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Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

What is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program administered by Social Security that provides cash assistance to people who are unable to work for at least 12 months due to physical and/or mental medical impairments. You also have to prove that you are financially needy.

What is the Difference Between SSI and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)?

While many people don’t distinguish between SSI and SSDI, they are two completely separate government programs managed by the Social Security Administration. The three distinct differences between these two programs include financial requirements, medical coverage and the amount of the monthly benefit.


Supplemental Security Income is a means-tested program. This is intended to provide income to those who have trouble providing their basic needs such as food and shelter. If you receive Supplemental Security Income in Philadelphia, you automatically are entitled to Medicaid, which provides comprehensive medical coverage.


SSDI is generally available to any person who has paid Social Security for 10 years regardless of their financial situation. Secondly, people who receive SSDI are eligible for Medicare after two years. Medicare can cover most but not all medical care and is not as comprehensive as Medicaid. The amount of money you can receive from SSD is based on your lifetime earnings.

Am I Eligible for SSI Benefits?

There is no requirement that you have worked in the past to get SSI. If you prove you meet the medical and financial rules:

  • You have a disability that prevents you from working
  • You are a U.S. resident
  • You have limited income, assets or resources

You cannot have more than $2,000 in resources ($3,000 for a couple), but Social Security doesn’t count the home you live in. You can have some income but the rules are complicated and depend on whether the income you have is earned or unearned.

Available Benefits

If you meet the SSI standards and your application is approved, you are eligible for monthly cash benefits that vary depending on household income. The maximum monthly payment is set each year by the federal government and is the same nationwide. For the year 2020, the maximum federal benefit for an individual is $783 a month. However, not everyone qualifies for the same amount of money. Some states add additional money to the federal SSI income, allowing you to qualify for more money. For example, the state of Pennsylvania adds additional money to SSI payments. You may also receive less than the standard amount if you or your family have additional income. You are not able to receive benefits for your children, but there is a separate SSI program for children who are disabled.

In addition to cash assistance, you will also be eligible for various other benefits. In most states, you are automatically eligible for Medicaid as soon as you start receiving SSI. Medicaid helps pay for medical costs and can also cover nursing home care and other personal care services. You may also be eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps. SNAP helps you pay for food without spending your own money. None of the benefits can begin before the first full month after the month you have applied.

How To Apply for SSI Benefits?

You can begin applying for SSI benefits at any time that you feel may qualify. Call Leventhal, Sutton & Gornstein at 215-357-3300 or toll-free at 800-889-6101 to begin your SSI application.

Why Do You Need A Supplemental Security Income Lawyer in Philadelphia?

Social Security regulations are complicated, and the process is difficult to navigate. The Philadelphia SSI lawyers at Leventhal Sutton & Gornstein can help you present medical records needed to establish that you cannot perform any work that exists in the national economy. Your testimony alone is not enough to win your case. Because many doctors are unfamiliar with the legal standards, it is important for you to have the Philadelphia SSI lawyers at LS&G working with your medical providers to get all the required evidence.

In addition, if you are denied SSI benefits, the LS&G team can help you appeal your case. We will help you appeal your case as soon as possible within the 60 day window. It is possible to be denied a second and even a third time, which means your case could be sent to the Social Security Appeals Court and the Federal Court. Our lawyers can help you navigate this exhausting process.

Contact Us

At Leventhal Sutton & Gornstein, we handle all cases on a contingency fee basis. Our Philadelphia Social Security Disability lawyers can help you pursue your disability claim with efficiency and effectiveness. To schedule a free initial consultation, complete the form on our website or call us at 215-357-3300 or toll-free at 800-889-6101.

Do you have any questions? Call Toll Free 800-889-6101 or Free Case Evaluation