Guest Bloggers, People Facing Barriers, SSI

Homelessness and Social Security

May 6, 2021 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

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. Angela L.

    I’m on SSDI and I budget the best I can I don’t have a place of my own I have to stay with a friend and I keep up with the news on President Biden’s relief plan and he is doing nothing to help any of us that survive on Ssi,ssdi, etc its all about child tax credit n family’s with children and free college tuition etc well what about us what about the veterans that fought for this country we matter to iv tried to commit suicide 4 times because it was like what’s the point.And president Biden is wasting rebuilding alls he is doing is giving to the wealthy and causing baby making factories.

    • Vera m.

      I’m on SSDI by the time you pay the bills you don’t have any money left and I’m still waiting on the stimulus check I didn’t receive the first one I did get the second one but have not got this one which has not came it’s not easy living on such little bit of money and the High Cost of Living

      • Vonda

        Hi Vera, thank you for using our blog. The IRS, not Social Security, sends all economic impact payments. Unfortunately, our telephone representatives and social media team cannot answer your specific situation about payments. You can find the latest information available from the IRS website. If you don’t see the answer to your question, you can call the IRS’ payment hotline at 1-800-919-9835. Thanks!

    • Bill H.

      Ms Chase, I just read your comment & I’m in the same situation as you. Wondering why hasn’t there been anything said or done to help us on SSI/SSDI. I have been receiving it for 3 decades & I’m just over 50. You’ve said exactly what I’ve been wanting to ask. Well done
      & well written.. Thank you. Bill H. P.S. After further reading of these comments, you are all so cool & correct. Stay safe.

  2. SHADEY L.

    I have been on ssi for over 10yrs now I have serious mental health issues and due to our great countries out sourcing practices I was cut off because the asshole I got stuck talking to from New Delhi no doubt didnt know how to diferentiate from a mailing address and a pysical address so not only did I lose almost all of my monthly payment I had to prove to them I was stlll homeless and the only way to do that was to get divorced do O had something to give them on my behalf. PLEASE EXPLAIN TO ME WHY I HAD TO FIX THE MISTAKE THEY MADE OR BE PENNILESS AND FOR FUCKS SAKE REALLY A DIVORCE WAS THE ONLY THING THAT WOOD SATISFY THESE BASSACKWARDS PIECES OF SHIT!!!!!

  3. Worthy g.

    I have over and over tried to reach Joe biden no one helps and you cannot tap to see that song care so to everyone here I have told them over and over please help the homeless and the poorest of people like
    Ssi someone tell the government to help all of us with money the economy is no good

    • Melodee R.

      Please we on S.S.I are suffering. Have to live way below poverty on bare bone budget. Can barely have essentials and everything getting costlier. It is impossible to be happy,optimistic, or hopeful.we are denied everything while others get it!

      • Blessed

        Thank god u got something it may be a little but better then nothing

        • Deanna

          That’s what I say. I have applied for SSI and was denied. I have high blood pressure, COPD, mesh inside of me, bad nervous in my leg that makes me fall. Can’t stand for no more than 20 minutes, can’t walk two blocks without stopping to rest. Depression,. Had a stroke last year and going blind. Social security says I’m not disabled. I’ve worked since I was 15 & just found out that I only have 32 credits & you have to have 40 to qualify for retirement. I’m screwed. I rather have a little bit of something then nothing at all. Sometimes, I just feel like, I wish God would just call me home. My son helps me out when he can . He’s eplictic and has had seizures since he was 7 years old, he’s now 40. I thank God for him & my grandson.

          • Vonda

            Deanna, we are sorry to hear about your disabilities. If you were recently denied, you can file an appeal within 60 days of receiving the decision. You can provide additional evidence when filing the appeal.

            If you need help with the appeal, you can call us at 1-800-772-1213 for assistance or contact your local Social Security office. 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.

            Some individuals may be eligible to receive additional assistance from the state where they live; while they wait for a final determination on their disability claim. These services include Medicaid, free meals, housekeeping help, transportation or help with other problems. You can get information about services in your area from your state or local social services office. You can also visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services web page for more information. We hope this information is helpful!

    • Kelly G.

      I actually googled email president and Whitehouse sight came up I clicked on they had list asked who I wanted to email there a list and Biden is one of them I get disability I had concerns I’ve emailed trump when he was president and Biden when he became president both times i saw change was fast

  4. Angel b.

    My name is angel and I’m on ssi and I’m homeless living from motel to motel

    • Blessed

      Apply for housing should be able to get housing really fast since you’re on Social Security they usually move you to the top of the list

      • Tammy P.

        Tammy where I live they might put you first in line but it takes him 2 years to get you into a house

    • Vonda

      Hi Angel, thanks for reaching out. 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!

  5. Dqn

    Darn thing broke and can’t be fixed and we just keep replacing. The band said to hold is together .peace out

  6. Vicki F.

    Grateful to know SSA is acknowledging the issue of homelessness I have been trying to find out how to get a advocate to help me I am disabled with multiple sclerosis with such a limited income it is impossible to get any kind of apartment that is affordable enough any help with how to get help with this I am on housing waiting list at number 11,000 in Maryland the stress has made my illness progress

    • Bunny

      Hi Vicki,

      I also have Multiple Sclerosis and understand how navigating these issues can affect our disease. The Department of Children and Family Services have applications for help and social workers available. Additionally, you can contact any local and national MS organizations that provide additional resources to contact. Plus, calling information services which can connect you with other county wide agencies that can help you. I hope this gives you a starting place.

