July 2017


  1. WHAT IS SSI? Supplemental Security Income is a federal program providing funds for persons who are aged, blind or disabled. To be eligible for SSI the applicant must be at least age 65 or must be blind or disabled. In addition, the applicant must be meet income and resource requirements.
  2. WHAT ARE THE INCOME AND RESOURCE LIMITS? If monthly income is below $710 and resources do not exceed $2,000 then your disabled child may be eligible for SSI.
  3. DEEMED INCOME Before your child turns 18, SSI deems the income of the parent(s) as available to support the child. Therefore, unless income of the parent(s) is sufficiently low the disabled child will be ineligible for SSI. After age 18 the deeming rules don't apply and your child may apply for SSI provided he or she has resources less than $2,000.
  4. APPLYING FOR SSI BENEFITS Application for benefits is through Social Security. When applying for SSI payments, Social Security will ask detailed information about the child's medical condition and about how it affects his or her ability to perform daily activities. You will be asked to give permission to the doctors, teach therapist, and other professionals who have information about your child's condition to send information to Social Security.
  5. DISABILITY DETERMINATION SERVICES Is the Virginia state office that makes the determination of disability. Social Security sends all the personal and medical information to that office for a determination. If the applicant's disability is deemed to have occurred before the age of 22, the applicant is under the childhood benefit program. This is important because upon the death of a parent the child may be eligible for survivor benefits based on the parent's work record. This is not true for someone who becomes disabled later in life.
  6. WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOUR CHILD IS AWARDED BENEFITS The parent or appropriate person, will be required to become the Representative Payee of the disabled recipient. Social Security appoints the Rep Payee who receives the SSI award in an account under the recipient's social security number but controlled by the Rep Payee.
  7. INCOME SUPPORT AND MAINTENANCE If the SSI recipient is living in the house of another (like a parent) and receives food and shelter the recipient's SSI income is reeducated by one-third unless pro rata share of expenses is paid. This may require the parent to set an actual rental agreement with their child showing monthly rent is paid by the disabled child to the parent to obtain full benefits.

Edward Zetlin Law is experienced in public benefits for the Developmentally Disabled and other issues involving Elder Law and Special Needs Planning issues. Don't hesitate to call if you face such an issue or if you have additional questions. Edward Zetlin Law would be happy to discuss. Please contact us at 703-379-0442 or e-mail at

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