What Is Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is a federal agency directly responsible for administering Social Security. Although many people have heard of Social Security, fewer people fully understand it. Social Security is a social program offering a variety of assistance.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is one type of social assistance.

SSI aims to assist individuals and families burdened by medical and fiscal disadvantages. The program also provides much-needed cash for qualified recipients. These monetary resources help provide for basic necessities, such as clothing, shelter and food.

Although many people will Apply For Supplemental Security Income, many applicants are denied. The application for SSI can be complex. It can be confusing. In many cases, applicants make mistakes that lead to rejection.

Claimants for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) need to be careful. Benefits will not be paid for a period prior to the effective application date.

There are a number of ways to apply.

How To Apply For Supplemental Security Income
SSI claimants can apply through multiple channels. Some applicants can visit the Social Security Administration (SSA) website to begin. However, this process is not available to everyone. Not all applicants are eligible to engage the disability application process online. Claimants should check the website for details.
Claimants for SSI can also contact the SSA by phone. The number to call is 1-800-772-1213, or 1-800-325-0778 for the deaf and hard of hearing. Once on the phone, a representative will schedule an appointment for furthering the application process.
Claimants can actually schedule an appointment for over the phone or in person at a local SSA office.

If an applicant chooses to apply in person, he or she must locate a local Social Security office. Applying in person without an appointment typically takes longer. In all cases, the SSI claimant must provide information and documents to prove SSI eligibility.

However, SSI claimants don’t have to apply on their own. In fact, many claimants for SSI opt to appoint a representative. Although a representative does not have to be a lawyer, he or she needs to be qualified. The SSA requires a representative of good character, skills and legal standing.

How A Representative Helps Apply For SSI Benefits
A representative can help an SSI claimant multiple ways. These advocates or attorneys are permitted to complete forms and documents. Representatives can also accompany claimants to Social Security offices.

Representatives can also serve as interpreters. These advocates can gather and give information, and even take claimants to medical appointments. Representatives are further permitted to review case files, review laws and attend informal or formal hearings.

Overall, a representative can be highly beneficial. The best SSI lawyer or advocate will understand the Social Security Administration (SSA) intimately. He or she can provide invaluable advice while also streamlining the entire application process.

Claimants and their representatives should address the application in a timely manner. The SSA will use the date of the initial appointment call as the application filing date, provided the application is filed within 60 days of that call. If approved, the claimant will receive benefits for the maximum duration possible.

However, the date of application is irrelevant if the applicant doesn’t qualify. There are a number of criteria to consider when qualifying for SSI benefits.

Qualify For SSI Benefits
In order to determine eligibility for SSI benefits, applicants have several options. Again, applicants can contact the SSA by phone, go in person to a local office, or go online. The SSA website uses a helpful tool called the SSA Best Questionnaire.

This benefits questionnaire will determine a respondent’s eligibility for any type of SSA benefits. The questionnaire takes approximately 10 minutes to complete.

However, there are also general criteria to consider. Before applying for SSI benefits, individuals must ensure that they are familiar with the various requirements.

SSI Eligibility Criteria
The SSI federal program provides monthly payments to people of limited resources. Both adults and children can receive SSI, although the criteria are different. In general an applicant qualifies for SSI benefits if he or she is:

  • Totally or partially blind; or
  • Unable to work due to a medical condition expected to last at least 12 months or lead to death

In 2019, a recipient of SSI can expect to receive $771 per month. A couple can expect to receive $1,157 per month. Some states add money to these payment amounts, whereas other states restrict the payouts.

An applicant is eligible for SSI if his or her total assets amount to no more than $2,000. This amount changes to $3,000 for married couples who live together. The SSA considers cash, bank accounts, stocks and bonds in these calculations.

Potential beneficiaries should contact the Social Security Administration (SSA) today.