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Judge's Table


What are the disability benefit programs offered by the Social Security Administration (SSA)?

The two benefit payment programs offered by SSA are Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). 

SSI Eligibility

For an individual to qualify for SSI, the following requirements must be met: 

  • The individual must be aged (age 65 or older), blind, or disabled; 

  • The individual must have limited income and resources; 

  • The individual must be a U.S. citizen or national, or in one of the SSA categories of aliens;

  • The individual must be a resident of one of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands;

  • The individual may not be absent from the country for a full calendar moth or for 30 consecutive days or more;

  • The individual may not be confined to an institution (such as a hospital or prison) at the government's expense; and 

  • The individual must meet certain other requirements

Click here for more information on SSI.

SSDI Eligibility

For an individual to to quality for SSDI, the following requirements must be met: 

  • The individual is unable to work due to a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or ​result in death; and

  • Meet the SSA earnings requirement

Click here for more information of SSDI.

How can we help? 

We offer assistance to individuals with the application process, appeals, and benefit maintenance. Our agency contracts with the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS) to supply these services at no fee for individuals receiving specific Minnesota state aid. Additionally through our contract with DHS, we provide SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) advocacy. Through this contract, our agency receives constant training and updates by the DHS in order to provide the best possible service to our clients. If you do not qualify under either of the DHS programs, we can still assist you for a small fee. All fees must be approved by the local SSA branch.

What are the specifics of the SOAR program?

SOAR is a program designed to increase access to SSI/SSDI for eligible adults who are experiencing homelessness, or are at risk of homelessness, and have a mental illness, medical impairment, and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder. SOAR began its roots through a SSA funded demonstration project in Baltimore, MD in 1993 and was directed by psychiatric social worker Yvonne Perret. In 2001, with the support of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Ms. Perret and Deborah Dennis with Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA) developed SAMHSA's Stepping Stones to Recovery manual and training curriculum. In 2009, SAMHSA awarded a five-year contract for the SOAR Technical Assistance (TA) Center  to PRA, which was renewed in 2014. The SOAR TA Center coordinates the implementation of state and local-level SOAR programs at no cost to the communities it serves. 

SOAR defines those who are experiencing homelessness as:

  1. An individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, such as those living in emergency shelters, transitional housing, or places not meant for habitation; or

  2. An individual or family who will imminently lose their primary nighttime residence (within 14 days), provided that no subsequent housing has been identified and the individual/family lacks support networks or resources needed to obtain housing; or

  3. Unaccompanied youth under 25 years of age, or families with children and youth who qualify under other Federal statutes, such as the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, have not had a lease or ownership interest in a housing unit in the last 60 or more days, have had two or more moves in the last 60 days, and who are likely to continue to be unstably housed because of disability or multiple barriers to employment; or 

  4. An individual or family who is fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, has no other residence, and lacks the resources or support networks to obtain other permanent housing

SOAR defines those who are at risk of homelessness as individuals and families who: 

  1. Have an annual income below 30 percent of median family income for the area, as determined by HUD; and

  2. Do not have sufficient resources or support networks, immediately available to prevent them from moving to an emergency shelter or place not meant for habitation; and

  3. Exhibit one or more risk factors of homelessness, including recent housing instability or exiting a publicly funded institution or system of care (e.g. correctional facility, foster care, or mental health facility)

SOAR is also appropriate for individuals who are being served by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH), Housing First, and other Permanent Supportive Housing for those who were recently experiencing homelessness, and who are relying on grant support or have limited income to sustain their housing. 

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