Executive Director, Advocacy and Training Center
Social Security and SSI disability benefits are often the main sources of stable income for people who have serious mental illness. Individuals who are homeless face particular barriers in navigating the application process. They typically lack a mailing address, transportation, and a treatment history from accepted medical sources (physicians or licensed psychologists). Improving Social Security Disability Programs for Adults Experiencing Long-term Homelessness proposes three strategies to address these barriers: (a) expand the acceptable medical sources to include professions likely to be available in publicly funded health and mental health care systems; (b) use SSA’s presumptive eligibility for SSI disability benefits for people with schizophrenia who are homeless for at least six months; and (c) modify the administrative process to accommodate homeless individuals consistent with SSA’s Homeless Plan of 2002.