People Experiencing Homelessness and Their Service Providers

People Experiencing Homelessness

People Experiencing Homelessness

Individuals experiencing homelessness who have a disability have the same rights and privileges in applying for disability benefits as someone who is not homeless. Please read more in Spotlight on Homelessness. You should inform us during the application process if you are experiencing homelessness, so that we may better assist you with your application. You can find more information about how to apply for benefits by clicking on the links below:

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

You can also find housing assistance in your area at Service providers are available to help you with your applications. We provide a link to national organizations at

Information for…


Visit SSA's website for Veterans.

Youth Aging Out of Foster Care

You may apply for SSI up to 180 days before your foster care eligibility will end due to age.

Visit Spotlight on SSI Benefits for Disabled or Blind Youth in Foster Care.

Individuals Exiting Criminal Justice Settings

Social Security's prerelease procedure allows you to apply for SSI and Food Stamps several months before your anticipated release from an institution so that benefits can begin quickly after your release.

Visit Spotlight on Prerelease Procedure.

Service Providers

Service Providers

Service providers can help individuals experiencing homelessness apply for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Service providers can help individuals complete part of their application online at Service providers can also help by providing transportation to interviews or by gathering medical evidence. Read more in A Guide to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) For Groups and Organizations.

As a service provider, you may serve as a:

Contact Person

The claimant will provide us with your name, address, and telephone number. You may use your address as a mail drop where a person experiencing homelessness can pick up mail from Social Security.

Appointed Representative

If the claimant appoints you as their representative, you may act for the claimant in most Social Security matters.

Visit Social Security’s Representing Social Security Claimants site.

aRepresentative Payee

Social Security is looking for individuals or organizations who will serve as representative payees for some of our most vulnerable beneficiaries.

Visit Social Security’s When People Need Help Managing Their Money site.

Key Strategies for Connecting People Experiencing Homelessness to SSI and SSDI

Social Security, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs developed Key Strategies for Connecting People Experiencing Homelessness to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Benefits, a document outlining the strategies shown to help people experiencing homelessness apply for and receive SSI/SSDI benefits.

Key strategies include:

  • Assisting People Experiencing Homelessness with the SSI/SSDI Application Process
  • Coordinating with SSA Field Offices, Community Organizations, and other Federal Agencies
  • Coordinating with Other Benefits and Entitlements
  • Working with Veterans and Other Special Populations
  • Assisting SSI/SSDI Beneficiaries Post-Entitlement
Read more in Key Strategies for Connecting People Experiencing Homelessness to SSI and SSDI Benefits

Help with the application process

SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR) is a national project funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration that is designed to increase access to SSI and SSDI for eligible adults who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and have a mental illness, medical impairment, and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder. The SOAR project provides training on how to complete the SSI/SSDI application to service providers working with individuals experiencing homelessness. 

Visit the SOAR website at SOAR services are available in all 50 states. To learn more about SOAR providers in your area, visit

In addition, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Continuum of Care (CoC) program promotes community-wide commitment with the goal of ending homelessness. To contact a local CoC for assistance, visit

Useful SSA Links

External Links

SSA Research

External Research