Pennsylvania residents who are elderly or living with disabilities sometimes struggle financially. For those who have very low incomes and few or no assets, the Supplemental Security Income program, also known as SSI, provides monthly cash payments that can help recipients meet their expenses. Those who receive SSI benefits may also automatically qualify for other social assistance programs.
Most people who apply for SSI must be able to demonstrate that they are completely disabled and unable to earn a living. Individuals who are over the age of 65 are generally not held to the standard of disability. Likewise, disabled children may also be able to qualify for SSI benefits without having to prove that they are unable to work.
Individuals who meet the age or disability requirements must show that they have few or no assets outside of one vehicle and a residence. As of 2018, the total value of all other assets, including savings accounts and investments, must be less than $2,000. For married couples, the cap on assets is $3,000.
It should be noted that people with disabilities who have been able to work may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. The SSDI program provides cash benefits to individuals who have become completely disabled after working and paying into the Social Security system for a specific amount of time. There are no asset restrictions to qualify for SSDI.
The application process for either program can be lengthy and difficult. Applicants may benefit from consulting with an experienced attorney who can help guide them through the process. Those who have already been rejected for benefits may also be able to work with a lawyer on an appeal of a negative decision.