Disability Help Center - San Diego - January 2020



January 2020

When it comes to getting the assistance you need in order to provide for yourself, it’s crucial to understand the benefits available to you. Supplemental Security Income, or SSI, is a program administered by Social Security that pays monthly benefits to those who are disabled, blind, or age 65 and older and have limited income and other resources. AND HOW IT DIFFERS FROM STATE TO STATE UNDERSTANDING SSI

The application for SSI is also an application for Social Security benefits, but the two differ in several important ways.

• SSI benefits are not based on your prior work income or any family members’ incomes.

• In most states, SSI recipients are also eligible to receive Medicaid assistance for their health coverage needs.


• SSI recipients may also be eligible for food assistance in most states.

• SSI is financed by funds of the U.S. Treasury, like personal income taxes, corporate taxes, and other taxes and are often supplemented by state programs.

The state of California has the same qualifying factors as Nevada when it comes to the value of the recipient’s possessions. But unlike Nevada, California also offers state supplement to those who are of eligible age, blind, or disabled, even if they are single and living independently. California also automatically adds money to the federal payment rather than using an optional state supplement. Using the same example category as above for Nevada, in 2019 in California, the highest payable amount to any blind, single, and independently living qualifying individual was $988.23 per month. As you can see, there’s a noticeable difference in payout between the two states because on average, the cost of living in California is higher than in Nevada. SSI assistance does tend to increase year after year, and starting this month, the overall increase for all states is rising by 1.6% to account for the general rise in cost of living. Just keep in mind that this doesn’t mean every state is going to see equal benefit amounts. The increase is based on 2019’s numbers.

There are more nuanced differences between SSI and Social Security, but these are four key elements to keep in mind, especially that SSI is often supplemented by state programs. For this reason, each state across the U.S. supplies different SSI amounts to eligible recipients based on the cost of living in that state. The amounts tend to increase year over year, as the cost of living across the country continually rises. There are more than just monetary differences between states, as well. Let’s take a look at the two states in which Disability Help Center resides as examples. To qualify for SSI, the value of the things you own must be less than $2,000 if you’re single and less than $3,000 for married couples. The value of your home and car are not counted. The state of Nevada pays an optional state supplement to recipients who are of eligible age or blind and does not offer a supplement to a person with a disability unless they are coupled with an eligible blind or appropriately aged person. For example, in 2019, the maximum payment that a blind individual in an independent living arrangement could earn in one month was $880.30. NEVADA

Contact Disability Help Center today to find out if you qualify and get a better idea of what your SSI assistance might look like so you can adequately plan for your future.

–Elizabeth Packard

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With every new year comes an opportunity to reinvent ourselves or start down a new path toward self-improvement. Making resolutions is a big part of many families’ New Year’s traditions, and parents often have a desire for their kids to take part in that tradition when they’re old enough. Following through on resolutions is tough, especially for young children, but with your help, they can achieve their goals.

PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH. You are your children’s role model for almost everything, including following through on New Year’s resolutions. So, ask yourself if you follow through on your own resolutions. When you proclaim that you will read more books or finally get a gym membership, do you actually try to do it? Your kids will assign as much importance to New Year’s resolutions as you do, so by sticking to your own commitments, you can help them stay on track too.

act on those goals. For example, if they want to be tidier, a good resolution might be for them to clean their room once a week or take responsibility for one household chore every day. DON’T DO ALL THE WORK FOR THEM. While it’s important for you to help your kids formulate their goals, be sure that you aren’t taking over. If they’re ultimately responsible for their resolutions, they’ll feel more compelled to keep them. Instead, suggest different goal areas they could improve, such as home, school, or sports, and let them elaborate. When it comes to creating habits, nobody is perfect, so even if your kids falter on their goals in the middle of February, don’t worry. The important thing is that you continue to encourage them every step of the way.


When your kids are forming their resolutions, their first attempts will probably be very broad. Statements like “I want to be more kind” or “I will try to help more around the house” incorporate good values but don’t include any actionable steps. Help your kids think of tangible ways to



From giant, colorful building blocks to intricately designed kits, LEGO has been a source of entertainment and delight for people of all ages for over 80 years. This toy’s popularity is not surprising, as there is endless potential for what you can create with LEGO bricks, but their impact stretches far beyond mere

If you’re unable to go to LEGOLAND, take a few minutes to visit a local LEGO retail store to pick up a LEGO kit the family can put together or dig a well-loved one out of your attic. Challenge

building blocks. LEGO-related video games, movies, and even theme parks have sprung up around the world for people to enjoy.

yourself and family members to make the tallest tower before it falls, or get creative by placing the same set of LEGO bricks in different bowls and seeing what everyone creates from the pieces.

National LEGO Day falls on Jan. 28, giving you an opportunity to delight in what this toy is all about. If you want to celebrate with your family, consider the following activities.


