The Social Security Administration (SSA) designed the application process for the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program to be carried out primarily in-person due to the difficulty and length of the SSI application. Older adults cannot start an application for SSI online, and since SSA does not consider the SSI application to be a “self-help” form, the agency does not make a PDF of the application available on its website along with its other forms.
This imposes a greater barrier to accessing SSI. While SSA’s local offices were closed to the public during the pandemic, applications and benefit awards for SSI plummeted to the lowest level in 22 years, down 29 percent from July 2020 to April 2021 compared with the same period a year earlier. The drop-off was most pronounced for those with limited English proficiency and older adults.
In March 2022, SSA released a new online tool that records requests to schedule appointments for people who want to file an application for SSI. The agency is also working to simplify the SSI application process, including developing an online version of the SSI application. Join this webinar, Improving Access to the Application for SSI Benefits, to learn more about these developments in making the application for SSI benefits more accessible.
Who Should Participate: Advocates working with older adults and people with disabilities who are eligible for SSI.
Kate Lang, Senior Staff Attorney
Tracey Gronniger, Directing Attorney