Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a government disability program for people with low incomes and limited assets. Similar to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), SSI provides a monthly income check to eligible recipients, enabling them to make up part of the money they are not able to earn at work due to their disability.
The medical requirements [In Progress: link to https://www.socialsecuritylawcenter.info/frequently-asked-questions/what-are-the-medical-requirements-for-receiving-social-security-disability-or-ssi/] for SSI are the same as for SSDI, but the income and work history requirements are quite different. Whereas SSDI applicants must have a steady work history and must have paid payroll taxes in the years prior to applying, SSI does not require its applicants to have worked. Instead, the program requirements only mandate that applicants’ income and net worth do not exceed certain thresholds. The SSI application process also features slight differences.
The disability lawyers at the Disability Advantage Group, can explain how to get an SSI disability application and claim started. Call us at 865-566-0800 today for a free claim evaluation.
Can I Start My SSI Application Online?
While most people can start an SSDI application online, there are limitations in place for SSI applicants. This is the biggest difference in the SSI and SSDI application process.
To start your SSI claim online, you must:
- Be between age 18 and 65;
- Have never married;
- Be sighted, meaning you are not blind;
- Be a U.S. citizen who currently resides in the country or in certain territories;
- Have not applied for or received SSI benefits previously; and
- Apply for SSDI at the same time.
If you do not meet these criteria, you can start the process in person or by phone. While this might sound like an inconvenience, it ultimately makes very little difference. Most online applicants end up having to deal one-on-one with a claims representative to furnish additional information [In Progress: link to https://www.socialsecuritylawcenter.info/frequently-asked-questions/what-types-of-information-is-social-security-disability-looking-for/] and evidence [In Progress: link to https://www.socialsecuritylawcenter.info/frequently-asked-questions/what-kind-of-evidence-is-used-to-evaluate-and-decide-my-disability-benefit-claim/] for their application.
There is little difference in approval times between applicants who applied online and offline. The applications end up in the same place—and the Social Security Administration (SSA) takes the same amount of time to issue a decision.
What If I Do Not Qualify to Apply Online?
If you cannot file your claim online, we recommend you contact your local Social Security office and schedule an appointment with a field claims representative. You can do this preliminary interview over the phone or in person, making it easier for those who live far from a field office to get the process started.
If your application interview takes place over the phone, the representative will provide instructions on submitting the paperwork and supporting documents they need to begin processing and evaluating your claim.
Your other option is to have a face-to-face interview. Many applicants prefer this because it allows them to complete the initial interview and the submission of supporting documentation at the same time. If you work with a disability attorney, your lawyer can attend the appointment with you and make certain the case you present is strong.
What Should I Bring When Applying?
At minimum, you should have two documents on hand when you arrive at your appointment: your driver’s license or another government-issued ID card and your birth certificate or proof of birth. If you are a discharged military veteran, also bring proof of discharge.
As you continue in the process, you can expect your claims representative to ask for a long list of additional supporting documentation, most of it concerning your medical records, work history, and income. You will also have to submit your medical records, physician’s statement, diagnosis, lab reports, tax returns, and bank statements at some point.
You can save time by gathering as much of this information as possible and bringing it to your preliminary interview. We can help with this process by letting you know what you will need and how you can obtain it.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
You are not required to have a lawyer to begin applying for SSI. However, with the odds of approval stacked against you—most applicants receive a denial on their first try—it is a good idea to have legal representation to help make your application as strong as possible.
The attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group, focus on Social Security disability law. We have won benefits for clients filing many types of claims in many different circumstances. In our years of business, we have seen it all. We can use our knowledge and resources to guide you through the application process.
Call 865-566-0800 Today for a Free Consultation.
The attorneys at the Disability Advantage Group, are ready to start working for you right away. Set up a free consultation by calling 865-566-0800.