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Supplemental Security Income
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Close-up of an elderly person's hands resting on a wooden cane, symbolizing the support and stability provided by Supplemental Security Income (SSI) services. The person is wearing a grey sweater, indicating a sense of comfort and security in their daily life.

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      What is Supplemental Security Income in Virginia?

      Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program for individuals with disabilities and older adults who have little or no income or do not have other types of financial resources.

      Montagna Law is here to help and support you every step of the way as you file your SSI and other Social Security disability benefits.

      Let’s look at many of the criteria the federal government requires and what you need to back up your claim.

      Eligibility of Who Can Get SSI

      If you are an individual who is over the age of 65, you may qualify for SSI. You may also qualify if you have a disability or you are blind. If you are an individual with disabilities, you may qualify as either a child or an adult. One of the primary determining factors, regardless of age or disability, will be the availability of income and financial resources.

      What is The Difference Between SSDI And SSI?

      Infographic comparing Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). On the left, SSI criteria include being 65 years or older, blind, or disabled, having income restrictions, and potential eligibility for Medicaid. On the right, SSDI criteria include meeting earning requirements, being unable to work due to disability, and potential eligibility for Medicare. Both sections are highlighted with yellow headers and dark blue content boxes.

      SSI and SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) are both programs administered by the U.S. federal government. SSI is solely based on age or disability and SSDI is based on disability, but also factors in previous work credit. Most states allow SSI recipients to also automatically qualify for Medicaid to help cover healthcare needs. SSDI for disabled workers is a little different in that coverage, if approved, will go through Medicare.

      Can I Get Both Social Security and SSI?

      Circumstances vary, but it is possible to qualify for both SSI and Social Security benefits. Working with an attorney may be beneficial because they can help guide clients through the process.

      At Montagna Law, we:

      • Know what information should be included in an application, as well as what should be added to strengthen an appeal of a denied claim
      • Access Electronic Record Express (ERE), an online platform allowing us to review aspects of the client’s Social Security file
      • Regularly review the ERE for status, see which analyst is assigned to the case, and determine if any additional information is needed
      • Upload documents with guaranteed confirmation of filing

      The ERE platform is NOT available to individuals, only to representatives.

      If Denied, is it Better to Reapply or File an Appeal?

      Many believe filing a new claim is better than appealing a denied one. This is not true. In some situations, a new claim will be denied when it was denied previously. Because of this, it is important to go through the appeals process rather than file a new claim.

      Filing a new claim may result in a loss of entitlement to certain past periods of benefits. Also, the percentage of a favorable decision is higher at the hearing level than in the initial stages of a claim. Montagna Law understands precisely how to present a case to give the best chances of success.

      What Are the Income and Resource Limits for the SSI Program?

      These figures will likely change year to year, but the maximum in 2024 is $954 for an individual and $1,415 for a couple. This amount is affected by other factors, such as if you have any other type of income.

      Why Would I Need an Attorney for SSI in Virginia?

      Hiring an attorney is beneficial because they can help smooth the process. If you are denied the first time, your attorney can prepare an appeal.

      Why Working With a Skilled SSI Attorney is Beneficial

      Appealing a Social Security Disability claim can be lengthy and require a highly successful lawyer. In fact, it is ideal for anyone filing a claim to hire a lawyer before they begin the process.

      The GAO explains through its intensive research on SSD claims that “claimants who had representatives, such as an attorney…were allowed benefits at a rate nearly three times higher than those without representatives.” This shows that the knowledge a highly qualified Social Security Disability attorney can bring to the table far outweighs many factors for consideration in SSD claims.

      How Montagna Law Can Help

      Professional-looking man in a suit sitting confidently at a desk, symbolizing expert guidance and support. Behind him is a bookshelf with organized blue binders and decorative plants, creating an atmosphere of professionalism and reliability for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) services.

      Working with a skilled attorney may increase the likelihood of receiving approval on your application. At Montagna Law, we present the best possible arguments and obtain supportive medical evidence. If necessary, we will do this at each level of the appeals process.

      Our attorneys are familiar with the Social Security review process and the rules that govern eligibility. We are knowledgeable of how to work within the structure to prevent denial. While we cannot guarantee a favorable SSA answer, we can guarantee we will make it extremely difficult for them to deny you.

      Even if you filed an initial application without representation, we can review the information submitted to find any inconsistencies or missing elements that are crucial to proving your disability. The information in your initial application remains a part of your permanent claim for benefits. This means that any errors or omissions may affect your claim throughout the entire process.

      A Client’s Experience

      Montagna Law represented a legally blind client who was denied benefits. One would assume the blind client would automatically be approved. After all, he was declared legally blind in both eyes by his doctor. However, he was not. Our client came to us after being denied.

      Social Security had denied the client, stating he failed to provide evidence in support of his disability claim. We appealed and gained access to his file online. A review of his file showed that Social Security failed to obtain medical records from our client’s ophthalmologist.

      Our law firm immediately obtained and filed those medical records, and completed a Function Report, Third Party Statement, and Work History Report. All evidence was submitted within two months of the appeal being filed. However, it would take an additional eight months for Social Security to even begin processing this case.

