People with disabilities in Pennsylvania who are unable to hold gainful employment may qualify for assistance through the Supplemental Security Income program. For those over the age of 65, qualifying may not be very difficult even if their disability isn't debilitating. For those under 65, however, a person must demonstrate that they have a disability that prevents them from working and that they have no other means of gaining financial assistance.
Another requirement for SSI is that the person can not own more than $2,000 in assets as well as insufficient or no income. For people who have worked within the past 10 years, applying for SSDI in addition to SSI may be a good idea. The optimal time to start the application process for either program is as soon as a person realizes they have a disability that is likely to last a year or more. Approval can take a relatively long time.
Disabled children may also be able to qualify for SSI benefits. The Social Security Administration has a list of conditions that qualify. If a child is approved, they will continue to receive benefits even if their condition is removed from the qualifying list. Payments are usually sent to the parents or legal guardian.
Individuals who are denied for SSI may be able to get the decision reversed with help from an attorney. This attorney might act as an advocate, improving the client's chances of getting approved for benefits during the appeal process. A lawyer may stay up to date on all relevant law regarding social security and apply their knowledge every step of the way. Attorneys may not require any up-front fee, and instead work on a contingency basis.