There are several LEGO movies you can choose from for National LEGO Day. Put in family favorite “The LEGO Movie” and join Emmet and his friends as they fight to save the world. Hit the dojo with Lloyd, who is secretly the Green Ninja, as he and his ninja friends fight Lord Garmadon to protect Ninjago City in both the animated film “The LEGO Ninjago


With the new year just getting started, why not plan a family vacation? LEGOLAND is filled with rides, attractions, and amazing LEGO creations, including busts of historical figures and entire cities. There are two LEGOLAND resorts located in the U.S., one in Carlsbad, California, and the other in Winter Haven, Florida. Plus, 13 LEGOLAND Discovery Centers are spread out across the nation.

Movie” and the TV series “Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu.” And let’s not forget Batman and Robin as they fight to save Arkham City in “The LEGO Batman Movie.”


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As mentioned on the cover of this newsletter, it’s important to know which Social Security benefits you’re eligible for and which ones are the right choice for you. When it comes to disability assistance, there are actually two options to consider, dependent upon your unique situation. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) have several meaningful differences in how applicants may qualify for them. SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME (SSI) This plan provides minimum basic financial assistance to qualifying individuals, like those over the age of 65 or people with disabilities (regardless of age) who have very limited ability to generate income or provide other resources for themselves. These benefits are often supplemented by state programs, so individual payment amounts vary state to state. It does not matter if the applicant has worked in the past or not. Their responsibility is to show that they have very little income and few assets. Benefits begin during the first full month after the date the claim was filed. SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY INSURANCE (SSDI) This program only supports individuals who are disabled and have a work history that qualifies them to receive assistance. That history could be their own employment or that of a family member, like a spouse or parent. It doesn’t matter what resources the applicant currently has. It only matters that the applicant accumulated the proper number of work credits within a certain time period prior to applying. Benefits begin during the sixth full month of disability, and it’s up to the Social Security Administration to determine when the disability began.

The major difference between the two is that SSI is based on age, disability, and limited income, while SSDI is based on disability and past work history. When choosing which program to apply for, it’s important to consider you situation carefully and understand which program will be the most beneficial to you. It is possible to qualify for both SSI and SSDI if you have both limited income and relevant work history. Call the Disability Help Center for a free evaluation so we can help you figure out what you qualify for.

INGREDIENTS • 2 tbsp coconut oil • 4 leeks, white parts only, thinly sliced EASY TOMATO SOUP • 6 cloves garlic, minced • 1 28-oz can roasted and diced tomatoes (Muir Glen Organic is a good brand)


• 1 cup chicken broth • 8.5 oz coconut milk • Kosher salt • Freshly ground black pepper DIRECTIONS 1. In a skillet over medium heat, sauté leeks in coconut oil until softened and translucent, about 7–10 minutes. 2. Add garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds. Remove from heat. 3. Meanwhile, in a blender, purée entire can of tomatoes, including juice, until smooth. 4. Add sautéed leeks and garlic and purée again. 5. Transfer purée to a saucepan and add chicken broth and coconut milk. Bring to a boil, then drop to simmer and cook for 10 minutes. 6. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve.




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Disability Help Center 1833 Fourth Ave. San Diego, CA 92101 888-418-8860 DisabilityHelpCenter.org


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How SSI May Benefit You

Helping Your Kids Make New Year’s Resolutions Building Memories One Brick at a Time


The Difference Between SSI and SSDI Easy Tomato Soup


Meet the World’s First Airport Therapy Pig



Imagine you’re navigating a vast airport on a busy Saturday, shouldering your way through crowds and struggling to hear the PA system over the clatter of 1,000 wheeled suitcases. Suddenly, you see a pig wearing a hot pink sweater waddling toward you on a leash. Do you stop in your tracks? Does your stress level drop? Do you laugh out loud when you see its pink nail polish? If you answered “yes” to any of the above, then you can sympathize with the passengers, pilots, flight attendants, and staff at the San Francisco International Airport. They get to enjoy visits from Lilou, the world’s first airport therapy pig, on a regular basis! As part of the Wag Brigade, the airport’s cadre of (mostly canine) therapy animals, Lilou wanders the airport with her humans, bringing joy, peace, and calm to everyone she meets. Lilou may be the only pig of her kind, but airport therapy animals have been a growing trend for the last few years. According to NPR, as of 2017, more than 30 airports across the U.S. employed therapy dogs, and these days, estimates land closer to 60. The San Jose and Denver airports have therapy cats, and the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport even offers passengers the chance to play with miniature horses before boarding their flights.

down that airports began implementing permanent programs. Some have pets on hand 24/7 to assist

passengers, while others host animal visits every few weeks or months. These days, regular

travelers have fallen hard for their local

therapy animals, many of whom even have their own Instagram accounts and hashtags.

So, the next time you’re traveling, keep an eye out for a friendly pup, cat, pig, or horse to pet. A bit of love from an animal just might improve your trip!

Therapy dogs started appearing in U.S. airports after the 9/11 terror attacks, which changed American attitudes about flying. They did so well at helping passengers calm


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