The People's Guide

35th Edition 2013-2014

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Page 23 of 71

The People's Guide 2013-2014 24 SSI & CAPI SSI AND CAPI SSI ("Supplemental Security Income") is a cash benefit program for low-income persons 65 and over and for blind and disabled persons of any age, includ- ing infants and children. CAPI (Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants) is a similar program for some non-citizens who cannot get SSI. (See pg. 62 Guide for Non-Citizens.) The Social Security Administration pro- vides a good description of the program at security-income/index.htm SSI may be your entire income, or it may add to other income you already get so long as your total income is not more than $20 over the SSI maximum benefit. You must be a U.S. citizen or a qualified immigrant living in the country legally to get SSI. The current adult SSI grant in California can be up to $854 depending on your living situation and resources. SSI grant amounts differ depending on several factors including whether the recipient is blind, a child, is homeless. WHO IS ELEGIBLE To get SSI, at least one of the following must apply: • You are age 65 or older • You are blind; the vision in your best eye is no better than 20/200 with glasses or your tunnel vision is 20% or less • You are a disabled adult by SSI stan- dards; your medical records and/or examination by a doctor chosen by the state confirms that your physi- cal or mental impairments can be expected to keep you, or have kept you, from working for 12 continu- ous months or can be expected to result in death • You are a child under 18 who has a medically proven "marked and severe" physical or mental disability that would keep you from working if you were an adult or significantly interfere with your daily activities. You can't get SSI if the disability is based on alcohol or drug dependency. If you are alcohol or drug dependent you can qualify for SSI only on some other basis, such as age or another disability (for example, liver or kidney or mental problems.) You cannot get SSI any month in which you are in prison or jail, in violation of parole or probation, or a fugitive from a felony. 1. Income Your "countable income" may not be above the maximum benefit level. Subtract the following from your "gross" (total) income to get your countable income: • $20 per month of your total income • $65 per month of any earned income and half of your remaining earned income • All work expenses if you are blind • Any impairment-related work ex- penses • All tax refunds • Any portion of scholarships or grants that is for tuition, fees, and school expenses • Federal undergraduate grants and loans (totally exempt) • Foster care payments • A third of all child support payments from an absentee parent if you are caring for a child • CalFresh/Food Stamps (which you won't get after you are approved for SSI) • Any income, if you are blind or disabled, that has been set aside as part of a "PASS" (Plan to Achieve Self-Support) approved by the Social Security office • Federal housing and relocation • assistance payments • Earnings of a blind or disabled stu- dent under age 22 up to $1,620 a month, maximum $5,200 a year • Payments from FEMA, Red Cross and other agencies for disaster-related losses • Money you receive to pay for a lost or stolen belonging • Reverse annuity mortgage payments made to the recipient (counts as a resource, but not as income.) 2. Resources or Assets Your countable resources may not be more than $2000 for one person and $3000 for a couple, (even if only one member of the couple is eligible.) Some resources are not counted: • The home you live in • One car if you use it for work or medi- cal treatment at least four times a year or if it is specially-equipped for a disabled person • Payments from agencies for disaster- related losses • Property used for self-support includ- ing farm land, equipment, store building, inventory, business bank accounts • Retirement accounts (IRAs, tax deferred annuities) belonging to the spouse or parent of an SSI beneficiary or applicant. However, the "cashed-in" value of retirement accounts owned by the SSI benefi- ciary or applicant will count. • Up to $2000 equity value for house- hold goods and personal belongings • Up to $1500 per person for life insurance or burial expenses. If you have too many resources, you can spend them down to meet the limits. You could buy things you need (as long as whatever you buy does not make you go over another limit), or pay off debts. If you give away resources or sell them below a fair price, you can be ineligible for SSI for up to 36 months. If a child eligible for SSI lives with a parent (or parents) not eligible for SSI, a portion of the parent's income and resources may be used to figure the child's SSI cash aid. If a person eligible for SSI lives with a spouse not eligible for SSI, a portion of the spouse's income and resources may be used to figure the SSI cash aid. The Social Security Office can explain the complicated deeming rules and figure the benefit.

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