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Malti Patel
By MALTI PATEL - [email protected]

Q. I just got a notice from Social Security that said my Supplemental Security Income (SSI) case is being reviewed. What does this mean?

A. Social Security reviews every Supplemental Security Income case from time to time to make sure the individuals who are receiving checks should continue to get them. The review also determines if the individuals are receiving the correct amounts.

Q. How do I apply for food stamps?

A. The Food Stamp program is administered by the Department of Agriculture. For more information, visit

Q. When I started receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) checks, I received a booklet that told me what I should report to Social Security. I misplaced the booklet. How can I get a new one?

A. Call Social Security's toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213 (if you are deaf or hard of hearing, call our TTY number, 1-800-325-0778), between 7 a.m. and 7.p.m. Monday through Friday, and ask for the booklet, "Social Security - What You Need to Know When You Get SSI." You also may download the booklet from You can find additional information on SSI in the booklet, "Understanding SSI," at Q. What is the relationship between SSI and Medicaid?

A. Medicaid is a jointly funded, federal-state health insurance program for low-income and needy people. It covers children, the aged, blind, and/or disabled and other people who are eligible to receive federally assisted income-maintenance payments.

Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia provide Medicaid eligibility to people eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI ) benefits. In these states, the SSI application also is the Medicaid application. Medicaid eligibility starts the same months as SSI eligibility.

The following jurisdictions use the same rules to decide eligibility for Medicaid as SSA uses for SSI, but require the filing of a separate application: Alaska, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Northern Mariana Islands.

The following states use their own eligibility rules for Medicaid, which are different from SSA's SSI rules. In these states, a separate application for Medicaid must be filed: Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma and Virginia. For information, visit

Q. A few days ago, I saw a poster that advised individuals 65 or over with limited income and resources to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) at any Social Security office. Next month, I'll turn 65 and I thought I'd be eligible for SSI so I planned to apply until my neighbor told me I'd probably be turned down because I have children who could help support me. Is this true?

A. Whether you can get SSI depends on your income and resources (the things you own). If you have low income and few resources, you may be able to get SSI. However, if you are receiving support from your children, your SSI payment will be reduced. Support is any food, clothing or shelter that is given to you, or is received by you because someone else pays for it.

Q. When will I receive my check if the 1st of the month falls on a weekend? I have been receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) checks for several months and my check has always arrived on the 1st of the month. What happens when the first of the month falls on a Saturday?

A. For SSI recipients, if the first falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the SSI check should arrive on the previous banking day.

Q. How does disposal of resources affect SSI eligibility?

A. To be eligible for SSI, a person must have $2,000 or less in countable resources. If the person alleges a transfer of resources, they must determine whether the resource transfer was valid. If the transfer was not valid, they may still count the resource toward the $2,000 limit. If the transfer was valid, the resource would no longer count toward the $2,000 limit.

Transfers of resources may occur through any of the following types of transactions:

" Sale of property;

" Trade or exchange, one property for another;

" Giving away cash, property or bank accounts, etc.

Since 12/14/99, giving away a resource or transferring it for less than it is worth can make a person ineligible for SSI for up to 36 months. The number of months of ineligibility depends on the value of the resource that was transferred or given away and the compensation, if any, that the individual received for that resource.

Q. Can I leave the country for two weeks and still get SSI payments? I'm going to visit relatives for two weeks this summer. Can I still get SSI payments while I'm there?

A. Your SSI usually will stop if you leave the United States for a full calendar month or 30 consecutive days or more. Since you are going to be away for only two weeks, your SSI should not be affected. However, it's important that you tell Social Security the date you plan to leave and the date you plan to come back. Then we can let you know if your SSI will be affected.

These questions and answers are courtesy of Malti Patel, 1607 Wood Creek Lane, Allen, Texas-75002. Patel recently published a book "Lifting the Mists: A simple guide to a complex welfare system for elderly immigrants and their families." Contact Patel at [email protected] to order the book.

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