What Is Supplemental Security Income – Benefits & How to ApplyAugust 26, 2019
Supplementary Security Income (SSI) refers to an income support program that is specifically designed to help disabled individuals who have insufficient or no means of income to meet their basic requirements. It assists citizens who are unable to support themselves owing to old age or serious health issues that prevent them from working altogether.
The SSI program is administered by the Social Security Administration, although the payments to qualified individuals are paid from the US Treasury funds rather than from Social Security taxes.
People who are eligible for the SSI program are entitled to a certain amount of cash paid at regular intervals so that they can fulfill their basic needs for food, shelter, and clothing.
Read on to find out more about the benefits of SSI and how you can apply for the same.
Benefits of Supplementary Security Income
If you are blind, disabled, or an old aged person with limited income, you might be entitled to receive SSI benefits. US citizens above the age of 65 years are also eligible to apply for SSI benefits given that they fall in the low-income group (monthly income is less than $710).
An individual applicant can receive federal cash assistance of up to $771, whereas couples can be given up to $1,157 every month. Depending on where you live, you might be able to avail extra benefits in addition to those provided under the standard SSI program. For example, California manages a State Supplementation Program (SSP) wherein people who qualify for SSI are given additional payments, increasing the total benefits received every month.
Note that the net amount paid to candidates under the SSI program differs from case to case. The total amount of monthly payments made to you under the SSI program will depend on your income (from wages, Social Security benefits, pensions, etc.) and the resources that you own. This includes things like real estate, bonds and stocks, and the likes.
How to Apply for Supplementary Security Income
Schedule an Appointment
While workers can easily apply for Social Security Disability online, they cannot file for Supplementary Security Income via the internet. To apply for SSI, you need to book an appointment at Social Security.
Booking an appointment is not compulsory, and you can visit your local Social Security office without making a prior appointment as well. But you will most likely have to wait a long time for your turn to arrive. Therefore, to avoid any inconvenience, it is recommended that you schedule an appointment beforehand.
To schedule a meeting with a Social Security agent in order to file your claim for SSI, call their toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Candidates who have hearing or speech problems can use other means to schedule their appointment. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, then you can contact Social Security through Text Telephone (TTY) by dialing 1-800-325-0778. Similarly, if you have a speech disorder or similar problems, you can contact Social Security by placing a Telecommunications Relay Services (TRS) assisted call at 1-800-772-1213.
Complete the Documentation
A Social Security representative will then help you through the application procedure for availing SSI benefits. You will be required to visit your local Social Security office to apply for SSI. However, if you cannot meet in person due to any reason, then you can simply opt for applying via a telephone call. Remember that in either case, you will have to provide relevant information and complete the necessary paperwork for the process.
Applicants who are blind are eligible for receiving help from Social Security workers. They will complete the application forms on your behalf based on the information that you provide to them.
Get Someone to Help You
Candidates who don’t have poor vision are also allowed to seek help if they need it. You can choose anyone to help you complete the forms, interpret the messages, gather and give information to the officials as well as receive mails and updates on your behalf. You can bring your assistant along with you to the Social Security office without any hesitation.
For further assistance, including help in understanding the legalities involved, you can hire a lawyer or a licensed attorney. They can help you with your claim and represent you at both the formal and informal hearings.