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SSI and the Mentally Ill

Posted on:8/2/2012
It is not just those who suffer from physical disability or illness who are entitled to social security benefits. Those suffering from mental illness also qualify for social security benefits.


It is not just those who suffer from physical disability or illness who are entitled to social security benefits. Those suffering from mental illness also qualify for social security benefits.

 

The lack of employment has resulted in the extensive use of the social security programs among people with mental illness. People with mental illness are the single largest diagnostic category among recipients of Supplemental Security Income, constituting over 35% of SSI recipients and over 25% of Social Security Disability Insurance recipients.

 

The Social Security Administration has the authority to decide if a representative payee should be appointed for a mentally ill recipient and who it should be.  The representative payee has authority over only the funds from the particular source for which he is payee, and he must manage them for the benefit of the beneficiary. The procedure for being appointed is much less cumbersome than guardianship or conservatorship, and certainly infringes much less on the autonomy of the person with mental retardation.

 

Because one's "principal residence" is not counted as an asset by the Social Security Administration in determining one's eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), individuals with mental retardation may continue to receive SSI while living in their very own condos. Their SSI benefit checks can then help to pay living expenses, real estate taxes, and fees of the condominium association, including salaries for staff members hired by the association to assist residents.


  
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