The quest to obtain Supplement Security Income (SSI) benefits can be a long and stressful process for many people. It can take months for claimants to receive notice from the Social Security Administration about whether they have been approved – and, unfortunately, few applicants are successful on the first try.
But if you’re applying for SSI, that means that you have limited financial resources. You can’t afford to wait any longer. That’s why you need to talk to an experienced Supplemental Security Income attorney right away.
Contact the South Carolina law firm of Land, Parker & Welch, P.A. Our disability benefits attorneys have extensive experience helping South Carolinians apply for Supplemental Security Income benefits and can help you from the application stage all the way to the appeals process, if necessary
Call (803) 435-8894 or use our online contact form for a free consultation.
Our firm has more than 120 years of combined experience. We handle SSI claims, and we can also help eligible citizens with Social Security Disability (SSD), another federal government benefits program.
Located in Manning, our firm prides itself on treating its clients like family. At Land, Parker & Welch, P.A., you’ll get to speak directly with a disability law attorney.
What is Supplemental Security Income?
Supplemental Security Income benefits are cash payments to help low-income individuals who are disabled, blind or over the age of 65 to meet their basic needs for food, clothing and shelter. In most states, SSI beneficiaries can also get Medicaid to pay for hospital stays, medical bills, prescription medications and other health-related treatments. More than 112,000 South Carolina residents received federal Supplemental Security Income in 2010, according to a report from the Social Security Administration.
Unlike Social Security Disability, your work history does not solely determine your eligibility for SSI. However, you still must prove your eligibility through the Social Security Administration’s detailed application process.
How To Apply For SSI
You currently cannot apply for Supplemental Security Income online. Instead, you must call (800) 722-1213 and make an appointment to apply over the phone or in person at your local Social Security office. Those who are deaf or hard of hearing can call TTY (800) 325-0778 to apply.
You will be asked to submit a large amount of documentation to the Social Security Administration to support your claim for SSI. In general, you should be prepared to have the following pieces of information available:
- Social Security card or number
- Proof of citizenship
- Proof of income (both earned and unearned)
- Proof of resources (such as bank statements, deeds on property you own, vehicle titles, etc.)
- Proof of living arrangements
- Medical sources (if you are applying as blind or disabled)
- Work history
- If you are applying on behalf of a child, contact information for sources who can describe how the child is impaired by his or her condition
Once you have applied, you will wait to receive notice from the Social Security Administration about whether you have been approved or denied. If you are approved, you can expect your first SSI check to be cut the month after your filing date or after you meet the eligibility criteria, whichever comes first.
The maximum federal benefit for 2011 is $674 for an individual and $1,011 for a couple. Some states, including South Carolina, provide cash supplements to SSI recipients based on income, living arrangements and other factors.
Can Someone Help Me Apply?
Yes. You can appoint a representative who can help you do everything you need to apply for Supplemental Security Income. That includes gathering and submitting required documentation, reviewing your file at the local Social Security office, attending hearings on your behalf, providing evidence to the examiners and helping with appeals. While the representative does not have to be a lawyer, an experienced Social Security benefits attorney can be an invaluable asset to SSI applicants in the initial stages of an application.
Appealing Your SSI Denial
If you have been turned down for SSI, you can appeal at several levels. First, you can ask for reconsideration. You must make the request within 60 days of receiving the denial. A separate examiner will review your application and make his or her independent determination about your SSI request.
If you are still denied or unhappy with the amount of your SSI benefits, you can ask for a hearing before an administrative law judge. At this stage, you can present new evidence and you and/or your appointed representative can speak on your behalf. Having a lawyer by your side at hearings can help ensure that you are making the strongest case possible.
Cases which still aren’t resolved to an applicant’s satisfaction can then move up to the Appeals Council level. The council will elect whether to rule on the case, dismiss it or send it back to an administrative law judge.
If all else fails, an SSI appeal can be taken to federal court. It is important to talk to an experienced Supplemental Security Income attorney before taking this step, as you will have many things to consider, such as whether you can afford to invest the time, effort and money needed to file a lawsuit.
Questions About SSI? Call Our Manning Disability Benefits Attorneys
If you’re disabled and think you qualify for Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability, call the South Carolina disability benefits attorneys at Land, Parker & Welch, P.A. Our South Carolina disability benefits lawyers can cut through all of the red tape to get you the benefits you need – and deserve – as quickly as possible.
We offer consultations free of charge. Call (803) 435-8894 or use our online contact form today!