SSI: 50 Years of Financial Security

October 31, 2022 • By

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Last Updated: October 31, 2022

Social Security Administration LogoWe’re celebrating 50 years of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.

President Nixon signed the SSI program into law on October 30, 1972. Two years later, in January 1974, the agency began paying SSI benefits to people who meet the eligibility requirements. SSI recipients have limited income and resources, and this monthly payment helps meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.

Fifty years later, SSI remains a lifeline program for millions of people and households. SSI helps children and adults under age 65 who have a disability or are blind and who have income and resources below specific financial limits. People age 65 and older without disabilities–who meet the financial qualifications–may also receive SSI payments.

If you want to apply for SSI, it’s best to start the process online. The online process takes about five to ten minutes, and no documentation is required to start. We will need the following basic information about you or the person you’re helping:

  • The name, date of birth, Social Security number, mailing address, phone number, and email address (optional) of the person who is interested in applying for SSI.
  • If helping another person, we need your name, phone number, and email address (optional).

Once you provide this information and answer a few questions, we will schedule an appointment to help you apply for benefits. We will send a confirmation with the appointment date and time by mail and email (if provided). In some cases, we may call you to schedule the appointment.

If you’re unable to begin the process online, you may schedule an appointment by calling 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. local time, Monday through Friday. You may also contact your local Social Security office. You can find the phone number for your local office on our website.

Please share this information with your friends and family who need it–and post it on social media.

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  1. Lee

    How can things be so messed up at SSA? No one listens, no one person to handle your issue.

    SSA are very quick to make decisions to rip your benefits away, even when its partially their mistake. They had not included my work related expenses, ( I was told they no longer accept related work expenses).
    I was a 911 Paramedic that was permanently injured.
    Being a single person in my 60’s, I also had to find a part time job I could do to make bills.
    During COVID19 with the extra money they gave us, just for coming to work and working a few extra hours to keep my job because there was no one else.
    My benefits were striped away.
    I had received a letter saying all was ok after submitting pay amounts. Then in Jan I got a notice that I would not be getting a payment next week ????
    Well they had sent me a woman’s file named Barbara from Ohio, it wasn’t mine.

    I went to the local office 3 times and had to wait 6 weeks for a phone appointment.
    So here I am, April 14th 2023 and still nothing.
    Wait, there is a letter demanding over $20,000.00 immediately! BTW I did send in a waiver last month, still no word.

  2. Callie

    Hey I receive SSI and have been for a while now because I have way too many medical problems to count. I would have applied for SSI sooner but this counselor at the local HHS who was part of DARS kept telling me that I wasn’t really disabled and that I just need to get a job just like everybody else… Everybody else around me said the same thing and to stop whining…especially because I live in Texas and that they all know more people who have applied for SSI in Texas and got denied over and over so I have a snow balls chance in hell. I was a kid with adults telling me this stuff and me being stupid trusted these adults.

    So when I eventually went off to school trying to ignore my expensive medical problems which were killing my parents financially, well I had enough and just applied for SSI because my medical problems got to where I couldn’t ignore them anymore. Like I did my best to act like I was like everybody else but my body just couldn’t take it anymore. Me ignoring my medical conditions took it’s toll and I am so much worse off because of this.

    So yeah, I applied for SSI in Texas without a lawyer. And got approved on my first try. All the adults who told me that I wasn’t really disabled or that I was putting on could not believe it. But instead of being happy for me, they got very angry over it. Because apparently I don’t look disabled to them still. But whatever. The meds I need to live are crazy expensive. A normal person with a normal job cannot afford my medical care. And even with all the appropriate medical care, I’m still in lots of pain, hard time breathing, can’t do anything really. It sucks!

    But anyways, with SSI it’s so little and I wish I could have my own place to live. Been trying forever to get help. Nobody helps! When my dad retired he found out about something called DAC benefits. So I applied for that. And have been going back and forth with SSA over that because they say that I wasn’t disabled before age 22. Well, yeah because I didn’t apply until right after because of stupid adults telling me that I wasn’t disabled! Even dingdong counselor in HHS that was part of DARS told me that I wasn’t disabled and that if I applied that he would report me for fraud! I was a kid! What in the hell!? I was so scared! No wonder I didn’t apply for SSI before age 22. Because stupid me listened to and actually trusted stupid adults who were supposed to help me. Now because of that I am in this stupid predicament with trying to get DAC benefits. This is what I get! Unbelievable!

    And of course, the pandemic didn’t make contact with SSA any easier. With offices being closed whether temporarily or permanently… This made the phone lines completely jammed up! Even if you call on the dot when SSA opens, you are on hold for at least an hour! I can’t afford that on my phone bill! I don’t have a car either! I have to beg for rides and gas ain’t cheap!

    So anyways I say all of this because I got this weird letter in the mail Feb 11th saying it’s from SSA. But it’s not from the office I normally get it from which made me think this isn’t a real letter at all. Especially when it asked for my SSN. Like why? Because SSA knows my SSA number already. And of course this is tax time so I keep thinking this is a bogus letter claiming to be from SSA. But how am I supposed to find out if it is or not with the damned phone lines jammed all the damned time? I have a hard time getting rides.

