INDEX: This section gives the descriptions of each section on CPC. You can also view the section's description by hovering the mouse over a section's graphical link.LIVING WITH CP: This section gives my personal experiences on how I love with my own CP. Many of you who are disabled will probably find much of this section's content familiar.TYPES OF CP: This section explains the common types of CP and their classifications based on how they can affect the body.EMAIL DATABASE: This database is the very heart and sole of CPC. It allows people with CP, both young and old, to communicate with each other and share experiences or advice.CPC DIRECTORY: This section is a list of links around the web where you might find other useful information on CP and other disability related content.DISABILITY BULLETIN: This section allows people to post disability related questions to other visitors on the site; announce medical studies; any other information not associated with any current section on the CPC site.SHARE A STORY: This section allows people to share their stories (both good and bad) about living with CP. This is a completely anonymous Section (at your discretion) so that you need not fear people finding out who you are if that is your choice.ADA LAWS: This section is a copy of the Americans with Disabilities Act information site.  It contains the guidelines concerning the Americans with disabilities rights, fairness, and public access.AGING AND CP: This section is a report on how the aging process can affect a body with CP. This should be a must read for all visitors to the site. I will continue to add to this report as new information becomes available.
DISABILITY WORKPLACE: This section can be used as a tool to help aid a disabled individual looking for a job.  You might be surprised at what some of the experts say about how to approach the job market when you are disabled.MEDICAL NEEDS: This section lists online companies where you can purchase medical supplies and equipment. Ordering what you need online offers privacy, convince, and very often cheaper then purchasing from brick and mortar stores.DISABILITY NEWS: This section allows you to keep up with the latest news and events around the US and the world related to the disability community. The section is updated constantly so please visit often.THERAPIES FOR CP: This section discusses some of the different treatments used to treat CP. Some of these include Physical/Occupational Therapy, HBO, TES, Biofeedback and others.AWARDS & WEBRINGS: This Section contains information about the many web rings CPC has joined and awards we have won. It also includes information on how to sign up for our very own web ring or award.FUN STUFF: Occasionally I like to have a little fun on the web. Here you will find information about my hobbies and my many collections of items. This portion of the site is not directly related to CPC. Its just for fun :o)CONTACT CPC: This section allows you to communicate with CPC is several ways including email, ICQ, and out guest book.RECENT UPDATES: This section can be used to find out what changes have been made since you last visited CPC. This page is always updated when CPC is updated no matter how small the update.CAUSE SUPPORT: This section tries to help disabled individuals by supporting several causes that actively promote the awareness and fair treatment of those with disabilities.
HELP: If you are not sure how to use CPC's menu system, click here to get a graphical description on how to use our menu system. HOW SSI WORKS: This section will aid you in finding out if you qualify for Supplemental Security Income.  These rules and regulations are plentiful. CPC strongly recommends you view this section before perusing the SSI route. Common Questions Locate nearest SSA OfficePages

Answers to Common Questions About SSI 2

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CAN I WORK AND STILL COLLECT SSI?
Yes, depending on how much money you earn. The amount of your SSI check is determined by how much other income you receive. When your other income increases, your SSI benefit will decrease. Social Security does not count the first $20 that a person receives from other sources each month, whether unearned income or earned income such as wages. The first $65.00 of earned income is also not counted by Social Security. Therefore, the first $85.00 of your wages will not be counted each month. One half of the money you earn over $85.00 will be counted and deducted from your SSI check each month.

Social Security has many incentives that allow individuals to work without losing SSI eligibility. These incentives include:

  • Impairment related work expenses - Social Security allows SSI recipients and applicants who work to deduct certain work related expenses that are necessary because of the recipients disability. These expenses may be deducted from countable income when determining SSI eligibility and payment amounts. For persons who are blind, the work expenses do not have to be related to the blindness. Examples of impairment related work incentives include, but are not limited to: personal care attendants; transportation; wheelchairs; computers; other assistive technology devices and services.  Note: There are special work rules that apply to individuals who are blind. Contact your local Social Security office or the national Social Security information line at 1-800-772-1213 for more details.
  • Recovery During Vocational Rehabilitation - If an individual with a disability is participating in a vocational rehabilitation program that is likely to lead to self supporting employment, SSI benefits may continue until the end of the program.
  • Sheltered Workshop Payments - All payments that an individual receives at a sheltered workshop are considered earned income. This allows Social Security to exclude more of the income when computing the amount of the SSI benefit.
  • PASS - Plan for Achieving Self Support - A PASS is a work incentive plan that allows individuals with disabilities to exclude some or all of their earned income as countable income for the purposes of SSI eligibility and payment determination. More information about PASS is contained in the next section.
  • Section 1619a - Social Security allows individuals to earn up to $500 per month before they consider the person to be performing "Substantial Gainful Activity" (SGA). Earning more than $500 does not does not stop SSI payments but triggers Social Security to examine whether or not you have medically improved and no longer need the program. Under a special program, Section 1619a, Social Security allows individuals to earn more than $500 each month without triggering the SGA examinations.  In order to take advantage of 1619a work incentives, the SSI recipient must:
  • still be disabled;
  • be eligible for an SSI payment for at least one month before working at an SGA level;
  • meet all other eligibility rules, including the SSI income and resource tests.

WHAT IS PASS?
PASS, or Plan for Achieving Self Support, is a special work incentive program for individuals with disabilities who receive or would like to receive SSI but would also like to work. A PASS allows an individual to set aside or save income and assets to pay for items related to a work goal. The income and assets that are set aside are not counted by Social Security when determining eligibility. Therefore, on a PASS program the individual can become eligible for SSI, increase the monthly SSI check, or retain SSI eligibility when income or resources have increased. Any kind of income can go into a PASS including wages, disability payments, or income of parents or spouse that is considered available to the individual with a disability.

