Social Security Q&A

Social Security Q&A.
Published: December 15, 2013

Q: How do I apply for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits?

A: The best first step is to start at Then take a look at the Adult Disability Starter Kit. This kit answers common questions about applying for benefits. It includes a work sheet that will help you gather the information you need. Then, fill out the online Adult Disability Report at At the end of the report, we will ask you to sign a form that gives your doctor permission to send us information about your disability. We need this information so we can make a decision on your claim. Finally, complete your application for SSI disability benefits by calling our toll-free number, (800) 772-1213, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. You may choose to apply for benefits either by phone or in person at a local Social Security office. One of our representatives will help you apply. Please have your Social Security number handy when you call. If you are deaf or hard of hearing, you may call our TTY number, (800) 325-0778. You also may visit an office without making an appointment, but your wait to speak to a representative will be longer.

Qualifications to meet

Q: Are Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments only paid to people with disabilities?

A: No. SSI payments also are made to people who are blind or who are 65 or older — as long as they meet all the qualifications including having low income and limited resources. SSI benefits are available for both adults and children who are blind or disabled. You can learn more about SSI benefits and who can receive them by reading our online publications. To begin, refer to the online booklet, Supplemental Security Income, available to read or listen to in our online library at

This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For fast answers to specific Social Security questions, call Social Security toll-free at (800) 772-1213. For more information, go online to


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