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Can You Get SSI if You’ve Never Worked?

Can You Get SSI if You’ve Never Worked?

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Can You Get SSI if You’ve Never Worked?

If you live with a disability, you can receive financial assistance by filing a disability claim with the Social Security Administration (SSA). The federal government agency conducts a thorough review of your claim to determine whether you live with a qualifying medical condition, as well as endure the severity of symptoms listed in the medical guide called the Blue Book. To be eligible for disability benefits, you also have to meet other criteria, including demonstrating you have missed work for 12 consecutive months. There, you cannot get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) if you never have worked.

Another program offered by the SSA is called Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Can you get SSI if you’ve never worked? The answer is yes because SSI requires different standards for applicants to meet than the standards followed by the SSA for approving claims for SSDI. Although you do not have to show a work history to qualify for SSI, you have to meet other standards to receive financial assistance. As of late November 2021, nearly eight million people living in the United States received SSI benefits.

Another difference between SSI and SSDI concerns how each program is funded. Although the SSA manages SSI, the federal agency does not fund the program as it does for SSDI. Instead, SSI receives funding from the general revenues of the United States Department of the Treasury. In addition, a majority of states supplement the financial contribution made by the Department of the Treasury by funding SSI as well.

If you need financial assistance to pay for basic daily expenses, you might be eligible to receive compensation from the SSI program. The team of Social Security attorneys at Morgan & Morgan reviews your claim before you submit it to the SSA to ensure you meet all the criteria established by the federal government agency. We also provide legal support for clients that file an SSDI claim to the SSA.

Schedule a free case evaluation to learn more about what you need to provide the SSA for you to receive approval of an SSI application.

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  • How Does SSI Compare to SSDI?

    The SSA manages both the SSI and SSDI programs. SSI falls under Title 16 of the Social Security Act, with funding for the program coming from the money held in the general treasury. SSDI falls under Title II of the Social Security Act, with funding provided by the Social Security trust fund. One of the most significant differences between the two federally-administered programs is that SSDI requires applicants to demonstrate a work history, while SSI provides financial assistance to applicants that meet the guidelines established for a disability and for receiving financial assistance because of poverty conditions.

    The SSA makes SSI available for individuals that have never worked or have not worked enough to meet the criteria required for SSDI eligibility. SSI also covers people that file a claim for disability benefits, but have not worked for a long time to qualify for SSDI. If you never have worked, you do not qualify for SSDI benefits. 

  • What Is the Process of Filing a Claim for SSI Benefits?

    Before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, applicants for the SSI program filed an application in person at the nearest Social Security field office. During the pandemic, the SSA took SSI applications by phone or through an online portal. With Social Security field offices opening back up at the start of 2022, you have the option to file your SSI claim in person. One of the advantages of filing an SSI claim in person is the SSA typically processes in-person claims faster than they process claims filed through other communication channels.
    After receiving your SSI claim, an SSA representative sends the claim to an agency referred to as

    Disability Determination Services (DDS). DDS immediately assigns your claim to someone who processes the medical section for review. A disability claims manager starts contacting the healthcare providers listed in your claim to request copies of your medical records. Because some healthcare providers are notoriously slow in responding to requests for medical records by DDS, having a Social Security lawyer on your side can speed up the process for giving DDS what it needs.

    Eventually, your medical records arrive at DDS for a comprehensive analysis. Copies of diagnostic tests, treatment programs, rehabilitation sessions provide a disability examiner with evidence regarding your disability. The disability examiner working your claim consults with a physician who provides consulting support for the agency. You also should request a written statement from your primary doctor that provides a prognosis on whether you will make a full or partial recovery.

  • How Does DDS Determine Whether I Am Eligible for SSI?

    The medical examiner from DDS who is assigned to your claim wants medical records that go back no more than 60 days. Unlike SSDI, an SSI disability examiner does not conduct a review to determine whether you can work with a disability. The key to having an SSI claim approved involves submitting persuasive evidence that proves the disability you suffer from prevents you from completing basic tasks. The records submitted by your physician play an important role in determining the decision made by DDS. Your medical records should describe what you can do and what you cannot do. However, the medical examiner from DDS might require you to undergo a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) assessment.

