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Apply now for supplemental pay

If you think you may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments, you should apply without delay. Payments can be made only as of the date you apply or the date you are eligible, if that is later. In addition, if you know someone who may be eligible, advise him or her to apply right away. You also can apply for a child if you are the parent or guardian. Under certain circumstances, you can apply for someone even if you aren't the parent or guardian.

You can speed the application process if you have certain information with you when you apply for yourself or someone else. But don't delay applying just because not all the information is at hand. The people at Social Security will help get what is needed.

This information includes your Social Security card, or the person's card; a birth certificate or other proof of age; details about income and resources, such as payroll slips, bank books, and copies of tax returns; details about living arrangements, landlord's name, lease, or mortgage; and medical records if you are applying because of disability or blindness.

You may know of a blind or disabled person living in a public institution who could live in the community but lacks the needed money to do so. Monthly SSI checks could allow the person to live outside the institution.

Some public institutions have a practice of notifying Social Security before a person is ready to be discharged so that an SSI application can be completed. This way, eligibility for SSI payments will be established by the time the person is ready to leave the institution.

On the other hand, you as a responsible person can apply on behalf of the person in the institution when it appears that he or she will soon be discharged.

Social Security has more information about the SSI program. Just call (800) 234-5772.

Gary D. York is a field representative of the Social Security Administration. You may write to him at P.O. Box 4898, Clearwater 34618.