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SSI benefits are available for Philadelphia residents

Many Philadelphia residents are unable to work due to a debilitating illness or medical condition. As a result, they can have trouble making ends meet. Generally, workers who have paid enough into the Social Security system are eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits. However, not everyone is eligible for these benefits. Fortunately, there is another option for people with limited income and resources.

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program accommodates those who do not meet the work requirements of the SSDI program. However, you must be a U.S. resident 65 or older and/or blind or disabled. The disability must keep you from working and have lasted at least a year or be expected to last at least a year. You must also earn less than $1,170 per month in 2017 doing work that involves substantial gainful activity. Substantial gainful activity usually refers to doing work that requires significant use of your body and/or mind.

In addition to being disabled and/or over 65, you must also own less than $2,000 in assets (or $3,000, if you are married). These assets typically do not include your house, so long as you live in it, or your car. Cash, bank accounts, and stocks will count towards the $2,000 or $3,000.

If you meet this criteria, you may receive $735 per month (or $1,103 per month for married couples) in SSI benefits in 2017. It is important to note that if you start working again while on SSI, your disability benefits will be affected. While SSD allows you to test your ability to work with a trial work period and still continue to receive benefits, SSI does not have this. You may earn up to $1,555 (gross) per month in 2017 before your SSI benefits will be stopped.

Source: Akron Beacon Journal, "Social Security Q&A: How SSI benefit fits into the big picture," Robert Fenn, May 13, 2017

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Pennsylvania Bar Association Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee Philadelphia Bar Co-Chair SSD Committee