When you have finished this article, I trust you will have a better idea of what Social Security (SSI) is and how to apply for it.  You will have a better understanding of the process, how to proceed and how to avoid some common mistakes that families make when. For people that do not know what Social Security is, here’s the definition.  A United States federal program of social insurance and benefits developed in 1935. The Social Security program’s benefits include retirement income, disability income, Medicare and Medicaid, and death and survivor-ship benefits.

Most people think that Social Security is only for senior citizens, but that is not true. Individuals with disabilities can also collect Social Security. The kind you can receive, if you have a disability, depends on your situation. To qualify for SSI, you must meet Social Security’s harsh definition for being disabled. A disability by Social Security’s standards is a medical condition that can last for a duration of more than one year or result in death.

To apply for Social Security, you can either fill out the online application at https://www.ssa.gov/ or you can also set up an appointment to meet with a Social Security representative by calling 1 –800 –772–1213.

If you are hearing impaired, contact their TTY number at 1 –800 –325 –0778.  You can also contact your local Social Security office between the hours of 7 AM – 7 PM, Monday through Friday.  Once you call to set up an appointment, they will send you a disability claim prepare kit. This kit can also be found online. There is a claim’s checklist to help you determine if you have everything you need for your appointment. When you make your appointment, bring your child or their birth certificate, your child’s Social Security number and proof of a valid citizenship.

Social Security can provide some information by phone 24/7.

If your child is over 18, he or she can apply for Social Security by themselves. Social Security goes through a five-step process to determine if you have a qualifying disability to find out what the five-step approval process entails. Read that publication, Supplemental Social Security. Publication number (05-11000).

I was talking to one of the supports coordinators at The Arc Alliance, and they gave me a couple of tips that I think would be helpful for you to know.

Tip number one, when applying for Social Security, make sure that it is only the beneficiary’s income that shows up on the application. The individual applying must have less than $2,000 in their account or they will be denied. This bench mark of $2,000 is an issue that must be closely tracked or the SSI will be impacted. An ABLE Account is one way to help individuals manage their financial resources while maintaining under $2,000 in their bank account.

Tip number two, when your child is receiving Social Security, ensure that you report any wages that your child receives. If you fail to do so, you will have to give income back to Social Security, and over time, the back pay can add up quickly.

This is a tricky system to engage, so I recommend connecting with your supports coordinator and tap into their knowledge and experience.

Stay tuned for the next blog, we will be starting an entirely different topic, living arrangements.

I gave you a starting point and some information, but as always, do not hesitate to contact The Arc Alliance for further assistance with applying for Social Security.  That is all for now.  As always, remember it only takes one person to change the world. 🙂