Abromson & Carey, Attorneys at Law
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What are the rights of an SSI benefits applicant?

Many people in Newark, New Jersey, and in the rest of the United States, face financial challenges daily. Often, the reason behind those challenges is a disabling medical condition, blindness or advanced age, which prevents those people from working. According to the guidelines established by the Social Security Administration, those people may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income, which is a federal program that offers monthly cash benefits to those who qualify.

People who think they will qualify for SSI benefits can apply in a number of ways. For example, they can call the SSA helpline, they can visit an SSA office, they can apply online or they can choose to appoint a representative to apply on their behalf. While applying, it is important for the person to remember that according to the SSA's guidelines, there are certain rights that all people who plan to claim SSI benefits enjoy.

The first among those rights is the fact that any individual can apply for SSI benefits and that the person is not charged a fee for submitting the application. In fact, not only can every person apply but every person can also receive assistance from the SSA in order to complete the application process correctly. That includes help in completing the application form and in gathering all necessary documentation.

It is also an applicant's right to appoint a family member, friend or a Social Security attorney as a representative. Additionally, the applicant is entitled to receive written communications from the SSA regarding its decision on the claim as well as all other notifications. In the event that the applicant is denied SSI claims, the applicant has the right to examine their file and to appeal the SSA's decision.

Despite the rights that SSI applicants enjoy, successfully obtaining SSI benefits remains a challenge because the SSA typically denies a large number of claims. It is true that the SSA informs the applicant about the reason for the denial; however, there have been instances when the SSA overlooked an important piece of information, which eventually led to the denial. Therefore, it may be beneficial if the applicant chooses to consult an attorney with thorough knowledge about the SSI benefits program as well as the SSA in general.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Application Process and Applicants' Rights," Accessed on Aug. 4, 2015

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