Social Security Administration BEST ProgramThe Social Security Administration receives millions of applications for Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income benefits. In an effort to expedite the disability application process and eliminate applications from claimants who do not meet the basic non-medical requirements of any disability program the Social Security Administration has created the BEST or Benefit Eligibility Screening Tool.
According to the Social Security Administration, this interactive, on-line screening tool will help you find out if you qualify for the programs administered by the SSA. Each claimant is asked to spend 5 to 10 minutes answering a variety of questions. After completing the questionnaire the BEST program will tell you if you are eligible and if not, how you might qualify.
What does BEST screen for?
BEST screens for the Medicare, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Social Security Retirement, Social Security Survivors benefits, special Veterans benefits, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
Consider, however, that the BEST tool is not the tool used to apply for disability benefits. Claimants may apply for Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance online but not using the BEST tool.
BEST does not gather sufficient information to determine whether or not claimants would qualify for disability. BEST does not gather your name or Social Security number. It does not have access to your Social Security records, and it will not be able to tell you the estimated amount of your disability payment. For this information claimants must visit the Social Security Administrations benefits estimator page or review their most recent Statement of Earnings.
BEST will also not screen or provide information for the Medicare prescription drug program. Claimants with questions about this plan should contact the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 or visit their website at www.ssa.gov.
What information does BEST need?
As mentioned above, claimants who wonder if they meet the basic qualifications for either Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance can spend 5 to 10 minutes and find the answer. Remember, even if BEST determines you MAY be eligible for disability, the Social Security Administration will still have to request your medical records to determine if you are disabled before you will be approved.
BEST will need the following information to determine if you meet the nonmedical requirements for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI):
- You and your spouses date of birth, marriages and earnings information
- Financial information which can be used to determine if you or your spouse qualify for Supplemental Security Income (which does have very limited income and resources to qualify)
Keep in mind, claimants who are receiving specific benefits are not screened again for the benefits they are currently receiving, and the Social Security does not keep any of the information which is entered into the system. The SSA also recommends that claimants make printouts for their records.
BEST said I might qualify. What do I do next?
BEST is a prescreening tool only. As mentioned, to file for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income claimants can contact the SSA by calling them at 1-800-772-1213, visiting their website online at www.ssa.gov, or make an appointment to visit with a Social Security Administration representative.
- Consultative Examination - How long will it take for a SSA disability decision? (disabilitybenefitshome.com)
- Supporting yourself while you wait for Social Security Administration Disability (disabilitybenefitshome.com)
- Social Security Administration and Calculating my Disability Benefits (disabilitybenefitshome.com)