Published on: February 16, 2017
Almost everyone knows about the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program. However, fewer people are as familiar with the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The SSI program helps to cover the gaps in the Social Security retirement and disability programs, and is often used by those who cannot qualify for SSDI or retirement benefits because of the work history requirement.
To qualify for the SSI program, you must be one of the following:
- Age 65+;
- Blind; or
Also, you need to meet a substanial list of other requirements, including (but not limited to):
- Having limited income/resources;
- Being a current U.S. citizen, national, or an alien in a certain category (not subject to a deportation or removal warrant);
- Residing in the U.S., but not confined at the State’s expense (correctional facilities, psychiatric institutions, etc.);
- Applying for any other benefits to which you may be eligible; and
- Providing the SSA permission and access to any financial institution to verify income & asset status.
What You Need When You File for SSI in Florida
When you file for SSI, you’ll need to be able to prove to the SSA that you meet their requirements. Documentation that you’ll need may include:
- Social Security Card/Number. To look up your tax records and other important financial information, the SSA needs to check your Social Security Number (SSN). This means they’ll need to check the SSN on your Social Security card. If you do not have one, you will need to apply for a Social Security card before applying for SSI.
- Proof of Age. This can be a public birth record, religious birth record, or other documents that show your current age or date of birth, such as a State-issued ID card or driver’s license.
- Citizenship or Alien Status Record. If you are a U.S citizen, many of the same documents that prove your age may also be used as proof of your citizenship (birth certificate, religious record, state ID, etc.). A U.S. passport, naturalization certificate, or certificate of citizenship may also suffice. If you are an alien, you will need a current immigration document or an I-94 arrival/departure record.
- Proof of Income. If you earn income, you will need to provide the SSA with your payroll stubs or, if self-employed, a tax return for the previous year. You also need documentation for your “unearned” income, such as award letters, bank statements, court orders, receipts detailing frequency/amount of income, etc.). Be sure to bring documentation for your work expenses as well, as they may offset some of the income.
- Proof of Resources. Because you cannot have more than $2,000 in resources (when single, $3,000 if married), the SSA needs to verify your current assets to determine eligibility for SSI. This includes:
- bank statements
- deed/tax appraisals for any property you own besides the house you live in
- life/disability insurance policies
- burial contracts, plots, etc.
- certificates of deposit, stock, bonds, and other investment records
- titles or registrations for vehicles you own (cars, trucks, boats, etc.)
- Proof of Living Arrangements. You will need to provide a lease or rent receipt, deed or property tax bill, and other supporting information about the household costs for rent, mortgage, food, and utilities. Additionally, you will need to provide documentation about the names, birthdates, and SSNs for other members of the household.
- Medical Reports. If you are filing as blind/disabled, you need to provide documentation showing that you meet the SSA’s definition of blindness/disability. This includes medical reports from your physician, contact information for any doctors or specialists who treated your condition, along with dates of treatment, and the names of the prescription/non-prescription medications you take.
- Work History. While the SSI program doesn’t have a work history requirement, the SSA will want access to your work history documentation anyways. This includes job titles, names of companies you worked for, and dates worked. The SSA has a return to work incentive program that may use this information.
Note that if you don’t have an original document, the SSA may take a certified copy of the original document issued by the office that produced the original document. Photocopies will not be accepted.
Be sure to keep track of when you send the SSA important documentation, as well as the names of the Social Security employees with whom you spoke. The SSA should return any documentation that you send them once they’re done with it.
Need Help Filing for SSI Benefits?
The list above can be a pretty intimidating amount of documentation to keep up with. If you need help with your SSI benefits application, be sure to contact an experienced Florida disability advocate.
A disability advocate can help you organize your application paperwork so you can focus on other things. Learn more today!