Guest Bloggers, People Facing Barriers, SSI

Homelessness and Social Security

May 6, 2021 • By

Last Updated: May 18, 2021

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are lifelines for people experiencing homelessness. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2020 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report notes roughly 580,000 people are currently without a home and the National Alliance to End Homelessness found about 25-30 percent have severe physical and mental disabilities.

People who experience homelessness tend to age faster than people who have access to housing because of the stress of living on the street, poor nutrition, social isolation, and the effects of extreme weather and unsanitary conditions. They also often deal with substance use disorders along with severe health issues—including diabetes, heart disease, and HIV/AIDS.

The mental health disorders often also include cognitive problems that make understanding SSA’s terminology and process difficult to navigate. The standard process for applying for SSI and SSDI doesn’t work well for this population. Internet access proves virtually impossible. The COVID-19 pandemic has only made the struggle to apply for benefits worse.

Homelessness places limitations on a person’s communication with Social Security. Phone communication (including texts) presents difficulties—as does traditional mail. The limited options for contact and communication often lead to benefit application denial for technical reasons—such as not responding to mail and not keeping appointments. When this happens, individuals continue to re-apply as their health deteriorates and anxiety increases.

Third-party providers and organizations can help people experiencing homelessness navigate the SSI/SSDI process for faster benefit payment decisions. They can assist with taking their benefits applications and provide knowledgeable information and support to this underserved community. Third-party groups include:

  • Legal Services providers.
  • SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR) trained staff.
  • Health Care for the Homeless programs.
  • Community trained case managers and social workers.
  • Protection and Advocacy organizations in each state.

People experiencing homelessness can often start with contacting the Department of Social Services in their state to learn about other service providers who can help. Community behavioral health program providers may also assist homeless individuals to apply for benefits and submit medical information needed for decision-making.

Homelessness doesn’t have to be an ongoing condition for so many of our neighbors. Let’s work together to help those in need and ensure that those who are eligible are approved as early as possible in the process.

SSA’s posting of this blog does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation of any non-SSA organization or author.


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  1. Stop c.

    Fuck. You. Cry baby

  2. Onu E.

    Bu konuda benim fikirlerim de bu görüşe uygun.

    İçeriğime bakmalısınız: http://www.sualtidalis.online/

  3. Angela J.

    I have been denied two times I got hurt at work April 6,2018 and employer did not have worker’s comp insurance I had went to a doctor he sent MRI done and two weeks later hurricane michael hit are town and never got to go back to doctor because everything was shut down town still looks like a war zone in areas and I went to doctors that ss disability sent me too have 2 injures to left side of my neck I have some feeling in my left and do to fall at work I have in lower back all the time im able to take prescription pain medication because it doesn’t down in my and when it comes back up still in pill form so I take a lot of Advil every day but in so much everyday I live in apartment that RD voucher program my rent is 137.00 a month but have to have help from family . and can’t get any job because I never got released from any doctor so I’m stuck if I don’t tell about the accident I could be charged with fraud my attorney told me that was true ,sometime I think I wish when I got shot I would have just died then would not be worried all the time .it’s just been one thing after another did not recover from hurricane then covid19 happened .wish it was light switch and cut off and just be checked out I’m so tired of crying all the time .im sorry that you all are having problems to get help also

    • Lisag

      That is the good ole system in the USA!
      I agree! I would have shot myself if it was not for the fact I have a mentally ill 24 year old daughter that is totally dependent on me for survival! I don’t get any help from family. There are no programs to help where I am at because I do not have small school age children. My child is 24 and can carry on a conversation at times, she can learn, so what now? We have been denied any real help. Just told they should have programs for you & her.

  4. Bryan M.

    How about more housing for us
    My income is below poverty level
    So create all these services instead of tackling the issue?
    Housing Placement try that

  5. Gina

    Social security does not give a fuck about what any one needs U fight ur ass off going to all these doctors to prove u got a disability and for what to see the judge and she fucking denys ur claim doesnt matter how much proof from doctors u have ur getting denied the first 2 time it’s a bunch of bullshit and the fucking judges they enjoy denying people and making it hard for them and alot people really need the medical and the money to that really doesnt help do shit it’s a kick in ur face all these social security people and the judges and including our shitty ass goverment they know people cant live on what they get from ssi they know this and do nothing about it and ur suppose to be able to get a place pay rent,Bill’s,food because the amount of food stamps they give u isnt even close enough to being enough and dshs expect u to do all this shit uf u dont they take at least 40%of ur money away for not finding a place or ect…they act like they give u all this money and help there fucking up mother fuckers pieces of shit bitches iam gonna stop there fuck the goverment and social security 😎😆

    • Bryan M.

      I agree

      • Crissy

        completely undeniably agree!

        • Jacqueline b.

          I agree

    • Stop c.

      Fuck. You. Cry baby

  6. Lakysha J.

    The payments are too small. Im 51 years young with 2 daughters 14 & 17. We live with my daughter and her 2 children in a two bedroom house 1 bathroom
    One of them sleep on a small couch one sleeps on the floor. I sleep in my grand daughters room in a twin bed. My check from social security is $894 per month
    My prayer is for God to heal me so i can purchase a home for my girls. This wasnt my choice.

