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What rights do I have when I apply for SSI?

Residents of Ohio, like residents of any other U.S. state have certain rights to benefits from the federal government, if they meet the requirements set out in federal regulations and statutes. One of those benefits programs is the Supplemental Security Income, also known as SSI. SSI is a program under which the federal government pays an amount out of the general treasury (as opposed to the social security trust fund) to persons who are disabled, blind, and have limited resources. So, what rights do you have when you wish to attempt to qualify for SSI benefits?

First, everyone has a right to file an application for SSI, at no cost. This, of course, does not guarantee you will be approved for benefits, but the right to apply for them is there. You also have a right to have help in completing your application, either by the Social Security Administration or by a representative that you have chosen, as long as that person is qualified to represent you. This representative can also accompany you to any interviews or hearings you have with the social security office. You also have the right to use an interpreter if your English is not good enough that you can understand and conduct business with the social security representative.

You also have a right to see your file, and receive copies of any information contained in it, and get a letter explaining the decision that has been made on your application. You can get help retrieving your medical records, if necessary, and to receive a copy of the laws and regulations used to make determinations on SSI applications.

Finally, you generally have the right to appeal determinations made on your application. This applies both to whether you qualify at all for SSI, or the amount that is to be paid to you under the program. While it is not required, if you do decide to apply for SSI or appeal a decision made on an application, you may wish to consider an attorney to help you complete and execute the necessary actions in a timely manner.

Source: ssa.gov “Understanding Supplemental Security Income SSI Application Process and Applicants’ Rights — 2014 Edition,” Accessed Sep. 23, 2014

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