A new online tool can help if you or a loved one is interested in applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
In 10 minutes or less, you can provide some basic information that will allow a Social Security Administration representative to schedule an appointment and mail or email details about the appointment, according to the SSA. It is also possible that a representative may call to schedule the appointment.
In an announcement, the SSA explains the value of using the new tool:
“Using this tool documents intent to file an application and establishes a protective filing date. The protective filing date determines when payments can begin if an application is approved.”
The administration also notes that others can use the tool on your behalf to express your interest in applying for SSI. This might include:
- Parents of minor children
- Family members
- Members of advocacy groups
The tool is accessible from the “Supplemental Security Income” page of the SSA website.
If you cannot use the online tool, you can still use a written statement of intent to apply for SSI benefits, or an oral inquiry about your eligibility, to establish a protective filing date.
What is Supplemental Security Income?
SSI provides monthly payments to those with a disability or blindness who meet specific financial limits. Those 65 and older without disabilities who meet the financial criteria also may be eligible for SSI benefits.
As we detail in “7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking,” SSI payments are meant to help beneficiaries pay for basic needs like food, clothing and housing.
The payements are not the same as Social Security benefits. Although the SSA oversees the SSI program, SSI benefits are funded by general tax dollars rather than Social Security payroll taxes.
Generally, an individual must have less than $2,000 in resources and a couple must have less than $3,000 to be eligible for SSI. Such resources include cash, property and other types of assets, according to the SSA.