      Due to the significant delay and the severity of the client’s condition (bilateral blindness), we filed a Congressional Inquiry for a Representative to inquire about the delay in this case. Ultimately, we were able to obtain a favorable decision on Reconsideration. While we are pleased we were able to assist in obtaining benefits for our blind client, we were frustrated that it took more than a year to obtain those benefits.

      We share this story because we wish to give hope to those who feel defeated by going through this process. Each and every one of our clients would much rather be anywhere else but here, disabled, unable to work, and having to fight so hard to convince others of their disability when the last thing they want to be is disabled. But if a blind man can be denied, you know the system isn’t fair. We are dedicated to helping you achieve success in your case. We love what we do, know what to do, and would love to represent you!

      Work With an Attorney Sooner Rather Than Later

      The earlier you hire a disability attorney, the better. Even if you have not yet filed an application, we invite you to consult with us to help evaluate if you have a strong case or if there are areas of improvement needed before filing, such as:

      • Medical treatment
      • Reduction in work hours
      • Filing for early retirement (age 62) while applying for disability

      The attorneys at Montagna Law can help put your life on track while pending the outcome of the Social Security process.

      While starting earlier is better, remember that it’s never too late to speak with an experienced law firm. As attorneys, we are bound by professional rules and ethical obligations. We hold ourselves to an extremely high standard and will handle your case carefully and diligently regardless of which stage it is in.

      Additional Resources

      Why Work With Montagna Law

      Montagna Law brings years of experience to the SSI process because it is our focus, dedication, and passion. We thoroughly understand how the process works, why claims are denied, and what it takes to put forward the best claim possible. We know the do’s and don’ts of disability claims. We know how to help people by getting a claim on the right track. We hope to be able to achieve that for you!

      Your Montagna Law attorney will assist in collecting and presenting relevant medical documentation for your Social Security disability case. Our legal team is dedicated to retrieving medical evidence that sets forth functional limitations that limit your ability to work. Because of this, it is essential that your functional limitations are established in the medical record or obtained from the treating physicians. This is something Social Security will simply not do on its own. We can do this for you to put you in the best position to be approved for SSI or SSDI benefits.

      Your well-being matters to us, and we will do our utmost to help get your application approved as soon as possible.


      “My experience from beginning to end was extremely smooth. From the sweet voice of Grace to the firm handshake from John, all made me feel secure in knowing that I made the best choice of hiring Montagna Law to represent me. You will not regret their service.” — Constance H.

      “Mr. Montagna is an amazing attorney. His legal expertise and dedication exceeded my expectations. Mr. Montagna provided clear, and insightful guidance throughout the entire legal process. His professionalism and accessibility are unmatched in his field. He was very prompt, [and] if I had any questions, he kept me informed at every stage. I would highly recommend Mr. Montagna to anyone in need of legal representation.” — Tyler.

      “I have been a client since 2014. Because the customer service is exceptional, I have established a rapport with everyone in the office. As a customer for 8 years, it is noted that this firm goes above and beyond for the clients.” — Eric E.

      Trying to Get SSI Benefits? Contact Us to See How We Can Help.

      Social Security Disability’s lengthy application process, and even longer appeals processes, are best handled by qualified SSD attorneys. Social Security claimants represented by SSD and SSI lawyers will have the highest chance of awards, and the most peace of mind through the processes of Social Security Disability claims and appeals.

      To schedule a legal consultation for yourself or a loved one, contact Montagna Law, it may just change your life! Our Virginia Social Security disability lawyers are here to help you navigate the process to put you and your family members in the best possible place to win your case. Call our law office at 877-622-8100 or fill out our online contact form today.

      Montagna Law proudly services the entire Hampton Roads area, including Norfolk, Chesapeake, Virginia Beach, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Hampton. If you have another legal issue, the law office of Montagna Law is also experienced in a variety of other practice areas. Contact us today!

      Frequent Answered Questions

      What is the Application Process for SSI?

      The application claims process for SSI requires a visit to your local Social Security Administration (SSA) and filling out an application. Upon arrival, there are several steps involved, which can be overwhelming. Steps occur in the following order.

      • Initial decision
      • Reconsideration
      • Hearing
      • Appeals
      • Federal court

      The process is complex and requires extensive attention to detail. For instance:

      • Many assume SSA will obtain the medical evidence necessary to approve a benefits claim, but this is untrue, the federal agency does the bare minimum to obtain evidence of your medical condition.
      • The burden of proof is on the disabled person to prove they have a disability.
      • A key component is to provide the SSA with adequate medical evidence, but lack of sufficient evidence is one of the most common reasons why disability claims are denied.

      Essentially, Social Security is a structure of denial. Applicants do not have the benefit of a presumption of disability. Rather, they have a high burden of proof. Working with a skilled SSI attorney who is knowledgeable about Social Security disability law will help reduce the stress. They can do the work to help collect and present relevant documentation, which can increase the chances of approval.

      What is the Average SSI Monthly Payment?

      Most individuals, even if approved, will not receive the maximum amount. The average is about $700. Adults between 18 and 64 will receive approximately $740, under 18 about $800, and aged 65 and older, about $575. The amount will vary, depending on your specific circumstances.

      Does Supplemental Security Income Back Pay?

      SSI does award back payments. However, these payments are awarded in installments and not as a lump sum. You will receive one-third shortly after approval, one in six months, and a final payment after another six months.