    Sorry for responding so late about it but I’ve been having lots of doctors appointments and crazy stress going on. Should have gone to ER several times but didn’t because the closest ER that takes my type of Medicaid is far away and how in the hell am I supposed to get back to where I live? I can’t walk long distances. Not with what I have. And every time I tried calling those damned Medicare vans you have to schedule them weeks in advance in my side of town. So yeah, I won’t go to ER unless I have a ride back because I’ve been stranded before and then kicked out of hospitals because I had no ride. It’s not very nice. They don’t care if you’re disabled. Several times it’s Angina chest pains and hard time breathing and sometimes passing out too. Yeah, should have gone to ER but no ride back so nope. Didn’t go.

    And besides my parents aren’t going to be around forever so if I don’t find my own shelter sometime soon then yeah, I’m not going to ER for heart attack symptoms ever again in hopes I can get out of this awful existence because it’s terrible. Been trying forever to get housing for years… HUD never has any openings. Try every month. Several areas too. I don’t even live in a high price area and all the apartments, the cheapest ones, the rent is always more than my SSI check. Not counting utilities. How in the hell!? I don’t understand. So yeah, I really need to know about DAC benefits and if this letter I received is fake or not so that I can report it.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Callie. Thanks for visiting our blog. For more information about disabled adult children’s benefits, please visit our Disability Benefits|How You Qualify webpage. As far as the letter, for your security, 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, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. You can also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

  3. Terry

    I became permanently disabled at age 63, unable to work at my lifelong 40+ year career of ICU nursing, and at age 67 was automatically transferred to my Social Security retirement income. It is my sole income. I am struggling to pay my mortgage and debts. Is there any other assistance I can receive such as SSI, etc.?

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Terry. We are sorry to hear about your situation. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is a needs-based program that pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources. SSI benefits also are payable to people 65 and older without disabilities who meet the financial limits. To find more information on the SSI program and how to apply, please visit our Supplemental Security Income (SSI) page. You may be eligible to receive social services from the state in which you live. These services include free meals, housekeeping help, transportation, or help with other problems. To get information about services in your area and find out if you qualify, you will need to contact your state or local social services or welfare office. We hope this helps.

  4. Margeé

    Too many people receiving SSI or SSD, they should be working for their money.

    • Greg S.

      I hope you never have a disability because if you ever do you will find out how important having SSI means

      • jackie d.

        well said Greg!

    • Miss M.

      If you have the facts about just one person receiving SSI then… you can help their mental health, physical needs, and basic necessities. Let us start with the Vets.
      I’m not a Vet but hey I’m on SSI because I was diagnosed with being Bi-Polar. Facts Only, not just an opinion without having facts are Gibby gabby, Margee. Ignorance is not an excuse in this day & age, USE GOOGLE to look up facts before your unwise comment without knowledge of… Peace for you, dear woman.

    • Liz

      Who are you to say ANYTHING about WHAT ANYBODY DOES!?!?
      I truly hope that you never have to experience what I am going threw and a lot of other people also. I am 50 in 2004 I had brain surgery, not counting multiple and multiple back & neck surgeries, 2 knees, 3 shoulders, 2 foot of my intestines removed, cancer and a disease of the spine which is called arachnoidites. I am in the last stage 4 of it. Their is no cure, it gets worse as I get older and no surgery can fix it. Proliises will set in your legs and you can no longer use them. Now, before you go piping off at the MOUTH you need to stop and think REALLY GOOD before you do. You sir/madam have no idea what’s it’s like to be going threw this, I want to WORK but I can not… try living on 850 a month!?!?

  5. Kara

    I have been receiving both SSI + SSDI as well as Medicare and Medicaid since 2013. There hasn’t been any change in my income, however my rent has gone up and I no longer receive food stamps because the recertification was during the pandemic and they scheduled a time to call, but never did. The pandemic continued and the social services offices were closed and therefore unreachable, but they stopped my food stamps. I’m disabled and therefore cannot get to an account easily exp without transportation, which I don’t have. I was told that my Medicaid and SSI would end on 12/31/2022 unless I have an open case with social services. Apparently it is the only way to verify my income? I was wondering if that’s true and regardless of the answer, what should I do to ensure that I don’t lose my Medicaid and SSI. With the Medicaid, I couldn’t afford to use the Medicare.

  6. OS N.

    Wish there are Social and financial security for startups and people who want to do something and create jobs in own country- Online Shopping in Nepal

  7. Vaishnavi

  8. Adam

    Say, what does “since you were first entitled to benefits” mean? As used on the page about withdrawing an application (

    Is it tied to my birthday? Or is it related to the date I originally applied for benefits?

    (And if it is tied to my birthday, is the the date I could file for full benefits, or the earlier date I could file for reduced benefits?)

    I am sure this is obvious to those who know this stuff, but it is a head scratcher and is not explained.


    • Ann C.

      Hi, Adam. Thanks for visiting our blog.  If you change your mind about receiving retirement benefits, you may be able to withdraw your Social Security claim only if it has been less than 12 months since you were first entitled to benefits.

      Your date of entitlement is the month you start your benefits and may not be the same as the date you actually receive your first check. For more information, please visit our Frequently Asked Questions. If you have specific questions, you can call us at 1-800-772-1213, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., for assistance. You can also contact your local Social Security office. We hope this helps.

  9. Denise M.

    Can u get SSI if you are on SSDI?

    • JuNae J.

      I get SSI and SSDI so I don’t know I think it depends on how long you worked before you were disabled

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Denise. Thanks for your question. The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program is a needs-based program that pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources. SSI benefits also are payable to people 65 and older without disabilities, who meet the financial limits. You may be eligible to receive SSI monthly payments even if you are already receiving Social Security Disability Insurance or retirement benefits. For more information, please visit our Supplemental Security Income page. We hope this helps. 

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