    • Betty J.

      $894??
      I’m 70 years old, and with SS & SSDI COMBINED…I get $814 per month!
      I live in SUBSIDIZED Senior Housing, and pay $187 + Electric per month for a 1 bedroom Apt.
      You should qualify for SUBSIDIZED Housing, and get a 2 bedroom (maybe even 3 bedroom with the age difference between your girls).
      Hope this helps!

      • Question

        Great for you. Do you know how many years long waiting lists are, if a city even keeps a waiting list????

        • Nancy.c

          Usually 2 to 3 yrs in California,I’m sure u can guess why.

    • Karen M.

      The gov’t has abused social security to fund their wars, etc. So now it’s even harder to receive. Shame they’re so heartless. They have even threatened to take a license from doctors who want to sign people up. Thereby reducing the numbers of recipients. People who do receive it however do not get back the interest rates their monies accrued. We live in poverty. Struggling to make ends meet. I’m sure that’s not what President Roosevelt had in mind for American people. Gross abuse of power has ruined it and made us poor.

    • Bryan M.

      Amen to you and us all

    • Rasheeda P.

      The issue with housing it was time for renewal at the time I choose to move due to house has this thing where’s they just don’t realize when your on ssi and it’s time to move where is resources

  7. Susan H.

    I’m curious how it helps when ssa takes pandemic assistence and deducts it from your benifit and takes your housing allowance and cal fresh from your benifit.
    the same benifit put in place to help loving during the pandemic.

    I’ve been waiting six months for some policy to be decided on for a presidential declared disaster! How does that work?

    I guess ssa feels I don’t need any help during the pandemic. interesting because the state does not count those funds and said they didn’t take my cal fresh. No ssa deducted it though!

    1000 a month deducted because and I quote the rep “they were taking dollar for dollar but won’t explain when I got 678 why they took a thousand”

    explain that!

    • Lisa S.

      They do not take or deduct for the covid stimulus. There must be a misunderstanding.

    • Vonda

      For your security, Susan, we do not have access to private information in this venue. We ask that members in our Blog community work with our offices with specific questions. You can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can call your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

  8. Gordon J.

    Why doesn’t social security just give us our money back that we paid while we were working all of our lives then we could get a house and live comfortable.I’ve had two brain surgeries one heart surgery I’ve got minutes jazz and sepsis that I take 90 day vaccines for I have epilepsy too traumatic brain injuries with two craniotomies to face brain aneurysms early myocardial injury and now two broken feet does SSI want to help absolutely not do they want to leave me homeless absolutely since I have the traumatic brain injuries I don’t have the professional function to find out what would help me when I asked SSI they give me the runaround so I don’t know what to do I’ve already had lawyers to get me SSI supplemental but I’m should be on SSDI I did not want to pay them because they lost the SSDI but the social security administration does pay them out of my fund that to me is conflict of interest but now I know that they work together poverty level in the United States of America was around $32,000 when I was raising a family now if you’re on SSI the only pay you $800 a month which equals out to around 10,000 a year so how in the world would anyone in the United States be able to live on that amount of money that would be no one they don’t care

    • Carol S.

      I AGREE! IT’S OUR MONEY. WE PAID INTO THAT.

  9. Marie

    I’m on SSI and pretty soon will be facing homelessness… having ssi doesn’t really help…
    how is a homeless person suppose to get out of being homeless when nothing is affordable…
    places that are suppose to help people with below poverty level income aren’t available … so again how is getting homeless people that may also need ssi gonna really help them?

    • Micki

      I’m in the same boat. Lost my boyfriend if 10 years, lost my home, 90% of what we had, and will probably lose my 3cats. I have my dog and a couch in a basement for a couple days and then we won’t have that. I have been asking for help for months and no one is listening. I have been beat up, money stole, and my clothes stole. I am a 55-year-old disabled woman,what do I have to do to get help? I don’t even have my car anymore to live in.

      • Vonda

        Hi Micki, thanks for using our blog. We pay disability benefits through two programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. To qualify for SSDI benefits, you must have worked long enough and recently enough in jobs covered by Social Security (usually within the last 10 years). The (SSI) program is a needs based program that gives cash assistance to disabled individuals with limited income and resources. We pay disability benefits to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to end in death. If you think you may be eligible to receive disability benefits and would like to apply, you can use our online application.

        If you are unable or would rather not apply online, you can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or you can contact your local Social Security office. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information. Please be aware that our call wait times are longer than normal. We hope this information helps.

  10. Marie

    I’m on SSI and pretty soon will be facing homelessness… having ssi doesn’t really help…
    how is a homeless person suppose to get out of being homeless when nothing is affordable…
    places that are suppose to help people with below poverty level income aren’t available … so again how is getting homeless people that may also need ssi gonna rely help them?

    • Nathan H.

      Currently homeless and receive SSDI. The landlords just say you need 3 times the amount of income. The feeling of being homeless is worst than feeling like trash.

    • Vonda

      Hi Marie, thanks for using our blog. Please visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services web page for the many programs and services available to you in your state. For information on public housing assistance visit the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website. We hope this helps!

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