Social Security Tips

SSI: 50 years of financial security

By Hillary Hatch, Social Security public affairs specialist

The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program helps support many American families. As we celebrate 50 years of SSI, it is a great time to briefly share the history of SSI and information on how to apply.

On October 30, 1972, President Nixon signed SSI into law. In January 1974, the Social Security Administration began paying SSI to people who met the eligibility requirements.

Fifty years later, SSI remains a lifeline program for millions of people and households with limited income and resources. SSI also helps children and adults under age 65 who have a disability, or are blind and who have income and resources below specific financial limits. People age 65 and older without disabilities–who meet the financial qualifications–may also receive SSI payments.

You can let the Social Security Administration know that you want to apply for SSI online at This process only takes about five to ten minutes, and no documentation is required to start. The Social Security Administration will need the following basic information about you or the person you’re helping:

  • The name, date of birth, Social Security number, mailing address and phone number of the person who is interested in applying for SSI. (Providing an email address is optional.)
  • If helping another person,  your name and phone number. (Providing an email address is optional.)

Once you provide this information and answer a few questions, the Social Security Administration will schedule an appointment to help you apply for SSI. They will send a confirmation with the appointment date and time by mail and email (if provided). In some cases, they may call you to schedule the appointment.

If you’re unable to begin the process online, you may schedule an appointment by calling 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) from 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. local time, Monday through Friday. You may also contact your local Social Security office. You can find the phone number for your local office on the Social Security website.

Once your SSI application is submitted, you can check the status online by creating a personal my Social Security account at SSI will continue to support families for many years to come.

Please share this information with your friends and loved ones who may need it – and share it on social media.

Hillary Hatch is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan.  You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at

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