[Editor's note: Jennifer is founder of the South Bay-based support group MOCHAA, Mothers of Children with Autism and Asperger's.]
Friday was my son's 18th birthday. Since he's on the spectrum, for me that milestone meant it was time to apply for SSI. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provides monthly stipends to low income people who are either aged 65 or older, blind, or disabled.
For other parents who are coming up to SSI, I thought that I would share my experience as I go along to aid anyone who might learn from it.
I went online to https://www.ssa.gov/disabilityssi/ and started to fill out the online application as much as I could. The questions were complicated; I answered as much as I could. For this application you have to call in for an appointment anyway so it is not necessary to get everything perfect. Some of the questions were yes/no questions--but my answers were not a yes or no! So I gave up and called my local office, which I found by entering my zip code on that same site. Pretty simple. When I called, I had to leave my number and wait an hour for a call back. No big deal.
A nice lady called me back, took a little more info and then set me up with a phone interview instead of having to go down to the office and do it in person. I then got this confirmation which has lots of handy info:
This is to confirm that an appointment has been scheduled for:
Tuesday, Nov 01, 2016 10:30AM.
HOW TO PREPARE
In order to prepare for a disability interview:
READ THE FACT SHEET
Read SSA's Fact Sheet "What You Should Know Before You Apply For Social Security Disability Benefits", available at http://www.ssa.gov/disability/Documents/Factsheet-AD.pdf
REVIEW THE CHECKLIST
Read SSA's Adult Disability Interview Checklist, available at http://www.ssa.gov/disability/Documents/Checklist%20-%20Adult.pdf
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Visit www.socialsecurity.gov to complete many services online, and create a my Social Security account.
- For a list of SSAs online services, go to http://www.socialsecurity.gov/onlineservices/.
- If you would like to learn more about filing for benefits online, please visit www.socialsecurity.gov.
- Informational pamphlets from SSA are available in a variety of languages and formats at: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pgm/formspubs.htm.
- Do you have questions about Social Security? Find the answers at: http://www.socialsecurity.gov/includes/topiclist.htm.
- You can also call us toll free at 1-800-772-1213, or use our office locator to find your local office.
Now, I get the incredible fun task of trying to find his original diagnosis paperwork, his most recent IEP and anything at all that will help qualify him. I have CASES of paperwork, none of it what I need, so I am going through years and years of toil, energy, attempts, documentation, art, notes, important things (at the time) and all sorts of stuff. A very interesting journey going on in my bedroom today. I pulled together documents and his ID, birth cert, bank info, etc.
Next step-- interview on Tuesday! Fingers crossed all goes well; I'll let you know how it goes.