Are you elderly, blind, or disabled and living on a limited income? You could be eligible for financial help through a Social Security Administration (SSA) program: Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
What is SSI?
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a type of federal financial assistance that is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). This program is needs-based and means-tested, and its purpose is to provide financial help to those who are elderly, blind, or have physical or mental impairments and limited or no income. SSI also provides benefits for children who have physical or mental impairments.
Along with financial help, SSI recipients also receive medical benefits through Medicaid. To be eligible for SSI, individuals must meet certain requirements that are set forth by the SSA.
To be eligible for SSI benefits, you must meet the following requirements:
- You are age 65 or older, blind, or disabled (as determined by specific SSA guidelines)
- Your monthly income is low or nonexistent (as determined by specific SSA guidelines)
- Your resources, such as property and savings, are limited (as determined by specific SSA guidelines)
- You have applied for all other benefits you may be eligible for, such as Social Security retirement, SSDI, and any other pensions.
Steps to SSI Application Process
Applying for Supplemental Security Income benefits can be a complex process, but understanding the steps involved can help make it a little easier.
Submit an Application to Social Security:
You can complete an application for SSI benefits:
- at your local Social Security office
- by calling the SSA national hotline (1-800-772-1213).
When you apply, you will need to provide:
- Your name, address, and date of birth
- Your Social Security number
- Proof of U.S. citizenship or eligible alien status (if you are not a natural citizen)
- Your bank account information (if you have one)
- Proof of income and these resources for the prior two years (i.e. W-2s and tax returns)
- Employer information (current and prior two years)
- Work history for prior 15 years (i.e. duties)
- Educational Training
- Information about your living situation (i.e. household size, rent or own)
- Name and date of birth of any dependent children
- Marital status–if married spouse’s information (ex-spouse if married over 10 years)
- Listing of medical condition (s)
- Contact information for all healthcare providers and facilities used
Interview with Social Security Representative
Once you have submitted your application, a Social Security Administration representative will contact you to schedule an appointment for an interview. The representative will let you know what documentation they need from you before the interview. Generally, they will ask for copies of proof documenting much of the information you submitted in the application. Also, they will want you to contact your healthcare provider to provide medical records or permit them to do so on your behalf.
Depending on how your local office handles interviews, the interview could take place in person at the local office or over the phone. During the interview, the representative will ask you questions about the information you submitted in the application and the documentation they have received about your financial and medical situation. The representative will then let you know if they need any other information and documentation from you.
Await a decision from Social Security.
Once Social Security has all your information, they will begin the determination process. Social Security will use their regulations and the information you provide to determine your eligibility for benefits. The review process may take several weeks to several months.
After they reach a determination, Social Security will notify you of the decision. If they approve your application, they will send you an award letter that will list the amount of your benefits and when you can expect to receive them. If you are found not eligible for benefits, you will be notified of the decision and allowed to appeal the determination.
Getting Help with Your Disability Claim
You should understand that applying for SSI benefits can be a complicated and lengthy process. The SSA requires detailed information about your impairment and how it affects your ability to work and also your financial situation.
Since receiving SSI benefits as soon as possible is important to your financial and physical well-being, it may be best not to file a claim on your own. Getting the help of an experienced disability attorney has been shown to increase the chances of approval.
Brock & Stout’s disability attorneys have over 20 years of experience working with clients to help them get their SSI benefits. We dedicate ourselves to helping each client through the process so they can get the benefits they need as soon as possible. Contact us today for a free evaluation of your claim. Let us try to help you and your family get the help you need.