5115.20 Disability advocacy program.

(A) The department of job and family services shall establish a disability advocacy program and each county department of job and family services shall establish a disability advocacy program unit or join with other county departments of job and family services to establish a joint county disability advocacy program unit. Through the program the department and county departments shall cooperate in efforts to assist applicants for and recipients of assistance under the disability financial assistance program, who might be eligible for supplemental security income benefits under Title XVI of the "Social Security Act," 86 Stat. 1475 (1972), 42 U.S.C.A. 1383, as amended, in applying for those benefits.

As part of their disability advocacy programs, the state department and county departments may enter into contracts for the services of persons and government entities that in the judgment of the department or county department have demonstrated expertise in representing persons seeking supplemental security income benefits. Each contract shall require the person or entity with which a department contracts to assess each person referred to it by the department to determine whether the person appears to be eligible for supplemental security income benefits, and, if the person appears to be eligible, assist the person in applying and represent the person in any proceeding of the social security administration, including any appeal or reconsideration of a denial of benefits. The department or county department shall provide to the person or entity with which it contracts all records in its possession relevant to the application for supplemental security income benefits. The department shall require a county department with relevant records to submit them to the person or entity.

(B) Each applicant for or recipient of disability financial assistance who, in the judgment of the department of job and family services or a county department of job and family services might be eligible for supplemental security benefits, shall, as a condition of eligibility for assistance, apply for such benefits if directed to do so by the department or county department.

(C) With regard to applicants for and recipients of disability financial assistance, each county department of job and family services shall do all of the following:

(1) Identify applicants and recipients who might be eligible for supplemental security income benefits;

(2) Assist applicants and recipients in securing documentation of disabling conditions or refer them for such assistance to a person or government entity with which the department of job and family services or county department has contracted under division (A) of this section;

(3) Inform applicants and recipients of available sources of representation, which may include a person or government entity with which the department or county department has contracted under division (A) of this section, and of their right to represent themselves in reconsiderations and appeals of social security administration decisions that deny them supplemental security income benefits. The county department may require the applicants and recipients, as a condition of eligibility for assistance, to pursue reconsiderations and appeals of social security administration decisions that deny them supplemental security income benefits, and shall assist applicants and recipients as necessary to obtain such benefits or refer them to a person or government entity with which the department or county department has contracted under division (A) of this section.

(4) Require applicants and recipients who, in the judgment of the county department, are or may be aged, blind, or disabled, to apply for the medicaid program, make determinations when appropriate as to eligibility for medicaid, and refer their applications when necessary to the disability determination unit established in accordance with division (F) of this section for expedited review;

(5) Require each applicant and recipient who in the judgment of the department or the county department might be eligible for supplemental security income benefits, as a condition of eligibility for disability financial assistance, to execute a written authorization for the secretary of health and human services to withhold benefits due that individual and pay to the director of job and family services or the director's designee an amount sufficient to reimburse the state and county shares of interim assistance furnished to the individual. For the purposes of division (C)(5) of this section, "benefits" and "interim assistance" have the meanings given in Title XVI of the "Social Security Act."

(D) The director of job and family services shall adopt rules in accordance with section 111.15 of the Revised Code for the effective administration of the disability advocacy program. The rules shall include all of the following:

(1) Methods to be used in collecting information from and disseminating it to county departments, including the following:

(a) The number of individuals in the county who are disabled recipients of disability financial assistance;

(b) The final decision made either by the social security administration or by a court for each application or reconsideration in which an individual was assisted pursuant to this section.

(2) The type and process of training to be provided by the department of job and family services to the employees of the county department of job and family services who perform duties under this section;

(3) Requirements for the written authorization required by division (C)(5) of this section.

(E) The department of job and family services shall provide basic and continuing training to employees of the county department of job and family services who perform duties under this section. Training shall include but not be limited to all processes necessary to obtain federal disability benefits, and methods of advocacy.

(F) The department of medicaid shall establish a disability determination unit and develop guidelines for expediting reviews of applications for the medicaid program for persons who have been referred to the unit under division (C)(4) of this section. The department of medicaid shall make determinations of eligibility for medicaid for any such person within the time prescribed by federal regulations.

(G) The department of job and family services may, under rules the director of job and family services adopts in accordance with section 111.15 of the Revised Code, pay a portion of the federal reimbursement described in division (C)(5) of this section to persons or government entities that assist or represent assistance recipients in reconsiderations and appeals of social security administration decisions denying them supplemental security income benefits.

(H) The director of job and family services shall conduct investigations to determine whether disability advocacy programs are being administered in compliance with the Revised Code and the rules adopted by the director pursuant to this section.

Cite as R.C. § 5115.20

History. Amended by 130th General Assembly File No. 25, HB 59, §101.01, eff. 9/29/2013.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.9, HB 1, §101.01, eff. 10/16/2009.

Effective Date: 06-26-2003