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Can I apply for Supplemental Security Income online?

En español | No, except in narrow circumstances. For most applicants, filing for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits requires direct contact with a Social Security representative.

SSI provides monthly payments for people who are disabled, blind, or 65 and older and have very limited income and assets. Applying requires extensive documentation of your finances. If you are filing on the basis of a disability, you will have to provide evidence of your medical history.

The process typically includes an interview with an SSI specialist from the Social Security Administration (SSA). In-person SSI interviews have been restricted since March 2020 because of COVID-19, but they can take place by phone.

SSA allows people applying because of disability or blindness to do so online if they also meet all these criteria:

  • They are between 18 and 65 years old.
  • They are U.S. citizens living in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia or the Northern Mariana Islands.
  • They have never married.
  • They have not previously applied for SSI.
  • They are simultaneously filing for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), the other Social Security–run benefit program for people unable to work because of illness or injury.

Under these conditions, you can file online through the SSDI application process. SSA will contact you if its representatives need additional information. You will receive a printed summary of the application in the mail for your records.

Otherwise, you can apply by calling Social Security's national number, 800-772-1213, or contacting your local SSA office to schedule a telephone appointment. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, SSA field offices are closed to walk-in traffic and scheduling physical appointments only in select “dire need” situations.

During this period, the agency is with advocacy, faith and community organizations on campaigns to reach vulnerable populations — such as people with low income, limited English proficiency or mental illness — with information on SSI and SSDI and tools for applying.

Keep in mind

Published March 30, 2021

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