There are 2 parts to the SSI application.
Part 1: The Disability Report
This is a form that you can do online or on paper.
There is a different version for children and adults.
It will ask you specific questions about the person's disability.
Part 2: The interview
This part you cannot do online.
You must make an appointment to call or visit your local Social Security office. During the pandemic it will be on the phone. But they may be able to make an in-person appointment if you have an urgent need and cannot get the payment electronically.
You'll bring copies of the documents to prove certain things like your income and disability.
See the next sections to learn more about these 2 parts. Choose either child or adult.
We'll go over the process in the next pages, but you can click on this link to see the SSI website's application section.
How does Social Security make a decision to see if you qualify?
Here's a quick look at what happens behind the scenes as they process your application:
1. Submit an SSI application to your local Social Security office.
This has two parts - the first can be done online, but the second part must be done by phone or in person.
2. The Social Security Office will check non-medical eligibility.
They may ask questions about your family member's age, employment, marital status, citizenship, income, resources and housing.
3. Your case gets sent to a Disability Determination Services office.
They will look at medical records to see if your family member meets the guidelines.
4. The Disability Determination office makes a decision about your case.
If they decide that your family member is disabled, they will tell the Social Security office who will tell you.
We'll go over the process in the next pages, but click on this link to see the SSI website's application section.
Click the box below for a little more detail:
Social Security has something they call the sequential evaluation process.
They follow certain steps in a certain order to evaluate if someone's disability qualifies for SSI.
First, you submit an SSI application to your local Social Security field office. This has 2 parts, a disability form (you can do this online) and the SSI form. You can turn in the SSI form in person, by telephone, or by mail.
After you submit the application, the field office checks non-medical eligibility. They may ask questions about your family member's age, employment, marital status, citizenship, income, resources, and living arrangements.
The field office then sends the case to one of the state's Disability Determination Services offices. This office looks at all of the medical records to see if your family member meets the guidelines for being disabled or blind. If the office can't decide, they'll make a plan to get more information from your doctor. This may involve more tests, and is called a Consultative Exam.
After making a decision about the disability, they return the case to the field office. The field office will tell you the decision.
If they decide that your family member is disabled, Social Security will finish the paperwork, calculate the benefit amount, and start sending you the monthly checks.
If the office finds that your family member is not disabled, they keep your files in the field office in case you decide to appeal. You can walk through How to Appeal an SSI Denial later in this Guide.
If the family member is found not disabled at any point, the review stops (unless they are over 65).
Source: Social Security.