August 22, 1997..............................................................Number 56
The Social Security Administration is reviewing or "redetermining" the eligibility of 288,000 children with disabilities who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. This review reflects changes in Federal law that more strictly define who is eligible for SSI cash payments. Of the 288,000 individuals, approximately 40% have been diagnosed with mental retardation. Very few appeals were filed, perhaps because it was unclear how an appeal could be filed. USA Today, August 15, 1997, stated, "Nearly, 100,000 children have been ruled ineligible for disability payments under tougher guidelines enacted in last years welfare reform."
Since there is a great risk of even more children with disabilities being terminated in this mass review, Friday Fax wants to provide parents, parent leaders, and concerned citizens with information on how they can work to assure that no individual who is entitled to SSI benefits lose them. Again quoting from the USA Today article, "Critics say poor children are being treated unfairly. Theyve let a monster out of a cage thats devouring disabled children, said Philadelphia attorney Jonathan Stein, (from Community Legal Services) who won a 1990 Supreme Court case (ZEBLEY) that expanded the definition of disability."
Below you will find What Parents or Guardians Should Do to Appeal the SSI Redetermination, which includes information from a number of other materials, including a brochure developed by the Community Legal Services, Inc. of Philadelphia, . Pennsylvania. Please use, duplicate, and/or distribute this material in any way that is useful.
How Parent Leaders Can Help
The National Parent Network on Disabilities is spearheading a campaign to get each state to request the names of the families that have been notified by the Social Security Administration for "redetermination" or "cut-off" of benefits. Contained in letters from May 97 and August 97, Acting Commissioner John P. Callahan wrote to all Governors advising that the Social Security Administration would share names of families with state agencies to assist them in notifying families of the review. The notification could assure that proper review of the decision could be made without the loss of benefits during the appeal process. NPND is preparing a state specific packet for parent leaders in each state. This packet will spell out exactly what parent leaders, individual parents and advocates can do, working together to influence state agencies to take steps to assure proper notification to parents and guardians.For further information regarding the SSI-Appeal Campaign check the NPND Website.
If your child is receiving Social Security Income Benefits (SSI), you may be receiving a letter from the Social Security Administration informing you that their benefits may or have been terminated. You have the right to appeal within 10 days if you get a letter that says " IMPORTANT NOTICE (YOUR CHILDS NAME) SSI WILL STOP". If you complete a Request for Reconsideration form within 10 days, your childs SSI and Medical Assistance will continue during the appeal process. The Request for Reconsideration form will be included in the letter that says your childs SSI will stop.
The following is very important.
Remember: you must cooperate with the review or "redetermination" process in order to protect your childs SSI benefits. Most of all, return information on time and ask for help if you dont understand what you must do.
NPND IS MOVING
Please note some changes in our address, phone and fax numbers.
National Parent Network on Disabilities
1200 G Street, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 434-8686(V/TDD); (202) 638-0509(fax)
Website and E-mail are the same.