Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (P.L. 93-112) mandates that a customer who is DHOH has meaningful access to the Social Security
Administration’s (SSA’s) programs, activities, and facilities. This policy requires
us to provide sign language interpreter services if a customer who is DHOH indicates
he or she needs an interpreter to communicate effectively with SSA.
A customer who is DHOH is not required to use a sign language interpreter with whom
he or she cannot effectively communicate. If the interviewer or the DHOH customer
determines that effective communication is not occurring, we do not require the customer
to continue using that sign language interpreter. Protect the filing date, if applicable,
and terminate the interview until we locate an appropriate interpreter. For a description
of appropriate interpreters, see GN 00203.012B in this section.
The customer who is DHOH has the option to provide his or her own sign language interpreter
at no cost to SSA. When we provide interpreter services, the interpreter must be a
certified and qualified sign language interpreter, as defined by the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA). Managers and Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) are the approving
officials who authorize payment for sign language interpreter services and related
expenses arranged by SSA. Such payments are subject to prior approval by the approving
official. This authorization is within the local purchase authority.