New Online Tool to Get Started Applying for SSI


New Online Tool to Get Started Applying for SSI

Article by Lesley Mehalick, J.D., LL.M., Supervising Partner of the Estates and Trust Department at McAndrews, Mehalick, Connolly, Hulse and Ryan P.C.

Social Security Administration (SSA) has just released a new online tool to allow individuals to notify SSA that they want to apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). It can be found on the SSA website,, and the link is provided below. SSI is an extremely important public benefit that pays a monthly check to several categories of persons, including persons who are disabled and are financially eligible (they must have less than $2,000.00 of liquid assets and also limited income). A person who is interested in applying for SSI can now use this online tool to request an appointment at a local Social Security office to apply for SSI benefits. The online request establishes a “protective filing date” that will be used as the application date, so long as the individual submits an SSI application within 60 days. The protective filing date is very important as it is the date that will determine when the applicant can start receiving SSI benefits.
The online filing tool is an effort to reach communities facing barriers and to facilitate the SSI application process, and it should only take about 5-10 minutes to complete. It asks some preliminary screening questions that are basic information, such as name, date of birth, address, phone number, email address, and Social Security Number. Once a filing is made, SSA will schedule an appointment to apply for SSI benefits and written confirmation of the appointment will be sent to the applicant. Additionally, if SSI is needed on an exigent basis, the applicant can indicate that he or she has a "priority life circumstance," such as homelessness, a terminal illness, or recent release from incarceration. In that case, SSA will contact the applicant within three business days. This new ability to begin the SSI application online is an important development as it will lessen the burden on applicants and will also preserve a date for the receipt of SSI benefits.

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