SSD application process is discriminatory, lawsuit claims

| Oct 19, 2020 | social security disability

People in Indiana applying for Social Security Disability after a life-changing injury or illness may find themselves facing an array of bureaucratic hurdles throughout the application process. Social Security Disability benefits can provide critical support for people with disabilities, but the application process can be challenging. For example, advocates point out that even the signature requirement for a completed form can be difficult for people with many disabilities that impair writing and mobility.

Lawsuit aims to change application requirements

If you work with a representative to submit an application for SSD benefits, the form must be hand-signed in ink, submitted through the mail. The United Spinal Association argues that this adds weeks or even months to the time needed to process an application, despite the fact that many government offices routinely process electronic applications, including e-signatures. The association argues that the policy discriminates against individuals with disabilities, precisely the intended beneficiaries of Social Security Disability. They say that the signature requirement violates a range of federal laws that aim to reduce paperwork, eliminate obsolete technologies and prevent arbitrary administrative actions.

Other agencies accept electronic signatures

The IRS may be the best-known government agency to accept electronic signatures for all tax returns, but other agencies dealing with benefits for vulnerable individuals also accept electronic filing. For example, Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development both accept e-signatures from applicants for benefits and services, as does the Medicare system.

The policy specifically applies to people applying for Social Security Disability benefits with the aid of a representative, which are more likely to be accepted from the initial application stage through the disability appeal stage. Many people with disabilities may be confused or uncertain about the process or upset by an early rejection. A disability lawyer might help applicants throughout the SSD process to obtain the benefits they deserve.