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Understanding SSI benefits essential for Tennesseans

Many Tennesseans may be familiar with Social Security disability benefits, which may be available when a person has a qualifying disability, or Social Security retirement benefits. They may be less familiar with the Social Security Administration's Supplemental Security Income program, however. Significantly, some individuals may be able to receive both SSI benefits and other disability or retirement benefits, but it can be helpful to understand who may qualify for SSI benefits and how the program works.

Like SSDI benefits, SSI benefits are available in monthly payments. Qualified recipients are persons who have limited financial resources who are also disabled, blind or over the age of 65. One significant distinction between SSDI benefits and SSI benefits is that there is no prior work requirement for SSI benefits, as there is for SSDI benefits. This means that a person whose disability has prevented them from working for their entire life may meet SSI requirements for benefits.

There are important limitations on what property an individual or couple may own and still receive SSI benefits, however. For example, an individual may own no more than $2,000 in order to qualify for SSI benefits, though a couple may own up to $3,000 in assets. However, despite these prescribed limitations, the SSA has created many exceptions that allow individuals and couples to retain other assets for their support and comfort, including a home to live in, as well as a vehicle for transportation.

SSI-related benefits may seem confusing at first, but they can provide tremendous relief for someone in need. An attorney may be able to offer additional helpful guidance regarding the availability of SSI benefits for an individual or couple in Tennessee.

Source: The Motley Fool, "What Is Supplemental Security Income?" Dan Caplinger, accessed Aug. 19, 2016

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