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How to apply for SSI

If you are applying for SSI, you can complete a large part of your ­application by visiting their website at You also can call them toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 to ask for an appointment with a Social Security representative.

Parents or guardians usually can apply for blind or disabled children under age 18. In some cases, other third parties can apply for children.

You should bring certain items when you apply. Even if you do not have all of the things listed below, apply anyway. The people in the Social Security office can help you get whatever is needed. Please bring:

  • Your Social Security card or a record of your Social Security number;
  • Your birth certificate or other proof of your age;
  • Information about the home where you live, such as your mortgage or your lease and landlord’s name;
  • Payroll slips, bank books, insurance policies, burial fund records and other information about your income and the things you own;
  • The names, addresses and telephone numbers of doctors, hospitals and clinics that you have been to, if you are applying for SSI because you are disabled or blind;
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or eligible noncitizen status.

You also should bring your checkbook or other papers that show your bank, credit union or savings and loan account number so they can have your benefits deposited directly into your account. Direct deposit protects benefits from loss, theft and mail delay. The money is always on time and ready to use without making a trip to the bank.

A note for people who are blind or disabled

If you work, there are special rules to help you. You may be able to keep getting SSI payments while you work. As you earn more money, your SSI payments may be reduced or stopped, but you may be able to keep your Medicaid coverage.

You also may be able to set aside some money for a work goal or to go to school. In this case, the money you set aside will not reduce the amount of your SSI.

Blind or disabled people who apply for SSI may get free special services to help them work. These services may include counseling, job training and help in finding work.

You can get more information in Working While Disabled—How they Can Help (Publication No. 05-10095).

Right to appeal

If you disagree with a decision made on your claim, you can appeal it. The steps you can take are explained in Your Right To Question A Decision Made On Your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Claim (Publication No. 05-11008).

You have the right to be represented by an attorney or other qualified person of your choice. More information is in Your Right To Representation (Publication No. 05-10075).




There are 6 Comments

I am on unemployment which may run out before I finish cancer treatment and surgery. What are my chances of getting SSI if that happens.

To qualify for SSI, you must be disabled, blind, or over age 65 and have limited income and assets.

Having cancer ("Malignant Neoplastic Diseases") may qualify as a disability.

The decision regarding SSI benefits usually takes about three to four months from the date of application. However, this waiting period may drop under "compassionate allowances" for some conditions.

Im 40 yrs old with extreme anxiety which keeps me from working, can I sign up on SSI?

My son just got diagnosed with Pediatric Rheumatoid Arthritis, will he be considered as disable? He hasn't been able to walk for about five months now. The joints that have been affected are, both knees, both ankles, right hip and his right hip. He just got a walker to help him start walking again, but he can't walk on his own without it.


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