    • Cindy B.

      You can go to the housing authority for your county and get an apt thru them beaded on income. Apply for food stamps and medical. I did it! I get snap ssdi and managed care Medicaid if I can do it all by myself I know anybody can thnx

      • Tammy P.

        I think it’s easier for some and harder for others and I think it’s what part of the United States you live in because I think in some states there’s different laws

  7. No n.

    I hate you guys. You’ll be the reason I commit suicide. I cannot work because of my disability I’ve been homeless since 2013.

    • Alers

      Verdaderamente Todos lo relacionado a servicios de SSDI u otros son peores que el Covid, trabajan fatal y por quienes deseen ayudar. Llevo 9 meses que por error de ellos he qiedado sin mis beneficios de Ingreso, sin un techo estable para vivir, y he recaido como nunca en un estado psicologico grave del cual aun no me he podido re-establecer.
      Por personas como ellos es que existen tant@s personas con perdida de personalidad y viviendo en las calles. Y que facil es para ellos salir de su casa trabajar comer y llevar una vida estable
      El COVID son ellos mismos y no tienen cura.

      • Robert

        I wish I. Would read that…not often I have the interest…..

    • Rosie M.

      In Jesus Name I Will Pray For You I’m On Disability Also Have Been Since 1999 But Accidents Do Happen If You Need Help Reach Out And Ask There Are Lots Of People Out There Holding Out A Helping And Waiting To Help Just Ask I Have And There Has Been Help For My Family And I All You Have To Do Is Take The First Step Please Dont Blame One Step is All It Takes Love You And Be Praying For You

    • Robert

      I’m there with you.! Some people seem to know all the Hoops they jump thru……
      Since 2013 Homeless started in
      L.A. and it’s continued since..
      Have. Not received a penny from all this Stimulus B.S.
      For the people that. Need it the most??? WTF…..i don’t make the. Cut?? Ok fine Gov….just kill me

    • Cindy B.

      Its not their fault blame OT on ssa for probably turning you down a time or 2 just keep on applying if you dont know how you can get an attorney that only collects if you collect!

      • Sandra

        Be aware that is you were to win a settlement for your ssid they will divide your money up between the five years while you’re waiting to get on said. Their is no getting ahead, these lawyers don’t tell you that. So sad, I wish I knew.

        • Sandra

          Be aware that if you were to win a settlement for your ssid they will divide your money up between the five years while you’re waiting to get on ssid. Their is no getting ahead, these lawyers don’t tell you that. So sad, I wish I knew. Crazy spell check

    • Blessed

      You should have a better attitude because they didn’t have to give you any money at all you could have denied you multiple times

  8. Arthur R.

    This is great awareness… Tesla1894 electro chemistry vs potential YOU energys ♎ ohms law

  9. J

    Not all of GOD’s children are going to “fit” – “nicely” & “neatly” into this greed motivated, profit generated, militarilistic society. For those, the “cracks” open up, & one falls in.
    My very best “breaker bar” to force good trouble & change, was to struggle to bring a weather barrier & protection from street crime to Vet men, wpmen & children. After 15 yrs, from a position of homelessness, all I found was “obsticles”, “barriers”, & “disencentives”.
    Jesus Christ & his 12 “buddies” were predomently homeless. There are many, many talented humans that have “no fixed permanent” address. This should change. With the guidence of GOD Almighty, the “upper class” will be required to assist. It is on it’s way, try not foil this. Love & Peace Always, Shalom – – annon.

  10. Jeanne M.

    I am currently enrolled in the ticket to work program via my ssi/disability . I have been on disability for the past 11 years. And a year and a half ago I got a partime job . my disability is mental. By the way. But I signed up for the ticket to work program because they said I could work as many hours as I want and make as much as I want without penalties . Since I have been on disability I have a very hard time keeping a single thought going on usually all over the place and it’s getting worse. My mania is out of control and I am so depressed because this past April I lost my brother and the next day I lost my job because I needed to take a. couple of days to grieve. Just two is all I asked for. They fired me. The very next day I lost my disability and my place to live. So I am homeless and have no income and no Ssi because they said I was making too much money. There is no more hope for me. There is no one out there for me. No family no one. I am living in a tent out in a field with others like myself. Its dangerous and yes there are druggies. I like allot of the people out there are not. But it’s scary. I am 52 and dont have it in me to start over. I’m tired of all of these promises. Because they are empty. They dont mean what they say. They dont!!!

    • John C.

      Amen to that. Seriously…

    • John J.

      No SSI because of too much money? Let SSA know if your income has dropped.

    • Robert O.

      Your totally rite!! Do they do this shit on purpose?……
      Scary…..i share a lot of the same

    • Vonda

      Hi Jeanne, thanks for reaching out. Please call your local Social Security office regarding your disability benefits. Please look for the general inquiry telephone number at the Social Security Office Locator. The number may appear under Show Additional Office Information.

      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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