Exploring Basic Eligibility: "Non-Medical" Information
Once SSA receives all of the non-medical information, the process of establishing basic eligibility (in SSA terms, “non-medical eligibility”) begins. If the person does not qualify at this step, the application goes no further. Be sure to address all non-medical criteria thoroughly and accurately.
Below are types of non-medical information required by SSA for SSI and SSDI applications.
SSA may require documentation that substantiates non-medical information provided. Remember, it is the case manager’s responsibility to ensure that SSA has complete and accurate information. If the person does not meet the criteria at this step, the application goes no further!
The SSI & SSDI Non-Medical Information Checklist can help you keep track of necessary documentation.
Earnings History (SSI and SSDI)
Upon application, SSA checks the person’s earnings history to see if they have enough work credits to be eligible for SSDI.
- A person does not need an earnings history to apply or be eligible for SSI
- People should expect to apply for both SSI and SSDI at the same time
Personal Information (SSI and SSDI)
- Date of birth
- Social Security number
- Information about and dates of marriages/separations/divorces
- Information about dependents (a list will suffice as documentation)
A current valid photo ID such as a driver’s license or passport should be sufficient to prove an applicant’s identity. However, many individuals experiencing homelessness do not have any formal identification documents.
- Photo ID: Sometimes the local police or sheriff’s department will provide a photo ID. Attorneys with Legal Aid services can request birth certificates on behalf of individuals with no formal ID.
- Social Security Number (SSN): Case manager can assist with locating records that may contain the applicant's SSN (e.g., medical records, old tax records). SSA may accept other documents that include details about the applicant's date of birth, parents’ names, and other names used in order to locate their SSN.
- Birth Certificate: SSDI applications require an original birth certificate. If the person does not have an original birth certificate at the time of the initial application, SSA will accept the application and can assist in obtaining an acceptable record. Case managers may need to help people obtain a birth certificate by contacting the office of vital records in the state where they were born. (Typically, a charge is assessed for this service.)
Preliminary Disability Information (SSI and SSDI)
- When did applicant become unable to work?
- Due to what injuries, illnesses, conditions, or combination thereof?
- Some immigrants may be eligible for SSI if they have both an eligible immigration status and meet all other SSI criteria
- Exceptions are made for immigrants who were subject to battery or cruelty
- Find out more: Special Considerations for Immigration and Residency: SSI for Non-Citizens
- Immigration Documentation: Immigration papers are needed to clarify immigration status
Legal Involvement (SSI & SSDI)
- Current or past criminal justice involvement does not necessarily affect eligibility for SSI and SSDI.
- A history of felonies or being on parole or probation does not affect eligibility.
- Only outstanding felony warrants for escape and for flight to avoid prosecution must be satisfied before non-medical eligibility can be cleared.
- At this time, SSA is not suspending or denying payments based solely on a report of a probation or parole violation warrant.
Income (SSI & SSDI)
- Earned income: wages, earnings from self-employment, and payment for services performed in a sheltered workshop
- Unearned income: state assistance, alimony, and child support. SSA verifies unearned income in different ways depending on the type.
Wages can be verified through pay stubs or a letter from the employer. If income is provided by a friend or family member, it can be verified by a signed letter indicating whether it was a gift or in payment for service provided. Examples of documentation (original or copies) include, but are not limited to:
- Paystubs or letters from employers, family, or friends supplying income
- Self-employment income tax returns
- Other benefits (SSI): TANF, State assistance, VA
- Child support (SSI)
- Proof of Worker’s Compensation or State Disability Insurance Benefits (benefits letter or check stubs) (SSDI)
- Includes assets that can readily be converted to cash; such assets are part of the “need equation”
- Resources cannot exceed $2000 for individuals or $3000 for couples
- Assets considered include:
- Bank accounts, stocks, bonds
- Property or real estate
- Life insurance over $1500
- Money/property disposed of 30 months prior
- Assets not considered include:
- House of residence
- One vehicle
- Personal possessions (household goods)
- Life insurance, burial spaces/expense funds (under $1500)
Applicant should have copies of statements, policies, or proof of ownership for all assets. For example:
- Life insurance policy
- Bank account statements (most recent, including any joint accounts)
- Certificates of deposit, stock/mutual fund certificates, or bonds held in own name
- Proof of ownership for any land, houses, etc.
- Burial contract
Living Arrangement (SSI)
- Living arrangement refers to where a person lives and who they live with. It also includes food and shelter provided by someone else - this is referred to as "in-kind support and maintenance." These factors may affect the SSI benefit. Providing up-to-date information is crucial in ensuring that the eligible individual is paid correctly.
Living Situation Documentation
- Own: copy of mortgage or deed
- Rent: copy of rental agreement/lease or receipts
- Living with someone else or in temporary housing: a letter specifying the living arrangement and stating how much - if anything - the person pays in rent
- Living in an emergency shelter or outdoors: no documentation is required
- Name and address of anyone providing in-kind help, such as food or clothes
While most of the individuals you assist will have no resources or income, you may come across individuals who do. Some resources are allowable.
- Adult Course
- May, 2022