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Social Security wants to get funds to more Arizonans

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Monday, March 25, 2024   

The Social Security Administration has launched a campaign to let people know there is money on the table for many Arizonans who may qualify for financial assistance from Supplemental Security Income.

Abigail Zapote, senior adviser for the Social Security Administration, said SSI provides monthly payments to those with limited income and financial resources, including adults aged 65 and older or adults and children with a disability or blindness.

According to Social Security data, in 2020 there were almost 119,000 SSI recipients in Arizona.

Zapote acknowledged some people still could be eligible for the program and realizes the number may not be proportional to the actual need in the state.

"We know that there are more people, more communities that might be eligible for this benefit," Zapote explained. "As we've talked to communities in Arizona, we know that there is a large portion of Indian Country in Arizona and we want to make sure that those communities also know that SSA is here to provide them support."

Zapote pointed out the monthly payments can help with basic needs such as rent, food, clothing and medicine. She encouraged Arizonans who think they could qualify to visit ssa.gov/ssi or call 1-800-772-1213.

More than 32% of Arizona's population is Hispanic or Latino, according to the U.S. Census, which Zapote said the SSA is well aware of. She added someone who is not a citizen but a resident of the U.S. still could be eligible for SSI. Additionally, if someone is undocumented but has U.S.-born children, those children could also qualify for SSI.

"We know that Arizona also has a large population of non-English speakers," Zapote emphasized. "We want to let folks know that they can give us a call at our 800-number and request interpreter services, and they can also request interpreter services once they get their appointment at a field office to get that additional support to fill out the application."

According to the Social Security Administration, one's monthly payment depends on various factors like income, living situation as well as owned assets. Zapote said in 2023 the administration achieved its goal to increase SSI applications by 25%, and added they want to continue to do what they can to help more individuals.


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