A PASS can fund any item that is directly or indirectly connected to achieving a work goal. The following is a very short list of examples that can be funded with a PASS:

  • College or trade school tuition.
  • Tools and equipment including specially adapted items for a job or home office.
  • Computer and related equipment.
  • A vehicle and/or any special modifications to it.
  • Assistive listening, hearing and speaking devices.

A PASS proposal can be written by anyone, including the individual with the disability. Social Security can assist in writing the PASS and is required to help if requested. The PASS should be written on Social Security's form developed specifically for PASS proposals. The PASS written document must contain several items including:

  • A specific occupational objective;
  • A list of items to be funded and their cost;
  • The income/resources that go into the PASS;
  • Specific savings and disbursement goals;
  • A timetable to achieve the goal.

Social Security must review and approve each PASS before it may be implemented. The individual with a disability must comply with the terms of the approved PASS or must amend the PASS to reflect changes in the employment situation.

For more information about PASS or to obtain a copy of the PASS form, contact your local Social Security office or the national information line at 1-800-772-1213.

CAN I COLLECT SSI AND TANF (Temporary Aid to Needy Families)?
No. Because SSI and AFDC are assistance programs that help families with limited incomes, the income you receive from one program would make you ineligible to receive benefits from the other. You should evaluate each program and decide which will be best for your family.

CAN I COLLECT SSI AND SSDI?
SSDI, or Social Security Disability Insurance, is a program that provides monthly payments to individuals who have disabilities and who have worked and paid into the Social Security system long enough to receive benefits. If you receive SSDI payments, you can supplement them with SSI payments up to $20.00 above the SSI level. Remember, you are only eligible for SSI if you meet the income and assets limitations for the program.

WHAT IF SOCIAL SECURITY CLAIMS THAT THEY OVERPAID ME?
If you agree with Social Security's letter of overpayment, you need to contact your local Social Security office to make arrangements to pay back the money. Repayment arrangements usually involve a reduction in the monthly SSI check for a specific period of time. You may also request a waiver of overpayment, if you are unable to return the money to Social Security.

If you do not agree with the overpayment determination or if your waiver of overpayment request is denied, you may appeal the decision to Social Security.

HOW DO I APPEAL A DECISION MADE BY SOCIAL SECURITY?
If Social Security decides that you are not eligible or no longer eligible for benefits, or that the amount of your payments should be changed, they will send you a letter explaining their decision. The letter will also contain information on how to appeal the decision if you do not agree with Social Security's determination. The appeal request must be submitted in writing within 60 days from the date you receive the letter. Social Security assumes that you receive the letter five days after it is dated.

There are four levels of appeal: Reconsideration, Hearing, Review by the Appeals Council and Federal Court Action. You have the right to be represented at each level of the process.

  1. Level 1: Reconsideration - A reconsideration is a review of your file by someone who did not take part in the initial determination. Most reconsiderations are a only a review of the file and you will not need to be present. If Social Security has determined that you are no longer eligible for benefits because your condition has improved, you may request either a review of your file or you may choose to meet with a Social Security representative to discuss the reasons for the decision and then review the case file.
  2. Level 2: Hearing - If you disagree with the reconsideration decision, you can ask for a hearing. The hearing will be conducted by an Administrative Law Judge who did not take part in the initial determination or the reconsideration decision. You and/or your representative may come to the hearing to explain your side of the case, present and question witnesses, and to submit any new evidence. If it is possible, you and your representative should attend the hearing and present any new evidence. If you do not attend, the Judge will base the decision only on the information in the file and any new evidence that you have submitted.
  3. Level 3: Review by the Appeals Council - If you disagree with the decision of the Administrative Law Judge, you may ask for a review by the Social Security Appeals Council. Although the Council looks at all review requests, it may decide not to review your case if it believes the hearing decision was correct.   If the Appeals Council decides to review your case, it will either decide the case itself or it will return the case to an Administrative Law Judge for further review. Social Security will send you a letter with a copy of the Council's decision to review or to send it to an Administrative Law Judge. 
  4. Level 4: Federal Court Action - This is the last stage of the appeals process. You may file a lawsuit against Social Security in federal court if you disagree with the Appeals Council's decision or if the Appeals Council decides not to review your case.

CAN I STILL RECEIVE BENEFITS FROM SOCIAL SECURITY WHILE MY CASE IS BEING APPEALED?
In certain cases, you may request a continuation of benefits while waiting for a decision on your appeal. If you are appealing Social Security's decision that you are no longer eligible for benefits because your condition has improved, or that your SSI payments will be reduced or eliminated, you can request that the benefits be continued until the appeal is settled. If you want your benefits to continue, you must tell Social Security within 10 days of the date that you receive the decision letter from Social Security.

NOTE: If you lose the appeal, you may be required to pay back any money that you were not eligible to receive.

DO I HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE REPRESENTED WHEN I AM DEALING WITH SOCIAL SECURITY?
Yes. You have the right to represent yourself or you may choose a "representative" to help you with Social Security matters. Your representative can be a lawyer, friend, relative or anybody that you choose to help you. Your representative can act for you and will receive copies of decisions made by Social Security.

For more information contact your local Social Security office or the national Social Security information line at 1-800-772-1213.

CAN I CONTACT SOCIAL SECURITY VIA THE INTERNET?
Yes, Social Security has a website that contains a variety of information including application forms, program information and the answers to frequently asked questions. Social Security's web address is http://www.ssa.gov.


RETURN TO: Common Questions About SSI (2)