The SSI Process

Many people who apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are unaware of another program that can provide significant assistance to persons with very low incomes: Supplemental Security Income (SSI). To meet the SSI income requirements, you must have less than $2,000 in assets (or $3,000 for a couple) and a very limited income.

The main difference between Social Security Disability (SSD, or SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is the fact that SSD is available to workers who have accumulated a sufficient number of work credits, while SSI disability benefits are available to low-income individuals who have either never worked or who haven’t earned enough work credits to qualify for SSD.

Applying for SSI Benefits

To apply for SSI benefits based on disability, a person must first make a claim or fill out an application. You can do this by contacting the Social Security office, either by phone or by visiting a local office or, in some cases, online.

It’s probably better to call first for an appointment. You can arrange for a phone interview rather than an interview conducted in-person, if you want. Interviewing over the phone is typically more convenient than traveling to the Social Security office.

How long a Social Security disability case takes to decide depends on many factors, such as how many cases a particular examiner has and how long it takes an examiner to gather a claimant’s medical information. Consequently, a claim may take as little as a month, or as long as several months. Typically, it takes three to six months.

Legal Advice

Anyone considering submitting an application for SSI might want to consult a lawyer who specializes in assisting persons in obtaining SSDI and SSI benefits. They will be able to provide assistance in assembling the necessary information to support the application and assistance with an appeal if the application is denied.