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. Darin N.

    Igetssi once a month and would like to have a mobile home and get off of hud for somebody else I got a gooddown payment 5000

  2. Sherri M.

    I’m on ssi all I get is 564.00 I need a place to live an away to get back an forth to the doctor the medicade van has failed to get me a ride at least 5 times I have a lot of health problems heart lungs nerve damage anxiety arthritis an it’s no way I can afford anywhere to live .besides getting away to the doctor

    • Cay H.

      I completely understand where you are at Sherri. I have been in the same situation. I used stimulus to buy me a truck cheap.Pray everyday it does not break down. So now can get to doctors.Still have no place of my own to live.

      • Tonya

        I can relate to you on this topic and beyond so much more. My name is Tonya. I have not worked an actual job since Aug.8, 2015 due to taking FMLA on a job that I worked on for 13 yrs. At that time I held a job working with individuals with disabilities and the job underpaid me. I only made $8.40 hourly. I lost my job through no fault of my own and
        Back then, I was diagnosed with Hypertension, Asthma, Fibromyalgia, Scoliosis, Diabetes, Severe Depression, stage 2 Renal Disease. Since then, I’ve developed nerve damage to both of my eyes, Sleep Apnea, partial left knee replacement and I have Arthritis all over my body, especially in the knees, back, hip. I’ve filed for disability and Supplemental benefits and was denied for it all. I still to this day have no income to support myself in any way. I even tried committing suicide in December 2018 after the death of my son who passed away July that same year.

        • Vonda

          Tonya, we are sorry to hear about your disability. If you were recently denied, you may file an appeal within 60 days of receiving the decision and provide additional evidence.

          If you need help requesting an 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!

          • Tonya W.

            Hi Vonda, I have an attorney that have filed for an appeal and now waiting for the Federal Court to decide where the case for me stands.

  3. Mark H.

    I am disabled and homeless I am desperately in need of any help. I can’t use my hands and I’m not going to make it out here much longer

    • Jim

      Can’t use your hands but can post a comment?

  4. Shaka S.

    I have not received my 3rd stimulus check I have receive my first and second stimulus check I’m on SSI what is the problem

  5. Shaka S.

    I have not yet received my third stimulus check I received first and second one stimulus check I am on SSI what is the problem

  6. David A.

  7. Trish

    There are a lot of people who have social security disability already and are living on the street. And even without a home, the amount is so paltry that they still can’t even afford to live being homeless.

    • Craig

      I am on that position,you see all this talk about seniors who can’t live on social security meanwhile people on SSI are given far less and usually have a great need due to poor physical health it makes no sense how can we live on 700 a month and if we apply for EBT it’s only 16.00 a month in assistance it’s like the government is trying to kill us off

      • Nicholas

        I agree 100% 16..00 is a slap in the face

    • Candysue

      This is true.i hav been disabled since a car wreck crippled my legs when i was 20.i am now 49 years old.and when i first got disability so many years ago it was 600 a i get 793 dollars a rent is 660 a month.i barley make it.its so hard.i read how they say we get 1600 a month to liv on.thats such a lie.its really hard to make it im barley doin it by tbe grace of god.

  8. Joe R.

    I’ve been struggling sence covid-19 started I’ve been living and renting from my brother house sence one of my roommate tested positive for covid-19 and didn’t want to catch it so I wasn’t home as much but now I find my self homeless and had not report to ssi ssdi my living arrangements will I loose my ssi income?

    • Julie D.

      I am homeless when this coronavirus started and the homeless shelter is full and I have no where to go because here in Idaho it is times 3 to move in and just for something like 350.00a month I would have to have 1050.00 a month to move into a place and 814.00 helps but it is not a lot to live when my landlord raised my rent to 850.00 so she could kick me out so I have two eviction on me and I can’t get into a place at all because I don’t have enough money to live on please help me because Idaho doesn’t have anything for very very very low income and right now I can’t get into a place because the rent is to high priced

    • Candysue

      No but they will lower it to like 400 a month.

    • Vonda

      Hi Joe, thank you for using our blog to ask your question. You need to report the change in your living arrangement to Social Security so that you are receiving the correct benefit amount. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a needs based program so a change in your income, assets and living arrangement can affect your benefits and it must be reported. You can call 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. We hope this information helps.

  9. Lorrainne

    Heres what biden feels about mentally ill people retired people and veterans. Heres the youtube link it reveals his own evil veiws and how he hates and will dispose of all people on ssi ssdi and ssa. And he did do it too. I get ssdi and got my 1st and 2nd stimulus checks but not the 3rd stimulus check based on i was claimed as a dependent on sombodys tax return. Biden is such a fluke a joke and a very bad person. He is also dirty and a down rite liar. He is scandolous too. Anyways heres the link Bernie Sanders shared on youtube. I hope this helps anybody out who is mentally ill elderly or a veteran or anyone still waiting for there 3rd stimulus check.

    • Margaret

      The erspn who claimed me got the 1400, I’m on ssi I got my check deposited onto my direct express card you need to go on to get my payment tool from irs, I am not the only one I’ve asked everyone I know you are still entitled to your own 1400. If you had an account or changed banks etc you would have needed to update your information, bothy other stimulus checks sent to my regular card but the 3rd went on an old add account lucky it was direct express old account and my bank noticed it. Look it up on Google you should still have gotten your 1400. Everyone I talked to in Facebook in the ssi age got it too even though a game lybet got a check that is separate from you. Trust me good luck

    • Shaka S.

      I have not yet received my third stimulus check I received first and second one stimulus check I am on SSI what is the problem

      • Vonda

        Hi Shaka, 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!

  10. Baron

    My name is Baron. Social security is charging an overpayment fee for SSI from 2011 which is already been paid. I sent in proof of the payment, and they start taking the money out of my check for something that is already paid.

    • Vonda

      For your security, Baron, 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.

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