Publication Date

June 2006

Abstract

The Rhode Island Benefits Planning Assistance and Outreach (BPA&O) project has identified a pervasive access issue facing the state’s deaf and hard of hearing community. In partnership, the Rhode Island Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) project has taken action to remedy this issue of serious concern for this community. Lack of programmatic access to the disability benefits programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) has created a situation in which legal rights are unintentionally forfeited due to SSA’s failure to provide sign language interpreters and a lack of ability of most deaf or hard of hearing recipients to communicate in written English. SSA’s failure to provide interpreters is the direct cause of the access issues facing this vulnerable community.

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