Supplemental Security Income Claimants Unable to Apply Online for Checks: Report

by Jennifer Shea

As of December, roughly 5.3 million Americans got Supplemental Security Income checks from the government. But recipients – even seniors over the age of 65 – cannot file for SSI online.

To apply for the benefit, people have to check with their local Social Security office or apply by phone at 1-800-772-1213. Social Security Administration officials will then decide if they are eligible for the SSI checks.

Applicants will find out the SSA’s decision through snail mail, according to The Sun. And they will then have 60 days in which to launch an appeal if they feel one is necessary.

Some Facts About Supplemental Security Income

SSI payments go out on the first day of each month. Although on December 30th, people receive an extra payment. If people also get Social Security benefits, their payments go out on the third day of the month. Unless it happens to fall on a weekend, in which case they go out on the first.

The average monthly SSI check for adults was around $617 as of December. For disabled minors, the average monthly SSI check was around $687 per month. Seniors got the lowest monthly SSI benefit on average – around $474 at the end of last year.

In some states, the SSI benefits from the state go out from the SSA, resulting in one lump sum payment from both the state and federal government. Those states are California, Hawaii, Iowa, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Meanwhile, some states do not pay out any SSI benefit at all. Those states are Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Delaware, Washington D.C., Kansas, Indiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

Social Security Faces a Host of Problems in the Medium-Term Future

Supplemental Security Income does not go out to all Social Security recipients. And for their part, Social Security recipients have their own set of challenges. As reports from its trustees have warned, Social Security is facing serious trouble in the medium- to long-term future. That is, unless something is done to change the dynamics affecting its stability.

Among the host of problems that Social Security now confronts are low interest rates, longer retirements, wealthier people living longer, too many beneficiaries, not enough workers, the effects of economic contraction, a Congressional impasse and the difficulty for America of growing our way out of the problem.

The pandemic also made the situation worse. It reduced wages paid out and thereby reduced the benefits that draw from taxes on wages. The pandemic-induced unemployment jump also meant that fewer workers were contributing to Social Security, dramatically lowering payroll taxes and by extension Social Security revenues.

Whether you get a Supplemental Security Income check or not, chances are you’re going to be affected by Social Security concerns someday. Because Social Security’s sustainability (or lack thereof) is, in the end, a problem that pertains to all Americans.