Guest Bloggers, People Facing Barriers, SSI

SSI Helps Our Most Vulnerable

May 13, 2021 • By

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Last Updated: May 13, 2021

Kate LangThe COVID-19 pandemic has forced Social Security to limit in-person appointments to critical situations only. This led to a sharp decrease in the number of people applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments. SSI provides monthly payments to people with low income and few resources who can no longer work due to age or disability.

Many of these individuals—especially older adults and those with limited English proficiency—rely on in-person meetings to get the help they need. Social Security stands ready to assist these groups with online and telephone services. Older adults wanting to apply for SSI payments must call the national 800 number (800-772-1213).  Those who are deaf or hard of hearing can call TTY 800-325-0778. Anyone can contact a local Social Security office to request an appointment. Social Security also provides free interpreter services in more than 150 languages.

At the end of 2020, Social Security began an outreach program for people currently receiving Social Security benefits who could potentially be eligible for additional payments through SSI. These individuals receive letters from Social Security to notify them of their potential eligibility. The letter provides a phone number people can call for possible SSI eligibility screening.

Social Security has also recently released on its web page additional Information for People Helping Others to apply for SSI or disability benefits. With these resources, more representatives from non-profits, health care organizations, and state and local governments can work with Social Security to serve those in need during these unprecedented times.

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

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  1. Joseph D.

    The efforts by SSI is crucial during this pandemic time especially in active as life saviour for the vulnerable group of people in the society.

    • Virginia A.

      The problem is the income eligibility levels are too low. I am a widow & receiving $2000-3000 less than when my husband was alive. I still have the same mortgage which is lower than rentals for apts & homes including 65+ rentals. My retirement income is still above the limit for SSI, VA Compensation Survivor Benefits & Food Stamps. I just lost Food Stamps due to low income eligibility levels. My husband & I had devastating circumstances that forced us to cancel life insurance policies, thus putting me in a spot of depending on SSA & 2 small survivor pensions. Because I am immunocompromised & at high risk of contracting & potentially dying from COVID-19 I was discouraged by my oncologist of working outside the home to supplemental insurance. This puts me in the vulnerable group indefinitely. I can only depend on federal and/or state assistance but again the income levels are so low I fall just outside of the amount yet still as a senior citizen & widow have pretty much the same expenses. Bottom line there is nothing set up to help those of us who need permanent help on a monthly basis. It’s not our fault that this virus was unleashed on the country but we need to survive & I need help now. 7/31/21 I will officially be a year behind on my mortgage. Housing counselors have all told me the same thing “you don’t have enough income”. Fortunately because my husband was a vet I have Tricare so my medical expenses are covered. I need money to pay the basic monthly expenses including my mortgage.

    • Virginia A.

      I am still waiting to hear back. Without some form of supplemental income in conjunction with my SSA & 2 small survivor pensions I am in serious danger of losing my home. My husband died 3/21/20 & I receive less than half the income we had. Next month I will be a year behind on the mortgage & rents for apartments & homes are higher than my mortgage. If I lose my home I will be forced to live in my car with my 2 dogs. I am a senior citizen, immunocompromised & unable to work outside the home. I’ve tried to find work from home but so far it’s been futile. I am out of time. Am I like many senior citizens expendable? Homelessness will kill me. So sad that a country so great as ours has no respect for the elderly like many nations worldwide. I have contacted every state & federal agency for financial assistance & denied; again to low income eligibility levels & my retirement funds just place over these levels. Should I consider committing suicide? Forgive the threat but I have given up. I need more monthly income to help but there is no program I qualify for.

      • Vonda

        Virginia, please contact your local Social Security office for assistance. 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.

  2. Virginia A.

    I was widowed on 3/21/2, left with less than half of our combined income & receive between $2000-3000 less a month. Due to COVID-19 & immunocompromised I was discouraged from working outside the home to supplement retirement income. 7/31/21 I will be a year behind on my mortgage. Rentals for apts & homes are higher than my mortgage which would leave me homeless if I lose my home. Income eligibility levels are so low I don’t qualify for SSI, VA Compensation Survivor Benefits (told I am receiving the maximum) & just lost food stamps because of income. Because I cannot work & I am in danger of losing my home what is the government doing to help people like myself referred to as the “vulnerable population” by VA so we don’t lose our homes or apartments? I’ve been to housing counselors in DE & they acknowledged I don’t have enough income. I have no one to help me, I’m 67 & in the high risk group for contracting & potential dying from COVID-19 (per my oncologist). I write the WH & my Governor a couple of times a week with no answers. Websites they send me I had already contacted in the past year. Bottom line, I am out of time & need to call my mortgage company but what do I tell them about income? No work, no supplemental income, no home. This is a brand new spot at age 67 to be in. I am diabetic & my two meds need to be refrigerated & if I end up living in my car will have to discontinue taking them. I don’t know where to turn.

