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Signature requirements negatively impact disabled Americans

| Nov 30, 2020 | Social Security Disability |

It’s only been 30 years since the American With Disabilities Act was passed. People in North Carolina may remember when businesses and even public places could exclude people with disabilities instead of accommodating them. Unfortunately, that attitude still persists today within the Social Security Administration.

Access is everything

In an age of online apps, the Social Security Administration still requires a wet signature from claimants on paperwork. Some physically disabled people struggle to sign a paper document without assistance. This rule is also odd in view of the fact that individuals can sign all kinds of documents online or via mobile apps. Disability advocates say that that the signature requirement represents an unfair barrier to their clients.

It’s now possible to sign for loans, leases and other important binding legal documents virtually. The wet signature requirement not only discriminates against people who have physical difficulty signing, but because paper documents need to be mailed and manually processed, it also increases the time it takes for paperwork to be processed.

There are plenty of other federal agencies that accept other forms of signatures. The IRS, VA, HUD and even Medicare allow people to sign documents electronically. To many observers, it’s very strange that the SSA makes a wet signature demand in this day and age.

Lawsuits against the SSA

Lawsuits from organizations including the National Federation for the Blind have resulted in the temporary suspension of this restriction. However, many people say it’s clear that a permanent change needs to be made because it’s unfair for the SSA to erect barriers that keep legitimate claimants from receiving their benefits in a timely fashion.

Social Security Disability payments are the right of disabled Americans. If an individual has questions about denied claims or other barriers to access, they may want to reach out to an attorney.