SSA Claims Representatives are required to take Supplemental Secutity Income (SSI) claims from all applicants for Social Security Disability benefits unless the applicant (aka claimant) states that they don’t want to apply for the federal welfare program
This past April one of my clients applied for Social Security Disability benefits and was interviewed by a Claims Representative at the Albany, NY District Office. Prior to her interview I advised the client not to apply for SSI because her husband’s income made her ineligible. I instructed her to tell the Claims Representative that interviewed her that she did not want to file a claim for SSI, and that she wanted to apply for SSDI only.
The client’s husband was present at the interview. He told me that his wife repeatedly told the Claims Representative that she did not want to apply for SSI and, per my instructions, that she wanted to apply for SSDI benefits only.
The Claims Representative refused to take “no” for an answer. Instead he badgered the client into filing an SSI claim* by implying that it was a legal requirement of the disability application process, and that I knew that. Both statements are patently untrue.
There is no legitimate reason to take an SSI claim from an individual who is clearly ineligible for benefits – and there is no excuse for taking an SSI claim from an individual who clearly states that they do not want to apply for the federal welfare program. That is unconscionable, and I suspect that this is routine behavior for the Claims Rep that interviewed my client.
The SSA employee’s misconduct has been reported to his superiors, however it remains to be seen if he will be held accountable for his actions.
* The SSI claim was immediately denied