In addition to disability, the disability claimant may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income, or “SSI.” To be eligible for SSI benefits, the disability claimant must suffer from a severed condition. The level of severity is measured by the effect the condition has upon the ability of the claimant to work. Furthermore, the debilitating condition must significantly interfere with the daily activities in which the SSI claimant engages. A disability claimant must suffer from a disabling condition for twelve months. A claimant will be denied if medical records prove the SSI claimant’s condition will resolve itself within the twelve month frame of reference.
If a claimant’s condition is not severe enough to prevent them from going back to work, SSI benefits will not be available. In this, the debilitating condition must sufficiently limit a claimant’s mental and/or physical abilities such that they cannot return to the kind of work they have performed in the past. A denial can also result if the SSI claimant has enough educational or vocational experience, education, or training such that other types of work could be performed.
Denials of SSI claims for lack of severity of condition translate into distinct categories. A claimant who cannot perform strenuous work or must remain sitting while working would be categorized as having the work capacity to perform sedentary tasks. A claimant seeking SSI benefits may also be categorized as having the ability to work light or medium level of work. In any event, this remaining ability to perform different types of work is called Residual Functional Capacity by the Social Security Administration. Residual Functional Capacity, or “RFC” as it is called in the disability genre, does not always have to be physically-related.
Mental limitations are taken into consideration in determining eligibility for SSI benefits too. In this, certain mental disabilities may limit an individual’s ability to concentrate, retain information, or learn. Some mental residual functional capacity limitations adversely impact a claimant’s ability to deal with supervisors or co-workers. Disability attorneys play a critical role in assisting those claimants who have been denied SSI benefits by insuring their medical information (both mental and physical) is currently and correctly provided to the Social Security Administration.
There are also financial considerations as part of the eligibility determination for SSI benefits. In this, the SSI claimant’s financial resources and means are taken into consideration. Financial resources can be attributed to the SSI claimant by virtue of income earned in the household as a whole. The claimant with excess financial means, assets, and resources may find themselves ineligible for SSI benefits.