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The Complete Application: SOAR Packet

After you have worked with the applicant to collect all of the necessary information, you will need to assemble the complete application packet. The inclusion of supplemental documentation, in addition to the required SSA forms, distinguishes a SOAR application packet from a typical application packet.

SSI/SSDI Application Packet

This article lists the forms and other documentation that you'll submit as a complete SOAR application for SSA disability benefits. It also describes ways to submit your complete application packet to SSA. This procedure is part of the SOAR program negotiated for your community. Contact your SOAR State or Local Lead to find out more.

SOAR Application Reminders 

  • SSA does not have a “SOAR” flag. However, you can indicate in the “Remarks” section of all paper/online forms that this is part of a SOAR Application. SSA will add appropriate flags as necessary, including “Homeless” and “Representative;" this is essential to alerting the DDS examiner and preventing duplication of effort in gathering medical records.

  • For the application to be considered a SOAR-assisted application, the applicant must be experiencing or at risk of homelessness, and case managers must submit all the forms and materials discussed below.

Forms Submitted Electronically

The Online Disability Benefit Application and Disability Report are completed online using information gathered using the SSA-16 and SSA-3368 paper forms.

  • If you began the Online Disability Benefit Application to establish the Protective Filing Date (PFD), use the re-entry number to access.
  • When you are ready to submit the complete application packet to SSA, complete both forms online and click “Submit." 
  • The electronic applications will be downloaded to the SSA field office associated with the applicant’s zip code.

iSSI: Online SSI Application

Applicants who meet the following criteria can now complete the iSSI application (a limited, deferred SSI application) online:

  • Are between the ages of 18 and 65;
  • Aren’t blind;
  • Have never been married;
  • U.S. Citizens and residents of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands;
  • Haven’t applied for or received disability or SSI benefits in the past; and
  • Are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance at the same time as your SSI claim.

Note : The iSSI application is not the same as the SSA-8000, and the applicant will need to answer additional questions from SSA outside of iSSI about income and resources. SSA plans to expand the population who can file for SSI online in future updates. Claimants who do not meet these criteria will still be able to express an intent to file for SSI; however, they will not be able to file the iSSI online.

Paper Forms and Documentation

Use the SOAR Application Checklist as your cover page.

  • Check that you have the following forms signed and dated:
    • SSA-1696: Appointment of Representative (PDF)
    • SSA-827: Authorization to Disclose Information to SSA (PDF)
    • SSA-8000: Application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) (if using paper option) – if you do not complete the iSSI application online, it will need to be completed on paper, in-person at SSA, or over the phone with an SSA claims specialist (PDF)
  • Include all relevant medical records or submit using Electronic Records Express (see below)
  • Include your SOAR Medical Summary Report

Don't Forget Quality Review!

Ensuring a complete, high-quality application packet is one of the most important components of the SOAR model. Our best practices for quality review include:

  • Utilizing the SOAR Quality Review Checklist when preparing the application packet
  • Reaching out to your teammates, your local or state SOAR Leaders, or the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center for support
    • Sending your first few Medical Summary Reports to your local lead or SOAR TA Center Liaison for review can be a very helpful way to learn about SOAR and improve your application packets
    • When emailing MSRs, be sure to first remove the applicant's name, date of birth, and Social Security number for HIPAA compliance!

Submitting Medical Records to SSA and DDS

Submitting records electronically to SSA and DDS is the quickest and easiest way to turn in records. Records turned in at the SSA field office often have to be mailed out to be scanned by an outside company. Avoid delays and choose an electronic option.

Bar-Coded Cover Sheet

  • DDS can generate a cover sheet with a barcode specific to the applicant’s file
  • Records that are faxed using the cover sheet are automatically converted to electronic format and delivered to the applicant’s electronic file

Electronic Records Express (ERE)

Delivering the Completed Application Packet

Contact your local SSA field office according to the SOAR process established in your community.

  • Call and make an appointment to drop off packet.
  • Make copies of all application materials for your files.
  • Let the SSA claims specialist know that you have submitted the Online Disability Benefit Application and Online Adult Disability Report electronically.
  • When you drop off the application packet, note to whom you delivered it and confirm that they have everything they need. Some communities prefer that you fax or upload medical records and the MSR directly to DDS.
  • Obtain a receipt for the application submission.

Follow up with DDS

It is very important to get in touch with the DDS examiner assigned to the application and establish open lines of communication.

  • Call DDS within five business days to find out to whom the application has been assigned
  • Contact the DDS examiner, introduce yourself, and see if they have all of the information they need
  • Quickly follow-up with additional information as requested
  • DDS will make a medical decision on the application once they have all of the necessary information
  • DDS will send the electronic case file back to SSA with their decision
Use the Application Tracking Worksheet to keep track of when you submit the application, SSA and DDS representatives assigned to the case, and any Consultative Exams ordered.

Automatic Letters Generated by SSA to the Applicant

SSA may send out automatic letters to applicants after they set a protective filing date, or if they do not have enough work quarters to qualify for SSDI.

SSA's Quality Review Process

There are multiple levels of quality review at both the SSA and DDS. It is important to understand how those quality review procedures have the potential to affect the applicants with whom you are working.

  • The decision may go through a quality review process at DDS or at SSA in the Disability Quality Branch (DQB)
  • The selection for quality review is random and covers both approvals and denials
  • DDS cannot tell you the decision due to this quality review process. The original decision may be reversed
  • For more information on this process, visit the article: The Social Security Administration (SSA) Quality Review Process