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. In 2022, the maximum federal SSI benefit is $841 a month for an individual and $1,261 for a couple who both qualify for the program.
Applying requires extensive documentation of your income and other financial resources, which play a major role in determining your eligibility and benefit amount. 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), either by phone or in person at an SSA field office.
Social Security allows people to complete the SSI application process online, without the need for an interview, only if they 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. Social Security will contact you if it needs 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 customer-service number (800-772-1213) or contacting your local SSA office to schedule an appointment.
Keep in mind
- Parents filing for SSI on behalf of a disabled child can begin the process by completing an online Child Disability Report. A Social Security representative will contact you to complete the application process.
- It's permissible for a friend, family member or other representative to assist someone who has difficulty navigating the filing process because of physical, cognitive or mental health issues. See the SSA's Information for People Helping Others webpage to learn more.
- If you are receiving SSI, you can use an online My Social Security account to access some benefit services, such as setting up or changing direct deposit for your payments.
- Non-U.S. citizens who are in the country legally may be eligible for SSI but must meet Social Security Administration criteria related to their residency status.
Updated April 8, 2022