Re: SSI queastion
SSI is for those who do not have enough work credits to qualify for SSDI. SSDI is a much higher rate because it is based solely on the amount you paid into Social Security while working. The only disability that I am aware of that is not dependant on work credits is being legally blind.
SSI takes into consideration many assets and total household income (cash, land, house (ones you dont live in, like rental property I think), life insurance, personal property of some value etc etc.). If you exceed that limit you do not qualify. There are ways of reducing your household amount as per social security such as taking into consideration cost of medications etc.
His wife's part time job may very well put them over the limit of eligibility. Hours do not mean anything, it's the amount of money earned before taxes.
Individuals on SSDi who have children under the age of 19 and still in school get an extra 50% benefit per month wether you have 1 child or 50, those on SSI do not recieve any compensation. There is an additional benefit for the spouses of those on SSDI who have children under the age of 16 I think it is and the spouse must take full care of the children based on the disabled spouse's inability to care for them. There are some rules garnering that. I didn't recieve it, in fact I wasn't aware of it until one day I was researching something else.
The SS website clearly explains the difference. It is like a Welfare system yes, but they do this for those who simply have not made enough work credits. It is financed through general revenues. Some states give additional money to those on SSI. The current amount of monthly benefits is like $637 maxium from SS but some states also give an extra amount, depends where he lives.
Either way tell him not to give up.
No matter how great your illness or pain, there's always someone else who may be worse off.