Can I Get SSI and SSDI if I am Homeless? In a Shelter?
Yes. You do not need to have a home to get SSI or SSDI, only a way for SSA to contact you and pay your benefits (by mail or direct deposit). You can get SSI for 6 months out of every 9 months you stay in a public (government run) emergency shelter. There is no time limit on getting SSI in a private shelter. There are no limits on getting SSDI in a shelter.
Can I get SSI/SSDI if I Have a History of Substance Abuse?
Yes. Substance abuse alone is no longer considered a disability, but you may qualify for benefits because you have other health or psychiatric problems that keep or have kept you from working.
What if my Health Problems are Caused by Substance Abuse?
It does not matter how your other health problems started. For example, if you are disabled by liver disease that you got from drinking, you might still qualify for SSI/SSDI if your liver disease would still be disabling if you stopped drinking.
What Can I Do to Help?
Tell SSA if you are homeless.
Your case will be handled by a DDS examiner who knows about the issues facing homeless people.
Try to gather information to support your application:
- A list of your health problems.
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers of doctors, therapists, and hospitals where you have been treated, and dates of treatment.
- Proof of your identity, such as a driver’s license; state ID card; marriage, divorce, or military record; passport; school or employer ID; or health insurance card. If you do not have any papers to prove your identity, all you need is your Social Security Number. SSA will look your number up in their computer and ask you some questions to confirm your identity.
- Proof of your immigration status, if needed.
But...do not wait to apply. You will have time to get this information to SSA after you apply. If there are things you cannot remember or find, SSA will help get the information you need.
Stay in touch with SSA & DDS.
- If SSA cannot find you, your application for benefits may be denied.
- Report address and phone changes to SSA and DDS and check in often. Free Community Voice Mail is available in greater Boston.
- Give SSA and DDS a reliable mailing address such as a shelter, P.O. Box, or relative’s, friend’s or advocate’s address. . Give SSA and DDS the name, address and phone number of someone you trust who will be able to reach you, and permission to contact that person.
Help prove you are disabled
- If DDS makes a doctor’s appointment for you, keep it. Ask your DDS examiner for free transportation if you need it.
- If you do not have a doctor and want to find one, contact Health Care for the Homeless or a Community Health Center to find free medical care.
- Be sure your doctors send your medical records to DDS.
- Find an attorney or other advocate to help you with your claim.
|PLACES TO CONTACT FOR HELP:
Social Security Administration 800-772-1213
Disability Determination Services
Health Care for Homeless (Boston) 617-414-7779
MA Community Health Centers 800-475-8455
Mayor’s Health Line 800-847-0710
Greater Boston Legal Services 617-371-1234
Mass. Justice Project (Legal Services)
Central MA 508-831-9888
Western MA 413-533-2660
Disability Law Center 617-723-8455
Mass. Coalition for the Homeless 617-423-9162
Tri-City Homeless Services 781-397-2097
Project HOAP (Central MA) 508-860-1000
Community Voice Mail (Boston) 617-248-6585
Dept. of Transitional Assistance 800-249-2007
(for welfare benefits)
Div. of Medical Assistance 800-841-2900