by Brad Myler
Before you apply for SSI, it is important that you do your best to determine whether or not you might qualify. A large percentage of applications are initially denied, but you can significantly increase your chances of winning benefits by going through a few steps before you file your application.
So, step number one: Determine the severity of your disability.
SSI, or Supplemental Security Income, is designed to provide benefits to individuals who will be unable to work for at least 12 months. This is a determination that will need to be made by a medical professional, though your input on how your disability affects your daily living will certainly be of value. If you won’t be disabled for at least 12 months, there are very few instances in which you could qualify for benefits.
Which brings us to step number two: Record everything!
One of the keys to increasing your chances of winning benefits is to assemble and show documentation that supports this. Medical records, work records, and even personal records can all be of use in establishing that you are disabled, and that you will be disabled for at least 12 months. You will also want to call out specifically how your disability prevents you from performing your current job.
Step number three: Show that your disability would prevent you from performing another job.
Your age, education, and work history are all going to be important factors in whether or not you could perform a different job. SSI benefits are for those who can’t provide for themselves, so if there is another reasonable means for you to make a living, your claim will almost certainly be denied.
Step four: Show that your resources are limited.
Believe it or not, this is actually one of the most complicated steps, because the SSA will look at spousal income, gifts from family or friends, and even the fair value of free room and board if someone is helping you out. All of those will be treated as income/resources for the purpose of SSI application benefits.
Because the requirements to apply for SSI can be so complicated, many people find benefit in having disability advocates help with the application process. To see if you qualify for application assistance, simply fill out this short form or call the number at the top of the page.