By Brian Hewitt
Social Security administers several programs that pay benefits to qualified individuals, including those who are homeless. These programs include retirement, disability and survivors insurance, as well as Supplemental Security Income, which is a needs-based program for people who are blind, disabled or age 65 or older. If you know someone who is homeless, and you want to learn more about how Social Security might help, a place to get information is at www.socialsecurity.gov/homelessness.
For example, there is a link to our Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool, or BEST. Based on answers to various questions, this tool helps determine the benefits someone might be eligible for and gives information about how to qualify and apply. Go directly to BEST at www.socialsecurity.gov/best.
The Spotlight on Homelessness is a page designed to help the homeless apply for SSI. It’s available at www.socialsecurity.gov/ssi/
There are links to information on health care for the homeless, institutionalization, advocacy groups, reports on homeless outreach, and even links to other Web sites like the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, disabilityinfo.gov, govbenefits.gov and HUD.
You can help us help the homeless. If you know someone who is homeless, take a look at our Service to the Homeless Web site and look through the information. Tell anyone you know who is homeless or threatened with homelessness to use the Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool, to visit our Service to the Homeless page, and to check out the different types of benefits and assistance they may be eligible to receive.
Spread the word about the help available to the homeless. Every American should have a place to call home.