If you have a disability and want to apply for benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA), the process may seem overwhelming at first. Visit their website and you’ll see a long list of requirements for eligibility, and even longer descriptions for the various qualifying disabilities that someone may suffer from.
What do you do? Where do you start? And if you’ve already applied and been denied, what are your options?
Luckily, you don’t just have disability requirements, but disability rights.
What Are Your Disability Rights?
Though it may seem convoluted and confusing, remember that the Social Security Administration really is there to help people. To that end, you should know that the SSA grants you a number of rights as someone applying for disability. These include the right to:
- Apply for benefits at no cost to you
- Receive help from Social Security to get the right documents and get help filling out forms
- Have someone help you with your claim
- Have that individual go with you to your local office
- Have an interpreter provided free of charge
- Choose a qualified attorney (or non-attorney) to represent you
- Enlist the SSA’s help in getting your medical records
- Get or see copies of the information in your records
- Receive a letter outlining the benefits you qualify for and what you will be paid
- Appeal determinations that are negative or where you think the benefit amount is too low
- Receive copies of the regulations, laws, or policy statements used in determining your claim
These disability rights are available to anyone who wants to file an application for disability with Social Security, however, sometimes you have to assert your rights in order to make sure they are honored. If you want to make sure that you’re treated with the respect you deserve, you need to know your rights and be ready to fight for them.