Social Security expands outreach to aid underserved, minority-predominant communities

The Social Security Administration continued to expand its outreach and access for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) especially to underserved, minority-predominant neighborhoods.

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The administration campaigned through various mediums and medias to encourage people to contact the agency for financial support, particularly for underserved and impoverished communities that were mostly inhabited by minorities, Kilolo Kijakazi, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, announced.

“Helping eligible people access critical benefits, including SSI, is part of Social Security’s core mission,” Kijakazi said.

“Underserved communities face additional challenges, like unreliable or no access to the internet and computers, that widen the divide. Social Security’s campaign strives to reach people in their communities to tell them about the eligibility criteria for SSI, and how to contact us online at www.ssa.gov/ssi or by phone for more information or an appointment to apply,” Kijakazi continued.

The campaign was in an effort to support President Biden’s Executive Order, named Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.

Social Security used data to identify and reach underserved communities in rural and urban areas across the country where it noted the greatest decline in SSI applications since the pandemic. The majority of people living in those zip codes were people of color and/or people living at or below the 150 percent Federal poverty threshold.

Individuals who received SSI may qualify for other financial help, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps), Medicaid, and discounted internet service through the Federal Trade Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Program.

Individuals who received Social Security benefits may also be eligible for SSI.

People with limited income and financial resources, and with access to the internet, were asked to visit www.ssa.gov/ssi to learn more about SSI eligibility and request an appointment to apply for benefits.

People without access to the internet were asked to call Social Security’s National 800 Number at 1-800-772-1213 to speak with a representative.

Social Security recently proposed simplifications to the SSI program when people received food assistance. The proposed changes simplified the rules, making it easier to understand and comply with program requirements. This was expected to save time for the public and improve the equitable treatment of food assistance within the SSI program.

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