The Social Security Administration has recently announced an outreach development campaign to bring access and information to eligible individuals in underserved communities to apply for Supplemental Security Income.
Since the pandemic, resources and information have shifted online, including government applications that would typically take place in person at the Social Security Administration Office. Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, explained in the announcement that due to this shift, the Social Security Administration saw a steep decline in SSI applications, specifically from zip codes that have populations of minorities and people living below the Federal poverty threshold.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a critical assistance program for individuals with limited income and resources. The SSI is a vital assistance program that “provides a monthly payment to adults 65 and older or other adults – and children – with a disability or blindness who have limited income and financial resources.” Individuals who receive SSI use the monthly payments to pay for necessities such as food, medicine, rent, and clothing. If you receive SSI, you may qualify for other financial help, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps), Medicaid, and Federal Trade Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program, which provides discounted internet service. Those who receive Social Security benefits can also be eligible for SSI.
As a part of Social Security’s mission, the new outreach development will bridge the gap between the challenges faced by communities that do not have access to computers or reliable internet to apply for assistance. The campaign aims to increase exposure to SSI resources and eligibility via printed publications, radio ads, mailers, flyers, and televised public service announcements. This information is available through social media, search engine marketing, and YouTube advertising.
In addition to creating exposure on how to apply for benefits, the Social Security Administration has also simplified the process of applying for SSI for those who already receive food assistance making the two programs more straightforward to understand and process under both program requirements and procedures.
Financial hardships are a setback for many people, but there is hope with proper access to information and resources. If you or someone you know is faced with challenging financial resources and have access to the internet, you can check your SSI eligibility and request an appointment to apply by visiting www.ssa.gov/ssi. If internet access is limited, you can also speak with a representative to get more information by calling Social Security’s National 800 Number at 1-800-772-1213.