Applying for SSI – Social Security for Disabled

Social security card and American money dollar bills

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits

SSI is a federal program administered by the Social Security Administration. It provides monthly income to people who are elderly, blind, or disabled and who have financial need. If you are approved for SSI you will automatically be enrolled in the Medicaid program.

This process begins at age 18 however it is best to start gathering the medical information as early as you can and keep updated.

Do not delay applying for benefits because you do not have all the documents. SSI will help you get them.

Print this checklist for items needed for application:

Documents – Main Information needed from above list:

  • Applicant’s birthdate and place of birth and Social Security number
  • Birth certificate or other proof of birth; – must be original on documents – stamped
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status if you were not born in the United States.
  • Your bank or other financial institution’s Routing Transit Number and the account number, if you want the benefits electronically deposited
  • Detailed information about your medical illnesses, injuries or conditions:
    • Names, addresses, phone numbers, patient ID numbers and dates of treatment for all doctors, hospitals and clinics;
    • Names of medicines you are taking and who prescribed them; and
    • Names and dates of medical tests you have had and who sent you for them.

In Person Application Option:

1.  Go on 18th birthday or shortly after and take the adult who will receive SSI. They must be in attendance at the SSI office interview. Bring things to do that are soothing and entertaining. It will be a several hours.

2.  Go 1 hour before opening and get in line outside. Be prepared for weather and bring a seat if you need it. Or schedule an appointment with a local Social Security office. Call 1-800-772-1213.

3.  Take all the documents listed above with you.

4.  Have mortgage amount and utilities and number of dependents living in the house.


ONLINE Application Option:

You can now file for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) online but only if you meet certain requirements. You are eligible to file online for SSI if you:

  • Are between the ages of 18 and 65;
  • Have never been married;
  • Aren’t blind;
  • Are a U.S. citizen residing in one of the fifty states, District of Columbia, or the Northern Mariana Islands;
  • Haven’t applied for or received SSI benefits in the past


Medical Records:

Prepare the medical records in a document to hand to the processor. This will speed up the appointment and save you at least an hour of verbally giving the intake person the information.

The medical document includes doctors, hospital visits, testing, therapies, etc. that support the disability, not general health care.

On each health provider or test include at minimum: (At top the list is more detailed by SSI)

1. Date first seen and date last seen.
2. Doctor and facility name, address and phone number.

Bring copies of IEP, psychological evaluation, medical documents that support disability determination, and other documents supporting disability. They can make copies of it or you can provide them a copy.


The amount given to the applicant will be the mortgage/rent payment divided by the number of people living in the house regardless if they pay rent or not. The processor will add a figure for utilities and some expenses when calculating the monthly SSI check. SSI does not cover clothing, entertainment, medical, etc. It is only room and board and utilities.
Rent Contract: 

The processor will ask if the person requesting SSI is paying rent already or owes money for paying rent. However, the processor told us that a rental agreement would have to be supplied after my son was receiving money to be able to pay rent.

The month after SSI is received send in or go in with a rental agreement to have the SSI check amount recalculated.

Most people have been told to do “room and board” but then you do not qualify for food stamps. Board refers to food cost.

Instead do “Room and UtilitiesRent Contract.

The contract letter includes the landlord (maybe parent) and landlord contact information, social security number of applicant and stating, “room and utilities” are being charged effective on date for $—.  Signed and dated by the landlord and the applicant/renter.

In 2018, I charged $500 for room and utilities which was the amount Corey was receiving for SSI. Then went and applied for food stamps so Corey could buy his own food. For me, this allows him to be set up for services in case something should happen to us and it gives him the opportunity to learn life skills.


Other Notes: 

Anytime the living situation changes, that information must be sent in.

For those in Gwinnett County, it is best to go to Winder SSI office or one that is not busy in a remote area. Norcross is very difficult to get parking and a very long line of people. This is a federal program so it is not county specific.

SSI does birthdate by month. Corey’s 10/10 birthdate was processed as 11/1. I went in on 10/13 and they held his information till 11/1 to process so he wasn’t “under” 18. If you go before age 18 the requestor’s parent’s income will be included in the decision. If you go after 18 it will not be included.

SSI approval can take 4-6 weeks to process. However, from the Winder office 3 of us received approval within 2 weeks. The first check arrived 12/1 for Corey who was processed on 11/1.

Checking Account: In our SSI application interview, it was not suggested to have a separate checking account for Corey’s SSI check to be deposited. In fact, the attorney pro bono for guardianship said not to have a checking account. But Corey did need a custodial checking account for SSI deposits so that when SSI did the automatic electronic reviews they found less than $2000 in the account. If it goes into the parent account upon review there could be more than $2000 and SSI is lost automatically. Then you have to reapply again. Also, you do not need a conservatorship for this custodial checking account.

Food Stamp Application:  If SSI is approved and you do contract for “room and utilities” instead of “room and board”. Print pages 4-13 on the above application. You can drop off or mail or fax to the local DFACS office.