HOW SOMEONE CAN HELP YOU WITH YOUR SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME (SSI)
YOU MAY CHOOSE SOMEBODY WHO CAN HELP YOU WITH:
Going with you to your local Social Security office;
Interpreting for you;
Gathering and giving information;
Taking you to medical examinations, tests, or to your local Social Security office; or
Receiving mail for you at his or her address.
IF YOU WANT HELP WITH YOUR CLAIM, YOU MAY APPOINT A REPRESENTATIVE TO HELP YOU:
Do all of the above;
Review your file;
Get information from us about your claim, including notices and letters, just as you would;
Represent you at informal or formal hearings;
Give us evidence for you; or
Help you with appeals. (See our chapter on the APPEALS PROCESS)
HOW DO YOU APPOINT A REPRESENTATIVE?
You must sign a statement naming (or in other words "appointing") your representative. We have an "Appointment of Representative" form that you can use. You can obtain it online at: www.socialsecurity.gov/online/ssa-1696.pdf or call us and ask for Form SSA-1696.
Your representative does not have to be a lawyer, but he or she must have certain qualifications. For example, attorneys must be licensed and all others must have good character and skills to help you. Also, the representative cannot be someone who is disqualified or suspended from representing individuals before us or is prohibited by law from acting as a representative.
A representative's duties are different from those of a representative payee.
|See our chapter on the REPRESENTATIVE PAYEE PROGRAM for information about the duties of a representative payee.|
IF YOU DO NOT SPEAK ENGLISH OR HAVE DIFFICULTY SPEAKING ENGLISH
We will provide an interpreter, at no cost to you, if you ask for one or if you need language assistance.
You may use a bilingual family member, friend, or other third party to interpret for you.
For more information, see the SSI Spotlight on Interpreter Services.
|We will not use minor children age 18 as interpreters when dealing with difficult issues, unless they are qualified and you request that we do so.|
IF YOU ARE DEAF OR HARD OF HEARING
You may provide your own sign language interpreter, at no cost to us.
If you prefer, we will provide you with a sign language interpreter, if needed, at no cost to you.
IF YOU THINK YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO APPOINT A REPRESENTATIVE
If you do not have a representative and we denied your case, we will give you a list of legal referral services, legal service organizations (for example, local bar associations, legal aid societies, legal service corporations, and law schools with legal aid programs), and community organizations in your area that may provide representation at no charge.
The representative you appoint may not charge you a fee that is more than we authorize.
WHAT WE WILL ASK YOU ABOUT
To decide whether you can get SSI, we will ask you about:
the things you own (resources);
your living arrangements (where you live, with whom, who pays for things); and
If you are age 65 or over, or a child under age 18, we will ask for proof of your age (unless you already receive Social Security benefits). If you are under age 18 and living with your parent(s), or if you are married and living with your spouse, we will also ask about their income and resources.
If you are applying because you are disabled or blind, we will complete a disability report. We will ask about your health problems, your treatment history, and how your health problems affect your daily activities.
We will also ask for all of your medical records from medical sources and request authorization from you to obtain those records. You can also bring copies of your medical records to the office at the time of your interview or mail them to us after your application.
If you have access to the Internet, you can complete the disability report before you visit the Social Security office. Completing the report before you visit the office can help make your office visit shorter. You can complete the ADR online at: www.socialsecurity.gov/adultdisabilityreport.
If you are filing for a child, you can complete the Child Disability Report online at: www.socialsecurity.gov/childdisabilityreport.
If you are a professional, representative, or organization assisting adults age 18 or older in applying for disability benefits and are familiar with the Form SSA–3368–BK ADR, please go to www.socialsecurity.gov/adultdisabilityreport.
|The disability report is not the application. You must still complete an application for SSI benefits.|