Social Security and SSI recipients should be able to receive their entitled benefits and have access to an appeals process that works. By identifying broken processes and recommending solutions both to the Social Security Administration and to advocates fighting for their clients, we work to ensure that due process is followed throughout the appeals process.
Under the law, when an SSI recipient’s benefits are suspended or reduced, they have the right to receive information on why the SSA is taking this action, to access a timely appeals process, and to continue to receive benefits pending appeal. However, that’s not always what happens. The system is plagued by delays (often months long), incomplete and inaccurate information provided to recipients and their representatives, and limited accountability. As they try to resolve their cases, low-income seniors who rely on these programs for all or most of their income are left at risk of homelessness, hunger, and even death. This problem affects thousands of poor seniors all over the country. Justice in Aging resources help advocates target their efforts, and our direct recommendations to the Social Security Administration seek to solve these problems at the source.
Update: In fall of 2015, SSA made progress toward solving these problems with the release of a new Request for Reconsideration Form 561, which incorporated our suggestions for improvement.