In order to be eligible for SSI, a person must meet the definition of being aged, disabled, or blind.
- Aged– Being deemed aged consists of attaining the age of 65 or older The Social Security Administration, like the United States Government in general, follows English common law and considers a person on the way to attain an age the day before their birthday.
- Disabled– Being deemed disabled consists of meeting the general disability definition used by the Social Security Administration to be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance:
“Disability means inability to engage in any SGA [substantial gainful activity] by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death, or has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
“The 1967 amendments specified that workers shall be determined to be under a disability only if the physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such severity that the individual is not only unable to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy. This be regardless of whether any of these are true:
- Such work exists in the immediate area in which the claimant lives.
- A specific occupation vacancy exists.
- The claimant would be hired if they applied for work.
“The statute also specifies that ‘work which exists in the national economy resources work which exists in significant numbers either in the region where such individuals exist or in several regions of the country.
Substantial gainful activity (SGA), for the year 2015, is the ability to earn $1,090 gross income in a month’s period for most disabled individuals, and $1,820 for those whose disability includes blindness. In addition, children under the age of 18 can be determined to be disabled for SSI purposes “if the individual has a medically determinable impairment or combination of impairments that causes marked or severe functional limitation(s), and can be expected to result in death, or has lasted or can be expected to last for a incessant period of not less than 12 months.
- Blind– Being deemed blind consists of meeting the following definition:
central visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with the use of a correcting lens. An eye which has a limitation in the field of visualization such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angle no greater than 20 degrees should also be considered as having a central visual acuity of 20/200 or less.
In addition, for SSI purposes, an individual is considered blind regardless of the period of time they are expected to be blind or if they are performing substantial gainful activity.