Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is available through the Social Security Administration for low-income individuals with a disability that prevents them from working. Individuals with mental disabilities may qualify for SSI. In some cases, obtaining SSI for a mental disability may be more challenging that for a physical disability, but there are resources available to help you obtain SSI benefits for yourself or a loved one.
Understand SSI disability requirements. For a disability to be eligible for SSI, you must be unable to work as a result of your disability. You are considered unable to work if you are no longer able to do the work that you were doing before becoming disabled and you are unable to adapt to a new type of work. In addition, your disability must be expected to last for at least one year or until death.
Make sure you meet income and resource requirements specified by the Social Security Administration. Because SSI is designed for low-income individuals, any income will be considered in approving your application. In addition, there is a resource limit of $2,000 for individuals ($3,000 for a couple) that includes bank accounts, cash, and certain types of property. If you are in doubt about whether your income or resources are too high, consider consulting a disability attorney.
Apply for SSI disability benefits by calling your local Social Security Administration office to make an appointment to meet with a Social Security Representative. You should be prepared to bring your Social Security card, proof of residence and citizenship, and proof of income and resources. You will also need to provide information about your work history and disability, including contact information for your doctors.
Appeal if you are denied. It is common to be denied on your first application. Read the information in your denial letter for how to appeal the decision.