Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides a modest monthly income to older adults aged 65 and older, and adults and children with serious disabilities who are struggling to make ends meet. Here’s how to apply!
1. Prepare paperwork.
a. Financial info: Be ready to tell the Social Security Administration (SSA) about all income (like wages, cash benefits, pensions, food & shelter provided by others), and resources (bank accounts, retirement /investment accounts, property). SSI has income and resource limits.
b. Disability information: Write down the names, addresses, and dates of recent appointments for all (past and present) doctors’ offices (including specialists), hospitals, therapists, and schools.
2. Apply! You can apply two ways:
a. Virtually (with a call back) (offices are closed during the pandemic)
i. Submit disability information online. Save a receipt with the date the application was started. This is the protective filing date (PFD). Benefits go back to the month following the PFD.
ii. SSA will call to finish the application. They will get verbal consent to “sign” the application over the phone.
3. Complete the SSA questionnaires. SSA asks people to fill out function reports and work history reports. These are hard to fill out.
a. Adult forms:
i. Function reports (SSA 3373): Add a lot of detail about the help people need for activities of daily living (cooking, shopping, personal grooming, cleaning).
ii. Work reports (SSA 3369): Add a lot of detail every past job.
b. Child forms: Search online for SSA 3376, 3377, 3378, or 3379
Most people get denied when they apply, but they win when they appeal. There are two levels of appeal. The first appeal is called “reconsideration.” If SSA denies the case again, you can appeal and make your case to a judge. You can appeal here. You can also call the field office and ask for appeal paperwork.