Javascript is not enabled.

Javascript must be enabled to use this site. Please enable Javascript in your browser and try again.

Skip to content
Content starts here
CLOSE ×
Search
Leaving AARP.org Website

You are now leaving AARP.org and going to a website that is not operated by AARP. A different privacy policy and terms of service will apply.

How do I apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI)?

 

Supplemental Security Income is a safety-net program administered by the Social Security Administration that provides cash assistance to people with limited income and financial resources who are 65 or older, disabled or blind. Most people seeking SSI benefits must call Social Security at 800-772-1213 or visit their local Social Security office to apply. That goes for all those applying on the basis of age.

member card

AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal

Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP the Magazine.

Join Now

Local offices fully reopened April 7 after being closed to walk-in traffic for more than two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Social Security recommends calling in advance and scheduling an appointment to avoid long waits.

Disabled or blind adults may apply online if they meet all these criteria:

  • They are between 18 and 65.
  • They have never married.
  • They have not previously applied for SSI.
  • They are applying at the same time for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Social Security’s primary benefit program for disabled people. (It is permissible to receive Supplemental Security Income on top of your SSDI benefits.)

Completing the multistep online application can be a lengthy process, but you don’t have to do it in one sitting — the Social Security website allows you to save the form and return to it later.

If you are applying for SSI on behalf of a disabled child, you can start the process by filling out a Child Disability Report online. You will need to call 800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment with your local Social Security office to complete the SSI application.

Be prepared to get some papers together: You’ll need to extensively document your income, work history, financial assets, living arrangements and, if applying on the basis of blindness or disability, your medical history. Social Security has an online checklist.

Keep in mind

  • Supplemental Security Income is paid out of general U.S. Treasury funds, not from Social Security taxes. You need not have worked a certain amount, or paid FICA taxes, to be eligible.
  • SSI benefits are available to residents of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Northern Mariana Islands. Residents of other U.S. territories (including Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa and the U.S. Virgin Islands) cannot receive SSI.

Join AARP to continue reading

Find exclusive interviews, smart advice, free novels, full documentaries, fun daily features and much more — all a benefit of your AARP membership — on Members Only Access.

Join AARP for Members Only Access

Already a Member?