    What Is an RFC Assessment?

    The SSA requires some applicants for disability benefits to complete an RFC assessment, which measures the mental and physical capabilities of an applicant. The goal of an RFC assessment for someone who has a disability is to determine what type of work the applicant can complete. For example, if an applicant has sustained a ruptured disc, an RFC assessment measures whether the applicant can work in physically demanding jobs that require a significant amount of time lifting heavy objects.

    On the other hand, an RFC assessment requested for an SSI applicant that has never worked does not take into account the professional capabilities of the applicant. Instead, an RFC assessment for an SSI applicant who has never worked measures how well the applicant performs basic daily tasks. Some of the tests an assessor might run include walking for 10 minutes at a moderate pace or filling out a standard loan application. An RFC assessment for an applicant who has worked, but not for a long time, might include some vocationally related tests.

  • How Can You GET SSI if You’ve Never Worked?

    The SSI application process involves completing two sections: Medical criteria and the value of personal assets. If you are between 18 and 65 and you have never worked, you must receive a diagnosis for mental or physical impairment. For example, if traumatic head trauma has made it difficult, if not impossible to complete simple daily tasks, you must provide diagnostic proof that you are mentally impaired. The diagnosed disability must be expected to last at least one year as well.

    Another factor that differentiates SSI from SSDI is that SSI requires applicants to meet several financial asset standards. Your financial resources, including the value of cash, bonds, stocks, and bank accounts, must be valued below a certain limit. To qualify for SSI, the value of your assets must be below $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple. Not all assets count when calculating the value of your financial resources. The SSA does not include the value of your car, home, household goods, and personal possessions when calculating the value of your financial resources.

  • How Do I Find the Best SSI Attorney?

    Because of the complexity of SSI and SSDI rules, working with a disability lawyer can provide you with the legal support needed to get a claim approved by the SSA. However, you should search for a Social Security disability attorney who matches the following criteria.


    Experience matters when filing a claim for SSI. At Morgan & Morgan, our SSI lawyers not only have the experience to file an SSI claim, but we also have established a record of success by helping clients get their SSI claims approved by the SSA. The SSI lawyer from Morgan & Morgan that you hire will determine whether you should file an SSI or SSDI claim, as well as provide legal support during every step of the claim process.

    Specializes in Social Security Disability Law

    Although many attorneys claim to specialize in Social Security disability law, they also litigate other types of law. At Morgan & Morgan, our national presence has allowed us to attract the highest-rated disability attorneys in the United States. We break down our law practice by specialties, which means when you hire a disability lawyer from Morgan & Morgan, you hire an attorney that practices disability law exclusively.

    Provides Legal Support Throughout the Claim Process

    Knowing how you can get SSI if you’ve never worked is much easier when your legal counsel supports you every step of the way towards the approval of an SSI claim. Unfortunately, some disability attorneys meet with clients during a free case evaluation, only to disappear throughout the remainder of the claim process. You have too much at stake financially for an inexperienced disability lawyer to delegate responsibilities to less experienced attorneys.

    Positive Feedback

    One of the advantages of working with an experienced Social Security disability lawyer is you can conduct research that includes the feedback left by clients on sites such as Yelp and Google. When you read the positive reviews left by our clients, you should notice common themes like integrity, transparency, and responsive communication. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has awarded us with its highest reputation rating of A+.

  • Learn How to Get SSI if You’ve Never Worked

    If you live with a disability and have never worked, applying for SSI represents the most effective way to receive financial assistance. To submit the most convincing claim, you should hire a disability attorney to help you gather and organize the medical records you need to prove you live with a disability. A disability lawyer from Morgan & Morgan also ensures you file your SSI claim before the deadline, as well as monitors the progress of your claim as it moves through the SSA review process.

    Schedule a free case evaluation today to learn whether you can get SSI if you’ve never worked.

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Last updated on May 31, 2023

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