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Supplemental security income can help disabled applicants

Disability insurance is a vital part of the safety net for American workers and citizens. The sources of funding are as diverse as the reasons for applying for disability coverage, so applicants should understand the basic sources and limits of benefits.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is issued as a disability payment to people with income below a certain level. This is different than Social Security disability insurance (SSDI), which is issued out of the trust fund to those who have paid into it over a minimum number of years. The income limits to receive SSI are quite strict and can be complicated.

The federal benefit rate (FBR) is set annually as the monthly income limit, as well as the disability payment, to receive SSI benefits. In 2017, the FBR is $735 per month for individuals and $1,103 per month for couples. Your qualifying income cannot exceed the FBR to receive benefits, although not all income is counted against the limit.

In addition, people who may qualify for SSI, which is administered by a federal program, may also be eligible for a state supplement, offered by Kentucky and most other states. Qualifications and amounts for this supplement may depend on inability to work, marital status, dependencies or other factors.

If a person is earning more than $1,170 per month are considered to be engaged in "substantial gainful activity," and is therefore unable to receive SSI benefits. This limit may extend to $1,950 per month if the beneficiary is blind, requires a service animal or has another inability to work in some ways.

Other factors may be considered, such as a parent's income if an SSI applicant is a dependent of a working person. Applicants or potential applicants for SSI or SSDI benefits may explore these requirements to support or appeal their claims.

Source: Disability secrets, "Income Limits & SSI Disability Eligibility," Beth Laurence, J.D., accessed Aug. 04, 2017

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