In our last post, we we discussed Social Security Disability (SSD) as a way for hurt truck drivers to pay bills when they cannot work.  In this segment of “Paying Bills After An Injury”, we discuss a similar program called Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

SSI is a federal government benefit program that pays monthly benefits to persons with limited income and resources who are disabled, blind, or age 65 or older.

SSI benefits are administered by the Social Security Administration. But, SSI is different than Social Security Disability (SSD).  Unlike SSD benefits, SSI benefits are needs based.  SSI benefits are not based on the amount of money you have paid into the Social Security system. In other words, no current or prior employment is required to qualify for SSI benefits.

SSI recipients in most states can also have their benefits supplemented by Medicaid to help pay for doctor bills, prescriptions and other health care costs.  We will discuss Medicaid benefits in an upcoming post.

To get SSI benefits, a person must be disabled, blind, or at least 65 years old and have “limited” outside income and resources.  The meaning of “disabled” under SSI is the same as under SSD. The Social Security Administration (SSA) takes several factors into account in determining whether a claimant is disabled.

Generally, a trucker is “disabled” when he or she is not capable of doing substantial, gainful employment and his or her condition has existed or is expected to exist for at least a 12 month period.  Benefits under this program start five full months after the trucker becomes disabled.

Proving that you are “disabled” can be difficult.  Social Security denies approximately 70% – 75% of the applications for disability. Using the services of an experienced Social Security attorney is important because many of these denials are turned into accepted claims after either reconsideration or a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.  Using an attorney greatly increases your chances of success.

The amount of monthly SSI benefits is set annually by Congress and is typically adjusted every January to reflect the current cost of living. For 2012, the benefits are $698/month for an individual and $1,048/month for a couple.  SSI benefit payments are not taxable.

If you have been denied SSI benefits, contact us at 855-4-HURT-TRUCKER (855-448-7887) or email us at [email protected] or contact us on Facebook or Twitter.  We would be happy to talk with you about your claim free of charge.  If we can’t represent you, we will help you find an attorney who can.