Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is issued to any person who meets the SSA guidelines for disability and income and resource requirements. People with low income and assets amounting to less than $2000 can typically qualify for SSI if they are disabled. Homeless persons are entitled to the same application processes as other applicants for SSI. Homelessness and SSI benefits can present unique challenges to homeless people when filing for or receiving disability benefits.The lack of a permanent home address or contact information can make communication efforts with the SSA more complicated to achieve for homeless persons. If you are homeless and seeking to apply for disability benefits, there are certain guidelines you can follow to make the application process easier for you.
Submitting an SSI Application While Homeless
Persons who are homeless may experience challenges when preparing and submitting their applications to the SSA. You may not have a place to prepare all the required documentation for the application, or the necessary tools (such as a computer) to submit the paperwork that is needed. There are, however, resources that you can turn to in order to prepare and submit your application to the SSA.
Libraries often have computers with an internet connection that you can use. Churches, shelters and other groups that advocate for homeless persons can also assist you in filing an application. In some cases,
Homelessness and SSI benefits concerns can also be addressed at your local SSA office. You can stop by to file an application or schedule an appointment with a disability official.
Maintaining Contact With the SSA
An important part of the application process is having a way in which the SSA can contact you regarding your application. The SSA typically requires speedy responses to their information requests (most responses are required within 10 days).
It is, therefore, important for you to have a channel of communication where you can be quickly reached. You may use the contact information of a trusted family member, friend, church or shelter. Just make sure these sources can easily reach you when the SSA needs your response to an inquiry. Hiring a disability repesentative can also be a good way to have a reliable contact reference for your application.
Receiving Your Monthly Benefits
If you’re approved for SSI, you need to figure out how you will be receiving your monthly benefits. Being homeless, you may not have an address where your payments can be sent. In addition, the SSA no longer mails checks on an ongoing basis; all payments are now issued in electronic form.
Some of the options you may consider are setting up direct deposit if you have a bank account, or signing up for the Direct Express program. With direct deposit, you can have your payments credited directly into your bank account every month. It is a quick, safe and convenient option, with no fees involved.
The direct express program is also a good option if you don’t have a bank account. You do still need a mailing address in order to receive your debit card. Using a shelter or church address, or that of a family member/friend could be an option for you when you initially receive your debit card.
SSI Benefits and the USICH
The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) is a governmental organization that coordinates the federal efforts towards reducing and ending homelessness. Homeless citizens who are in need of Florida disability can visit their website (http://www.usich.gov/) in order to get information on resources that can assist with homelessness and SSI benefits.
Getting Help for Your Disability Claim
The application process for SSI is often difficult, even for persons who are not homeless. You need to prove that you are indeed disabled, that the disability is preventing you from working, and that your condition is expected to last for at least a year. Providing evidence for your condition often requires the submission of medical records, doctors’ reports and treatment information to the SSA. In addition, as an SSI applicant, you need to show proof that your assets total less than $2000, as well as proof of how much income you earn on a monthly basis.
As a homeless person, gathering all these documents can be very challenging. You should seek the help of trusted family and friends, churches or shelters when preparing the required documents.
It is also a good idea to seek the services of professional disability representatives when filing your application. Disability lawyers or representatives can help you strengthen your application and improve your chances of obtaining SSI benefits.