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To Questions About Your Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income Benefits

Attorney Shawn Taylor

How the Social Security Administration aims to promote equity

On Behalf of | Mar 8, 2024 | Social Security Disability |

Every paycheck, employers withhold funds to contribute toward taxes and also Social Security on behalf of their workers. Eventually, when workers reach retirement age, they can file a claim for Social Security retirement benefits.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) also oversees federal disability benefits. In theory, every applicant seeking disability support should receive the same consideration. Unfortunately, certain communities have a more difficult time learning about and using their benefits than others.

In recent years, the SSA has recommitted to making benefits as equitable as possible. Identifying and removing barriers that keep vulnerable people from using crucial benefits could reduce the stress on those dealing with medical issues or the loss of a family member. What has the SSA promised to do to make benefits applications more just and equitable?

The SSA has committed to improving practices

Although people of all backgrounds and ages contribute to Social Security, many people have a difficult time actually seeking benefits when they need support due to health challenges. Complex paperwork, lack of familiarity with the available benefits and even language barriers can prevent those who theoretically qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits from securing the assistance they require.

The SSA has begun identifying and addressing issues that lead to less support for people in certain circumstances and members of certain communities. In 2022, the Equity Action Plan helped simplify the application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), made more demographic information available to the public and updated SSA software/programs  to make benefits more accessible. The agency announced its 2023 Equity Plan Updates in February 2024.

Those updates include a commitment to overcoming language barriers. The SSA intends to make the application process easier for those who don’t speak English fluently. The SSA also announced the intention to reduce SSI underpayments while investigating the cause of those underpayments. Finally, the SSA plans to invest in awareness efforts to educate younger people about survivor benefits.

Those with language barriers and those unfamiliar with the potential benefits available might make mistakes or give up during the application process instead of pursuing the support they require. Learning about the SSA’s changing policies might help people realize that they have an opportunity to apply, reapply or appeal a decision related to SSDI benefits.