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. Martha S.

    Great information. Thanks for sharing this Homelessness and Social Security. Social Security is the foundation of economic security for millions of Americans—retirees, disabled persons, and families of retired, disabled or deceased workers.

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  2. sean C.

    It sean couture
    I did to filled out online for Extra help about Medicare part d premium also I had ask you a questions Do you need anything from. Me. Let me know

    • Diana V.

      Hello Sean. Thank you once again for using our blog. Unfortunately, but for security reasons, we do not have access to personal records in this blog. Please contact your local Social Security office directly. Look for the general inquiry telephone number using our Social Security Office Locator link. You can also call our toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Thanks.

      • sean C.

        Thank you

        • Johnathan y.

          Yes I’d need my benit

  3. sean C.

    it sean couture
    I had a question ask you I am eligible Extra help about Medicare part d premium I need updates information I can filled online or send me application for Medicare part d. Please let me know

    • Diana V.

      Hello Sean. Thank you for using our blog. You can apply for Extra Help with Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Costs online. It’s easy! If you are unable or would rather not apply online, you can call us at 1-800-772-1213, representatives are available Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., 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. We hope this helps.

      • sean C.

        Thank you

  4. sean C.

    I am a recipient of SSDI benefits my name is sean couture I had questions about. My Medicare part b premium from 148.50 you take out my SSDI check Why I Not fully receiving 913.00 months it almost. Over year now Please let me know

    • sean C.

      Only. Monthly 756

      • Diana V.

        Hello Sean. Thank you for using our blog. The standard Medicare Part B premium in 2021 is $148.50/month. For more information about Medicare costs, visit the Your Medicare Costs webpage. In addition, you may be eligible to receive assistance from the state where you live. Medicare enrollees who have limited income and resources may get help paying for their premiums and out-of-pocket medical expenses through the Medicare Savings Programs (MSP). You can contact the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services by calling 1-800-633-4227. We hope this information is helpful.

        • sean C.

          Hi Diana it sean couture
          I had a question ask you I am eligible Extra help about Medicare part d premium I need updates information I can filled online

  5. Bob H.

    My brother is on social security but his benefits aren’t enough to help him get an apartment he’ll be homeless and needs assistance where can he go.

    • Diana V.

      Hello Bob. Thank you for using our blog. Your brother can find information about public housing assistance by visiting the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website. In addition, he may be eligible to receive services from his state or local social services office. These services may include Medicaid, meals, housekeeping help, transportation or help with other problems. He can also visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services web page for more information. We hope this information is helpful.

      • Robert H.

        Thank you

  6. Guadalupe V.

    I am a recipient of SSI benefits my name is Guadalupe Velasquez
    I have a son that is 44 years old he has a disability he is deaf and mute he has a income for his disability and I would like to know where he can get help for housing because he went homeless.
    Desperate Mother

  7. Mary A.

    I’m disable I get my ssi n disability but it’s not enough to rent an apartment I have to get surgery on my back but I don’t have a a home to recover
    PLEASE Help Me

  8. Warren C.

    I’m on SSI and homeless. I’m also a felon so it’s very hard finding a place to live even if im willing to pay. I have a pacemaker and there’s days where i can’t take my medication. All i want is someone to help me.

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