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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: Social Security
Satisfied Customers: 37855
Experience:  I have 30 years of legal and litigation experience, including representing clients before the U.S. Social Security Administration.
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Our daughter at an early age developed a seizure disorder

Customer Question

Our daughter at an early age developed a seizure disorder and was on medication until her teen years. Is there a possibility she may be eligible for government assistance at any time? As a result, her employment opportunities are most limited resulting in living on the edge of poverty. She has two young children to support.
Bernard E. Weaver
7237 Royal Oak Drive
Benbrook, TX 76126
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Social Security
Expert:  LawTalk replied 2 years ago.

Good afternoon,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your daughter's situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

If your daughter is earning very little income and if she can show that she is disabled, she may well be eligible for SSI benefits for herself and the children. Please pass this information on to your daughter.

"Disability" under Social Security is based on your inability to work. We consider you disabled under Social Security rules if:

  • You cannot do work that you did before;
  • Social Security decides that you cannot adjust to other work because of your medical condition(s); and
  • Your disability has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year or to result in death.

After you have met one of the first two qualifications discussed above---over 65 or disabled, then you must look at your income, or in your case as you are married,the joint income between you and your spouse.

If you are seeking Supplemental Security Income (SSI) which also then qualifies you for MediCaid, with some exceptions, you are limited to $2,000 in assets if single, and $3,000 if married. Additionally, the monthly income limits for SSI qualification are identical to the maximum federal SSI benefit rate (FBR): $733for an individual and $1,100 for a married couple in 2015. There are certain exempt resources that you may own that do not count. Some exempt resources include your owner occupied home, a car, personal property, household goods, a burial space, or pre-need agreement----these are not counted.

However, the SSA counts only some of your income when it determines whether your income is over the income limit. SSI exempts the first $20 per month of unearned income; and the first $65 of earned income and one-half of monthly-earned income over $65. Other exempt resources, include but are not limited to a house, a car, personal property, household goods, a burial space, or pre-need agreement, and those are not counted.

Note: Earned income is income derived from actual work---through employment or self employment. Non-earned income is income received from sources such as social security retirement or social security survivor benefits, or income/benefits that you receive such as:

  • The value of food or shelter that someone gives you, or the amount of money they give you to help pay for them;
  • Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits;
  • Railroad retirement and railroad unemployment benefits;
  • Annuities, pensions from any government or private source, workers' compensation, unemployment insurance benefits, black lung benefits and Social Security benefits;
  • Prizes, lottery winnings, settlements and awards, including court-ordered awards;
  • Proceeds of life insurance policies;
  • Gifts and contributions;
  • Support and alimony payments;
  • Inheritances in cash or property;
  • Rental income; and
  • Strike pay and other benefits from unions.


So, let’s say that you and your spouse bring in earned income of 2,000.00 per month. The first $65 doesn't count, and only half of the amount over $65counts. The math looks like this: $2,000 - $65 = $1,935/$1,935/2 = $967.50. The$967.50 would be the income that SSI would look at to determine your eligibility. Because you can have FRB income of up to $1,066 for a married couple, and because the income SSI counts from your $2,000 a month is only$967.50---you would qualify for SSI, as well as for MediCaid health coverage.

You may reply back to me using the Reply link and I will be happy to continue to assist you until I am able to address your concerns, to your satisfaction.

Please remember to rate my service to you so that I can be compensated for helping you.

I wish you and yours the best in 2015,