    • Vonda

      Hi Virginia, thanks for using our blog. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) gives cash assistance to people with limited income and resources who are age 65 or older, blind or disabled. To find out if you qualify, 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.

      • Virginia A.

        I already had but due to the very low income eligibility levels I do not qualify for SSI. The same with VA Compensation Survivor Benefits! Without working or receiving supplemental benefits I will lose my home. I explained it in my first email. I need to go food shopping & have no money, again due to the low income eligibility levels set by the federal government yet I am a senior citizen, immunocompromised that prevents me from working outside of the home. I am looking at foreclosure as I do not have enough income to pay the basic monthly bills. I receive between $2000-3000 less than the combined retirement income of my late husband & myself. I have called my local office & told I am receiving the maximum amount I am entitled to but what about COVID-19 that is the monkey wrench preventing folks like myself from working as it jeopardizes our health & life? I am out of time & exhausted from daily emails to the WH, Federal Agencies & my own State government & get the same old answers & websites that I have already contacted. This is why I am contacting you. I have pretty much given up. The day I end up walking out of my home with the clothes on my back to go live in my car will be the day I die. I’ver never been homeless, not in good health & since my diabetic meds are refrigerated I would be forced to stop taking them & being a heart patient as well (stent in my heart) I’ll be dead in no time. What is the federal government going to do with the thousands & millions of Americans like myself?

  3. Stephanie L.

    It took me 5 almost 6 years to get my ssi…even with the rods I have on each side of my spine….and in my when this new case worker come along my check went from 783.. to 223 to 33 and now to nothing…And this case worker would only tell me when I called was that I wasn’t getting no money this month and hung up on me….I’ve never had problems with my ssi and now during these hard times with the pandemic going on my check gets cut off… How am I supposed to take care of my lil girl when I can’t work and my check gone

    • Vonda

      Hi Stephanie, we are sorry to hear about your experience with Social Security. Please continue to work with 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.

      • Virginia A.

        I already have and have been told there is nothing they can do and I am receiving the maximum I can!

  4. Marie W.

    What happens to Supplemental Security Income benefits, funds and Medicaid, once early age retirement 62 is activated?

    • Vonda

      Thank you for your question, Marie. If you’re receiving Supplemental Security Income benefits, a change in your income can affect your benefits. This is because the amount of an SSI benefit is based, in part, on the income and resources available to you. Check out our Understanding SSI web page for additional details regarding income. We hope you find this information helpful.

      • Marie W.

        Thank you for your quick response…I will check it again, yet the first and last three to ten times I have read through it, I have still not been able to divulge a plain English answer…I am barely existing on my Supplemental Security Income, but the Medicaid is a Godsend for all the ailments I have, so I am terrified at losing them when my retirement starts this next month! I would deal with losing percentage of my income if retirement replaces the SSI funds, but I would literally die of Diabetes and heart disease in a year if I lose my Medicaid…I just want someone to say how will my funds be affected and will I get to keep my Medicaid and for how long. Believe it or not I used to have no problems understand such lingo, but after 10+ years of medications for multiple conditions I am not as quick as I use to be!!! Any clarification you can give me would be a prayer answered! Thank you very much!

  5. Sherry S.

    I am 60 years old you claim SSI will help the elderly if that’s so then why want it help me I only draw $91 dollars a month I am not able to work they turn me down for disability.

    • Vonda

      Sherry, 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!

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    • Rameschandra

      SSI recipient leaves USA less than 30 days suppose 28 days than is he eligible for to receive SSI payment for that particular month

      • Vonda

        Hi Rameschandra, thanks for using our blog to ask your question. If receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and you’re leaving the U.S. for a full calendar month or for 30 consecutive days or more, you must report it to Social Security. Check out our Understanding SSI Reporting Responsibilities for more details. We hope this helps!

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