Question: What if a client seeking SOAR assistance does not have an ID card?
You can assist someone to apply for Social Security benefits even if they do not have identification. SSA has a set of questions they can ask the individual to verify their identity. (Name, SSN, DOB, mother’s maiden name, contact information)
That said, it is great to help someone obtain their identification documents so that they have them available for other uses. This can be done in parallel with the SSI/SSDI application process. Our partner organization, the Homeless and Housing Resource Center (HHRC) has a great resource on their website, Helping Individuals Experiencing Homelessness Obtain Identification Documents: https://hhrctraining.org/knowledge-resources/toolkit/1926/helping-obtain-ID
Question: Can SOAR-trained practitioners able to complete all SSI/SSDI application forms online?
You can complete Social Security’s Online Disability Benefits Application with your clients. This online application encompasses the SSDI application and the Adult Disability Report (i.e., replaces paper forms SSA-16 and SSA-3368).
Within 2-3 days of submitting the online disability application, you will submit three paper forms to SSA:
SSA-8000 (SSI application)
SSA-1696 (Appointment of Representative)
SSA-827 (Authorization to Release Information to SSA)
Question: I have been meeting with a client regarding SOAR, but after seeing their records, I do not believe they qualify or will be approved for benefits. How do I talk to them about it? Am I obligated to continue the application?
You are not obligated to continue the application, especially if you feel they do not meet the qualifications as outlined in Identifying SOAR Applicants.
We recommend focusing as much as possible on the applicant’s strengths and explaining that it appears they do not qualify for benefits (i.e., that they are able to work.) Then, if possible, provide a warm handoff to supportive services and/or employment supports.
However, we never want to discourage an applicant from applying; if they would like to apply on their own, we recommend sharing the Applicant Self-Help Guide
Question: I have a client that recently applied for SSI with assistance from a non-SOAR case manager. Am I able to take over this application by submitting a new release form?
Yes, you are absolutely able to work on an application that is in progress!
You will submit the SSA-1696 form to SSA to become the applicant’s representative and determine where the application is in the evaluation process. You can then work quickly to submit any necessary SOAR Critical Components to strengthen the application (e.g., medical records, Medical Summary Report).
Question: Should I actually include information from the Listings and Grids in the MSR, or should I wait until the applicant is denied?
The SAMHSA SOAR TA Center recommends that you don’t cite the Listing and Grid numbers, e.g.) Ms. Jones meets Listing 12.04, and the alternative Grid rule 203.03. Rather, at the DDS level (initial and reconsideration) we suggest providing a description of how the applicant meets a particular Listing(s) or Grid rule through specific examples from the medical records, applicant quotes, and other collateral sources.
Question: How do we find out why a client was previously denied?
You can obtain valuable insight into the reason an applicant was previously denied by reviewing the applicant’s electronic folder, or at minimum, obtaining the “Disability Determination Explanation” or denial notice. Most likely, you will have easy access to the denial notice from the applicant or, if you are the authorized representative, SSA should have mailed a copy to you. You can also request reason for denial by contacting your local SSA office. Learn more at Reviewing Denial Notices.
Question: I have a client that has already applied for SSI, SSDI, and supplied his medical records to the SSA. Am I still able to help him with a MSR?
We recommend contacting the DDS examiner assigned to the case to find out where they are in the decision making process. If they have just been assigned the case and are starting to process it, then you have time to write and submit a Medical Summary Report. You could let the DDS examiner know that you have additional evidence to submit. If you do not have an SSA-1696 on file, the claimant will need to be with you when you call.