If approved for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability (SSDI), your notification comes in the mail. The Social Security Administration (SSA) mails you a physical award letter. (No emails here!) When you receive this Social Security award letter, hold onto it… and even make a few copies! You may need it in the very near future. And it’s easier to hang on to the one you have than request another through the SSA.
Three Times You’ll Have to Submit Your Social Security Award Letter
Below, we list three times when you’ll need to quickly reference your Social Security award letter in the future.
1. When you apply for any loan, government-funded housing or mortgage.
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) offers mortgage loans to applicants on Social Security benefits. But in order to receive these special mortgage rates, you must prove that Social Security benefits make up your income. And the easiest way to do that is with your Social Security award letter. That’s because most lenders and housing agencies must verify your income over a three-year period. They won’t approve your application until you show them proof that you have some monthly income. Your Social Security award letter easily shows your monthly income amount and start date, especially if it’s a few years old.
2. When applying for state-run or local aid programs.
Many local and state aid programs require proof that you’re disabled before approving your request. Rather than supply doctor’s notes and other forms, it’s best to just give them a copy of your Social Security award letter. These aid programs include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which has a quick eligibility screening tool on their website. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) is another helpful program that provides cash benefits for parents and grandparents raising children. But both these programs require proof that you pre-qualify, and your Social Security award letter works perfectly. Some states have other aid programs for individuals or families in need. If they’re available where you live, many require proof that you’re disabled (or already getting federal disability benefits). Your Social Security letter is the fastest and easiest way to prove you qualify for those programs, too.
3. If your health deteriorates enough to need ongoing medical care.
If your health declines, you might need to move into a nursing home or long-term care facility. Many such facilities only accept residents with Medicaid or Medicare coverage. In most states, Medicaid will pay for some (or all) assisted living fees. Not sure if you have Medicaid or Medicare? Disabled individuals approved for SSI automatically qualify for Medicaid at the same time. Those approved for SSDI benefits get Medicare coverage after 48 months receiving benefit payments. (But SSDI applicants won’t be eligible for Medicare benefits until two years after their date of entitlement.) Read our Medicare vs. Medicaid article here to learn more about qualifying for either program with a disability.
Your Social Security award letter can help you get your Medicaid coverage faster. Since you never know when you might suddenly need long-term care, having all your documents ready to go really helps. Also, certain “free” clinics and hospitals require proof of Medicaid or Medicare coverage prior to treating you. Have we convinced you? Hang onto that Social Security award letter for future reference! And if you didn’t know you’d need it again, no worries. You can request another one through the SSA by calling them at 800-772-1213 (or visiting your local field office).
You May Qualify for Legal Assistance
Still have questions about preparing for your future as a disabled person? An experienced Social Security attorney will happily answer all your questions for free. They’ll connect you with much-needed resources in your area — and even help you file your SSD claim (or appeal, if the SSA denies you benefits). You’ll never pay anything for professional claim help unless that lawyer helps you win benefits. And if you do win, you’ll only pay a small, one-time fee, according to federal law.
Ready to see if you may qualify? Click the button below to start your free benefits evaluation online now.
Mandy Voisin is a freelance writer, blogger, and author of Girls of the Ocean and Star of Deliverance. As an accomplished content marketing consultant, mom of four and doctor's wife, Mandy has written hundreds of articles about dangerous drugs and medical devices, medical issues that impact disabled Americans, veterans' healthcare and workers' compensation issues since 2016.