As medical bills rose and unemployment ran out, Ray and his wife Lena found themselves living on the streets of Los Angeles. Ray was no longer able to work because of a severe medical condition, so he was now homeless and disabled. He and Lena thought of applying for Social Security benefits but didn’t know if they would qualify. Unfortunately, Ray and Lena are not alone. Many people who are homeless may not realize they could qualify for Social Security benefits.
How People Qualify for Social Security Benefits
Generally, people need to meet the following requirements to get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits:
- First, you must have worked at jobs that Social Security covered.
- Next, your medical condition must meet Social Security’s disability definition.
Qualifying for Supplemental Security Income. (SSI) benefits is a little different. Work history does not matter, but it’s a means-tested program. This means that your income and resources have to be below a limit set by Social Security.
Nowhere in Social Security’s requirements does it say that eligibility hinges on your residential status.
Homeless and Disabled, But Still Eligible
Yes, people with a disability but no home have the same rights as anyone else applying for Social Security benefits. In other words, if you are homeless and disabled, you can get SSI and SSDI benefits as long as you meet all other qualifications.
Applying can be difficult, especially because you have to gather supporting documents. However, experienced Social Security lawyers typically help their clients with applications, interviews, and appeals.
Of course, Social Security has to have a way to get money to you. If you are homeless and disabled, Social Security could send you monthly payments by:
- Direct deposit to your personal bank account;
- Mailing benefits to a third party;
- Sending payments to a representative payee; or
- Depositing benefits to a Direct Express debit bank card.
Again, it’s still necessary to make that first step by applying for benefits.
You May Qualify for Social Security Benefits If You Are Homeless and Disabled.
The final hurdle for you might be that you cannot afford an attorney to help you apply for benefits. Social security lawyers typically work on a contingency basis. This means that they do not get paid unless they win your case. In most cases, Social Security pays attorneys directly for their assistance.
The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have helped many clients resolve SSI and SSDI issues. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.