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Social Security and SSI after a Disaster

Disaster Relief

This article tels you about social security and SSI payments, benefits, and more. This article was written by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid. 

Hurricane Harvey Resources

How will I get my payment/check?

In areas affected by Harvey: If you have direct deposit, you will receive payment as usual. If you receive payment by mail and are in an area where postal service is disrupted you can pick up your check at certain area post offices. For Houston area post offices, click here. For post offices in other areas affected by Harvey, click here. If you do not receive your payment because of Harvey or for some other reason, go to any open Social Security office and request an immediate payment.

To find the SSA office nearest you, as well as an updated list of SSA offices closed due to Harvey, click here. You can always use the SSA’s 24-hour automated service line to get recorded information, or you can speak to a representative between 7 am and 7 pm Monday through Friday. Call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1- 800-325-0778).

Will disaster assistance count against my benefits?

Most assistance from a declared disaster will not count as income or resources for purposes of Social Security, SSI, or SSDI. This includes federal assistance from programs like FEMA, including help to repair or replace a home or other property; programs administered or provided by the State of Texas or local governments; and assistance from a disaster organization or charity. You must report any income or resources from other sources to the SSA within 10 days after you receive it.

Lost Social Security Information

If you need Social Security information to apply for jobs or  assistance from other agencies, apply to the SSA for a replacement in person or by mail. No online requests for replacements permitted. To locate the nearest open SSA office, call 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1- 800-325-0778) or click here.

Social Security Disability (SSDI)

If you become disabled and are unable to work, you might qualify for disability benefits. Your SSDI benefits are based on your work history in the 10 years before you become disabled. To qualify, you must have a severe physical or mental condition expected to last more than 12 months or end in death. The SSA will look at things like your ability to work and the severity of your disabling conditions. SSDI recipients become eligible for Medicare. If you qualify, certain dependent family members may also be eligible for benefits.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits

SSI is a cash benefit for low-income people without the work history required to get SSDI. You must be a person with low-income and a disability as defined by the SSA. All SSI recipients are eligible for Medicaid. There are no dependent benefits for SSI.

Spousal Benefits

If you are divorced and your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you can receive  benefits on your ex-spouse's record (even if he or she has remarried) if you are unmarried 62 or older

Survivor Benefits

Social Security Survivor benefits may be available to you if you are the deceased person’s spouse, the deceased’s minor child(ren) (or a disabled adult child), or a parent 62 years or older who was financially dependent on deceased. This benefit depends on how you were related to the deceased and his or her earning history. If your spouse or parent died, you may be eligible for a $225 one-time death benefit.