for SSI in New York, the applicant must meet the qualifications mentioned earlier. In determining the supplemental security payment in New York, which ranges from $20 to $719, New York considers the borough you reside in and whether you are in adult foster care or a group home. If you qualify for SSI in New York, you will be automatically eligible for Medicaid. In addition, you may also receive benefits from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which will provide you with money to buy food. By contacting your local Department of Social Services, you may also be found eligible for other services such as homecare services, personal care, money management, and living arrangement assistance.

How can a personal injury settlement affect my eligibility?

Under the rules of the Social Security Administration, a person is only eligible for the monthly payments if he or she has little to no income or assets. However, any earned income, gifts, gambling proceeds, and even money from a personal injury award or settlement will be considered a cash asset. If this value were to exceed the specified eligibility requirements ($2,000 if single, $3,000 if married), the individual in question would no longer be eligible for the benefits. Depending on the value an individual receives for their Personal Injury Settlement, the acquired money awarded could possibly result in the reduction or suspension of his or her SSI benefits.

Do you need help with your SSI situation?

If you find that you are in a confusing situation and seek to keep your settlement earnings and still receive SSI benefits, consult with an experienced attorney. The rules of the Social Security Administration may be very complicated and it is important that you are able to continue receiving benefits if you are financially in need. If you are seeking assistance with your Social Security Income eligibility and/or Personal Injury Settlement, call 718-333-2394 or visit our website to contact the Law Office of Inna Fershteyn immediately before you risk losing your government benefits.