The Arc and Justice in Aging are interested in speaking with people about their experiences with the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) failure to provide for reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities in the context of continued benefits. SSA requires that Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients who are facing suspension or reduction of their benefits file an appeal within 10 days in order to continue to receive their monthly payment while their appeal is pending.
However, SSA is not providing adequate assistance to people with disabilities such as mental health conditions, cognitive impairments, or intellectual disability, who may need help with filing their appeals so they can continue to get their SSI benefits while a decision on the appeal is pending. SSA fails to include with the suspension/reduction notice any information regarding the right to seek a reasonable accommodation (including more time to appeal), fails to inform individuals how to seek assistance at the local office, and even fails to include with the notice the form they need to fill out to appeal.
We are looking at whether SSA is providing help to people who need it and who didn’t get continued benefits. We are interested in speaking with SSI recipients who:
1. Received a notice from SSA that their SSI benefits were being reduced or suspended for reasons other than their disability (e.g., being over the income or resource limits, a change in their living situation). Note: this does not include people who are applying for SSI and are denied, or SSI recipients who are undergoing a Continuing Disability Review or who only received a notice of overpayment;
2. Would have sought continued benefits while their appeal was pending but were unable to do so; and
3. Had trouble processing and acting on information in the SSA notice due to a mental health condition, a cognitive impairment, or an intellectual disability.
If you or your clients are experiencing these issues, please contact Shira Wakschlag, The Arc’s Director of Legal Advocacy & Associate General Counsel to discuss further: Shira@thearc.org; 202-534-3708.