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What Makes Someone Eligible for SSI in California?

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If you are disabled or 65 years or older and have little to no income, you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSI is a federal program often supplemented by California funds to help low-income disabled people. If you are looking for a way to support yourself, you may be wondering what makes someone eligible for SSI in California and if you meet the qualifications.

At Gade & Parekh, LLP, our lawyers help clients obtain SSI benefits in California. We are a full-service SSI law firm.

What makes someone eligible for SSI in California?

Who Qualifies for SSI in California?

To be eligible for SSI, you do not have to have paid into the federal Social Security system. If you qualify for SSI, your monthly payments will be based solely on your financial need, age, and other factors. SSI is a needs-based program, meaning that you have to show that you have few, if any, assets and little to no income. If someone contributes money to support you, that support will be deducted from your allotted benefit.

SSI beneficiaries may be entitled to Medi-Cal benefits. The system works similarly to Medicare.

Medi-Cal benefits help qualifying individuals pay for doctor visits, hospital care, medications, and other medical costs. Beyond the low-income requirement, you may have to show that you are disabled in order to qualify for SSI, although advanced age can also qualify you.

The standard for proving disability for SSI is the same as the standard applied to those seeking Social Security Disability. You must demonstrate that mental or physical problems have kept you from being able to perform substantial activities for at least 12 months.

Additionally, you will have to show that:

  • Your impairment is severe
  • You are currently unable to work
  • Your disability is the cause of your inability to work

Often, the biggest barrier to receiving SSI payments is proving that you qualify for the program. Proving that you are disabled can be more complicated than you think. You can strengthen your claim by working with an attorney who has experience in helping clients receive SSI benefits.

Benefits of Hiring a Lawyer

You are not required to hire an attorney to help you apply for SSI, but having legal counsel can greatly strengthen your claim and reduce the chances that your claim will be denied. An attorney can handle the complicated paperwork on your behalf. SSI lawyers have experience gathering applicable reports and records. The documents must be drafted correctly, or they will not be accepted. An SSI attorney also understands where and when to properly submit the forms.

Your legal counsel can keep you informed about what steps are needed to finalize the application process, which could include attending a hearing. Having an attorney present to represent you during the complicated hearing process can be a great stress relief.

A California SSI lawyer also understands the players involved in the SSI program, including administrative personnel. They may have experience working with the judges who oversee the program and know how to properly draft briefs and submit evidence before hearings. That way, the judge in charge has your information before your hearing.

If you require an appeal, your SSI benefits lawyer can review why your application was denied and request a reconsideration. Winning an appeal sometimes requires aggressive work on the part of your SSI attorney.


Q: What Are the Rules for SSI in California?

A: Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs-based program. For anyone to qualify, they will have to prove that they have little to no income and no significant assets. Once those qualifications are met, they will have to further show that they are 65 years old or older, blind, or disabled. While the process of proving you meet these qualifications sounds straightforward, having an attorney to help you apply can strengthen your claim and potentially prevent an initial rejection.

Q: How Are My Monthly Supplemental Security Income Payments Calculated?

A: Your monthly supplemental security income payments are calculated based on several factors, including your living situation, income, and other factors. For every $2 you earn, SSI deducts $1 from your monthly payment. State supplements do not affect your SSI payments. While on SSI, you must make monthly reports and disclose any changes to your income. Disclosures should include any financial assistance you receive from anyone.

Q: What Are the Qualifying Factors for Supplemental Security Income?

A: To qualify for SSI, you must show that you have little to no income and no significant assets. SSI is a needs-based program, so proving indigency is an important factor. Beyond that, you must show that you are 65 or older, disabled, or blind. Proving disability often requires medical proof. Your disability must also hinder your ability to work or undertake substantial activities.

Q: What Is the Most Commonly Approved Disability for Supplemental Security Income?

A: The disabilities that are most commonly used for SSI approval are the most common conditions and ailments found in the general population. These include rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, back pain, fractures, and back injuries. A diagnosis of an anxiety disorder, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia can also lead to a disability. Your lawyer can collect medical records and other forms of proof to ensure that your claim is well-documented.

Q: How Do People Who Never Worked Get Supplemental Security Income?

A: Because SSI is a needs-based program, applicants do not have to show that they have paid into the program. The federal funds are available to anyone who qualifies. SSI works differently than Social Security, which is based on the amount of money that you pay into the program. To qualify for SSI, you will have to show that you have a financial need for assistance.

Schedule Your Supplemental Security Income Consultation Today

If you are disabled or 65 years old or older, you may qualify for monthly Supplemental Security Income checks. The federal program is needs-based, so you will have to show that you have little to no income and require federal assistance. You do not have to have an attorney to apply for benefits, but legal counsel can greatly strengthen your case.

Gade & Parekh, LLP, is a full-service SSI law firm. We’re here to help you navigate this complicated system. To schedule a consultation, contact our office today.

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