You can apply for SSI online in limited circumstances. Otherwise, you must file an SSI application over the phone or in person at your local Social Security Office. At this time, you can only file online forSupplemental Security Income (SSI) if you are also filing for your SSDI benefits, have never been married and are ages 18-65.
What is the difference between SSI and SSDI?
SSI is a program available for persons who are over 65, blind, or disabled who have not worked enough, or not worked recently enough, to qualify for SSDI payments.
SSDI is available to disabled persons with adequate work credits.
So, how do I apply for SSI if I cannot file online?
The filing process, somewhat different for each group (e.g., adult, child, over 65), is as follows:
Adults with disabilities begin the process of filing for SSI benefits by scheduling an appointment over the phone or at their local Social Security office.
Before applying for SSI for your child, consider whether they will qualify. They must meet both the financial and medical requirements. The financial requirements are different for children because they do not work and generally do not have assets. Instead, parents’ income and sometimes assets are considered in the financial qualification process.
For a child to meet the medical requirements, they must have a mental and/or physical impairment(s) that make them very different from their peers. It is not enough for them to be diagnosed with ADHD or asthma. Having a disability and being disabled based on Social Security’s rules are two very different things. The Social Security office can tell you if your child will meet the financial eligibility requirements. If your child is financially qualified and you believe that they have a severe disability, then you should complete the application at your local Social Security office.
Essentially, the disability must make your child substantially different than other children. For more information, read our FAQ about SSI benefits for disabled children.
The SSA requires two forms for disabled children: the SSI application and the Child Disability Report. The SSA allows you to complete the Child Disability Report online.
Parents or guardians of children with disabilities need to make appointments with their local Social Security office to fill out the SSI application.
The SSA provides a Child Disability Starter Kit that contains helpful information and answers many questions about how to apply for SSI for a disabled child. The kit also has a worksheet and checklist you can use when collecting the necessary information for the application.
Note: A disabled child is someone under the age of 18 or someone under 22 who is still in school full-time.
Persons 65 Years or Older
A person who is 65 years or older can begin the application process for SSI benefits by either visiting his/her local Social Security office or by calling 1-800-772-1213. Those who are deaf or hard of hearing, can call 1-800-325-0778.
You can apply in-person without making an appointment but you might face long wait times.
Note: Depending on your situation, you might want to consider applying for SSDI benefits as well. Even if the SSA does not determine you to be eligible for SSDI benefits, it can use much of the information from your SSDI application to begin the SSI evaluation process.
Make sure you have all your information and evidence ready for your appointment.
What qualifications must I meet to recover benefits?
The qualifications are different for each program. To be eligible for SSI, you must:
- Have a limited income
- Have limited assets
- Be a citizen, U.S. national, or legal resident
- Not have been absent from the country for more than 30 consecutive days
To qualify for SSDI, you must:
- Have a disability that will render you unable to engage to substantial gainful activity (i.e., making more than $1,170 a month)
- Have an adequate amount of work credits (your age and work history will determine how many credits you need)
Can someone help me with my application?
Yes. The SSA actually recommends you get someone to help you. It warns on the SSI application process page that, “Most of the forms to apply for SSI are not designed for self-completion.”
You can either get help from an SSA officer or another party. While SSA officers are knowledgeable about what evidence you will need, chances are, s/he is also working with a dozen or so other applicants.
Where can I get help with my SSI claim in Raleigh?
Do not let fear of a denial stop you from recovering the benefits you need. We will work with you throughout the process to determine what the SSA needs from you. We will ensure you file your paperwork on time, with the necessary evidence to prove you deserve benefits.
If the SSA denies your claim, we will navigate the appeals process for you and help you get benefits you and your family need to stay afloat.
Note: If the SSA denies your claim, you can file an appeal online.
Call Lunn & Forro, PLLC to schedule a free consultation with a disability lawyer: 888-966-6566
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