this window to return to course.

SSI Eligibility

There are three basic criteria that have to be met.

First of all, a person must be either aged, disabled or blind.

Just because a person might meet the disability criteria to

receive services through the state VR agency or meet disability

criteria for another program doesn't mean that they are going to

necessarily meet the disability eligibility criteria, for the

SSI program. The Social Security Administration has its own

very distinct definition of disability that was established in

the law. Disability is defined for the program as the inability

to engage in any substantial gainful work activity by reason of

any physical or medical impairment that has lasted or is

expected to last for a minimum continuous period of at least 12

months, or is expected to result in death.


A cornerstone of this disability criteria is the SGA

consideration, which is substantial gainful work activity. So,

it's not enough for a person just to have a documented physical

or mental disability, but that disability has to render the

person incapable of performing substantial gainful work

activity. And SSA uses an earnings guideline and an earnings

amount that they designate as SGA.

The next criteria is that the person must have limited

income. And Social Security, when considering a person's

eligibility for SSI, looks at the income that they have from all

sources, both earned and unearned income. And they apply the

person's countable income in the income test that we will look

at in just a second. In addition, a person must have countable

resources that are below certain allowable limits to be eligible

for SSI.

Incentives by Susan O'Mara, available online: The seminar was produced by Virginia Commonwealth University's T-TAP project funded by the Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor (Number E9-4-2-01217). The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the U.S. Department of Labor. Nor does mention of trade names, commercial products,or organizations imply the endorsement by the U.S. Department of Labor.