by Brad Myler
How to File an SSI application
Supplemental Security Income provides financial assistance to elderly, blind or disabled Americans who have little to no outside income. SSI Disability is not Social Security. A prior work history is sometimes, but not always, needed to qualify. You can complete your SSI application by yourself, but seek assistance if the application process becomes too onerous. Private advocates can help you navigate through the maze of government bureaucracy. Start the process by determining if you qualify for assistance.
Will You Qualify?
Your SSI application is income dependent. You will not qualify if you or your spouse earn too much money or own resources that exceed government limitations. In general, the following rules apply:
• Social Security income is exempt.
• For children under age 18, the government considers parental income.
• If you are single, you may possess no more than $2,000 in resources; $3,000 for couples.
• Homes are exempt if you are in the process of trying to sell.
How to Apply
While you can complete your SSI application at your local Social Security office, online or by phone, you will almost certainly find it easier to work with an advocacy group. You may designate a representative to apply for you. Gather the following documents to complete your application:
• Your Social Security card and that of your spouse
• Your birth certificate
• Recent bank statements
• Tax records
• Your work history and earnings record
• Military service records
• Medical records, including any Workers’ Compensation claims or award letters
After completing your SSI application, the government may request additional information or copies of certain documentation. Processing time for initial applications varies greatly, ranging from one month to several months. In rare cases, the process can take up to a year. Eventually, you will receive a determination letter. If approved, your payments begin on the first day of the month following your application approval. You may appeal the decision if your application is denied.
Appeal if Needed
A lawyer or other advocate can represent you during the appeal process, which has four steps:
• Review – Someone uninvolved with the original decision reviews your case.
• Administrative Hearing – A judge reviews your case and considers new evidence.
• Appeals Council – The Social Security Appeals Council reviews your case.
• Lawsuit – Your last option is to file a lawsuit in federal court.
To learn more about getting your application started, simply call the number at the top of this page, or fill out the short form on the right side of the page, and we’ll help you to determine if you qualify to file for SSI.