Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program that created for any citizen that shows evidence of a physical or mental disability that deters them from any activity that will allow them to earn a living.
This can include children, adults under 65, and social security for elderly 65 and over. Adults will be able to qualify to apply for social security benefits if they meet the following criteria:
- Proof of a disability based on the Social Security Administration’s definition of what a disability entails
- Show proof of a dire financial need which is no income or less than $2,000 in assets
- Proof of a work-related disability that has kept you off long enough to be able to earn enough credits to be “insured.” (Insured means that you worked long enough and also paid social security taxes)
- Show proof that you are a widow or widower of a disabled worker and you are 50-60 years old and your spouse earned “insured” status before death.
- Show proof of a disability that occurred before 22 years of age and that at least one parent is deceased or disabled as well as having “insured” status
How to Apply for Social Security
There are specific requirements for any adult that wants to apply for social security and online. You are only eligible to apply for social security disabilities benefits online if you meet the following criteria:
- Atleast 18-65 years of age
- You have always been single
- If you are not blind
- You need to be a citizen of the United States. This includes District of Columbia and the Northern Mariana Islands only. NOT residents of Puerto Rico.
- You are creating a social security application for the very first time
- You must apply for social security disabilities as well as Social Security Disability Insurance.
If you do not fit even one of these six criteria, you must go down to a Social Security Administration office in person and fill out a social security application. Make an appointment through a Social Security branch in your area. Call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) during regular business hours. No one from the Social Security Administration will contact you until you complete the entire application process, so make sure that at the end of the online process, you receive a confirmation email stating that you have completed the entire application successfully. If you are still unsure how to apply for social security online even if you are eligible to do so, you can choose to go into an SSA office and receive help in filling out the paperwork.
Gathering Personal Information for SSI
The following information is usually needed for all or part of the process:
Specific Documents for SSI Applications
- Proof of birth (may not always be an actual birth certificate)
- Social Security card
- Citizenship proof
- Legal alien papers
- Military service discharge papers for applicants who served before 1968
- At least 1-5 years of W2 forms
- Personal Employment Proof for Independent Contractors
- Medical evidence that may include doctor’s reports and test results
- Proof of any settlements, awards, or other compensation including workers’ compensation if applicable to your individual situation. (This may include actual patient ID numbers)
They also may ask for the following items if they apply to your situation. This information may help them determine the possible amount of benefits you will receive or the overall approval of benefits.
- Spousal information that will include their name, proof of birth, as well as the information for any former spouses.
- Current and former marriage dates and where they took place.
- Date of divorces
- Birth information for any children under 18 years of age
- The routing numbers and account numbers for all the banks you do business with (savings and checking accounts)
- The name and contact information of a medical professional they can speak with if they need clarification regarding medical information they were given
- All the names of medicines you are taking or have taken since the disability
- Show employment for at least the last five jobs or 15 years of employment
- Proof of money earned in the last calendar year and the previous calendar year
- Proof of employment status for a job (permanent or temporary status)
- Any 401K information that is ongoing or you received a payout from
- Specific benefits for black lung, longshoremen, civil servant, and military
Many adults will qualify for SSI under the arm of the SSI disability program called the Compassionate Allowances Conditions (CAL). If they qualify, this will allow their benefits to begin within weeks of their application because the process is done more quickly for individuals who are identified with a CAL disability; otherwise, it will usually take three to four months for each application to be processed. The application process itself is the same. A complete CAL list is available.
Social Security for Elderly
There are individual cases where citizens who are 65 and older can qualify to receive SSI. They do not have to be completely disabled to be eligible per the prescribed definition from the Social Security Administration. You will be asked to show proof of your age if you are receiving social security benefits and any other general information that applies to an adult applying for SSI that applies to your individual circumstances. Many individuals who are 65 and older will qualify under the CAL list of disabilities.
Children and SSI
A child can qualify for SSI under the following criteria:
- Under the age of 18
- Unmarried and not head of a household
- Under the age of 22 and also a student who is regularly attending school as determined by the Social Security Administration
- The minor is either blind or has another qualifying disability
- A child can qualify from birth
Once a disabled child turns 18, their disability is reassess based on the Social Security Administration’s definition of adult disability. Also, children who are blind are evaluated under a specific set of criteria other than just the definition of adult disability. The Social Security Administration follows up with every completed application within three to four months unless a CAL disability is identified and the process is happening within weeks. You can begin the application for social security at https://secure.ssa.gov/iClaim/dib.