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Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in North Carolina

Some persons with a disability and no longer able to work qualify for Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). It's a federal program in place to prevent vulnerable persons with a disability fall into economic hardship. There's also another federal financial assistance program known as Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Like the SSDI program, this program was created by the Social Security Act but under Title XVI and is also administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA).

Though the SSI program is available, it doesn't mean anyone who applies will be awarded benefits. In fact, the majority of applications are denied. According to the most recently published SSI Annual Statistical Report, 2018:

  • In 2017, a total of 848,695 decisions were made on SSI applications at the initial adjudicative level, and only 35.7 percent resulted in SSI benefits.
  • In 2017, a total of 172,649 decisions were made on SSI applications at the reconsideration level and only 10.4 percent resulted in an award of SSI benefits.
  • In 2017, a total of 6,544 decisions were made on SSI applications at the hearing or higher level, and only 27.1 percent resulted in an award of SSI benefits.

These statistics are not far off from previous years. A good amount of applications are denied and a lot of time is exhausted to fight for these benefits. For some of you, that may have been time well-spent, but for many of you, it could have been time well-spent if an attorney was guiding you through the process and preventing delays and other impediments that cost you time and money.

At Lloyd King Law Firm PLLC, we dedicate our practice to you: disabled persons who need supplement security income. Contact attorney Lloyd King if you live in North Carolina, are disabled, and want to file a disability claim or appeal a denied claim.

What is Supplemental Security Income?

Supplemental Security Income is a financial assistance program paid monthly to help qualifying persons pay for things like:

  • food
  • clothing
  • shelter.

Oftentimes these benefits are filed at the same time a person files for SSI benefits. But SSI benefits are different from SSDI benefits in that there was no work requirement, plus these benefits can be made available to blind persons as well as children with a disability or aged persons (over 65 years old) who do not have a disability.

When is a person eligible for Supplemental Security Income?

There are several criteria that must be met before you will qualify for SSID benefits. You can qualify for SSI if you are:

  • aged 65 years or older;
  • blind; or
  • disabled.

If you meet one of the above criteria, then you must also satisfy the following:

  • are a U.S. citizen or a national and some noncitizen residents
  • are a resident of one of the 50 states, Washington, D.C., or the Northern Mariana Islands
  • was not absent from the country for more than a full calendar month (30 consecutive days or more)
  • are not confined to an institution at the government's expense (e.g., prison, city or county rest home, halfway house, or most other public institutions with exceptions)
  • limited income requirements
  • limited resources.

You must also be willing to give SSA permission to contact financial institutions to confirm your financials.

If you are applying specifically for Supplemental Security Income Disability (SSID), then you have an additional requirement: proving your health condition meets the legal definition of disability. The three main factors to determine eligibility for someone who is disabled are the disability itself, limited income, limited resources.

Medical Eligibility

For SSID benefits, a person is considered disabled when he or she has a medical condition that

  1. prevents him or her from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA);
  2. is a medically determinable physical or mental impairment, usually listed by the government in but not limited to the Listing of Impairments; and
  3. is expected to result in death or last for a minimum of 12 consecutive months.

Basically, to determine if the disability qualifies, the SSA considers the severity of the disability and your capacity to perform job duties as well as day-to-day functions, like bathing, eating, and dressing.

Limited Income

To qualify for SSI benefits because you have a disability, you must meet certain income requirements, which change January 1st of each new year based on cost-of-living. For 2020, this means any monthly income you earned must not exceed:

  • $783 for individuals; or
  • $1,175 for couples.

These amounts are also the maximum Federal amounts for 2020. So if you are an eligible individual, then the most you could receive in SSI benefits per month is $783. Likewise, if you are an eligible individual with an eligible spouse, the most you could receive is $1,175 per month. The cost-of-living increase for 2020 was 1.6 percent.

 Not all income is included in the above-limited amount, but most of the following will be included:

  • wages
  • Social Security benefits
  • pensions.

Asset & Resource Limitations

For individuals, the sum of your assets and resources must not exceed $2,000. For couples, the limit is $3,000.

Assets and resources that qualify for the resource limit include:

  • real estate (if you own property worth more than $2,000 while applying for SSID benefits, you may be able to apply while trying to sell the property)
  • bank accounts
  • cash
  • stocks
  • bonds.

Not included as resources to qualify for SSID include:

  • your home and land where you live
  • life insurance policies valuing less than $1,500
  • your car (in most situations)
  • burial plots for you or immediate family members
  • up to $1,500 in burial funds for you and another $1,500 for a spouse.

What Disqualifies a Person for SSID Benefits?

You could be denied SSID benefits if:

  • You do not meet the disability requirement.
  • You did not provide sufficient medical evidence.
  • Your income exceeds the allowable limit.
  • Your resources exceed the allowable limit.
  • You are institutionalized or otherwise living in a public institution
  • You are not a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident.
  • You were out of the country for more than 30 consecutive days in one year.

There are other reasons, too, both medical and technical, that could lead to a denial. You will have an option to appeal in most instances (many technical denials do not qualify for an appeal). On appeal, you can add additional medical evidence.

How Do I Apply for SSID Benefits in North Carolina?

To apply for SSID benefits in North Carolina, you can find the forms online or go into a local Social Security Administration office. Before applying, you want to gather the following documents:

  • Social Security card
  • Proof of age, e.g., birth certificate
  • Home information, e.g., mortgage, lease, landlord
  • Payroll slips
  • Bank books or checkbooks
  • Insurance policies
  • Burial fund records
  • Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of doctors, hospitals, and clinics
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen status.

Once the forms are completed, you can either file online, by mail, or in-person. A few local SSA offices are listed below, but there are many others throughout North Carolina.

US Social Security Administration
4701 Old Wake Forest Road
Raleigh, NC 27609

US Social Security Administration
833 Gregory Drive
Roanoke Rapids, NC 27870

US Social Security Administration
2201 Coronation Boulevard, #100
Charlotte, NC 28227

You can find out which local field applies to you by calling the Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213.

If your application is denied at the initial level or after it was reconsidered, you can appeal. These hearings are held at one of four Offices of Disability Adjudication and Review located in:

  • Charlotte
  • Fayetteville
  • Greensboro
  • Raleigh.

Contact a Disability Benefits Attorney in North Carolina Today

Lloyd King is committed to helping his clients with disabilities get the Federal benefits they deserve. He understands the system. He knows the law. And he helps complete applications or file appeals only after a comprehensive review of the facts and evidence. Contact Lloyd King Law Firm PLLC today.

Contact Us Today!

If you have been denied Social Security disability benefits, or you need help completing the application process, call me to discuss your case. I am a former Social Security Disability Judge and I am here to help!