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Find answers to frequently asked questions.

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. 

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Question:
Can I submit a 3368 on line?

Yes! We actually suggest that you submit both the SSA-3368: Adult Disability Report and the SSA 16: Application for SSDI online as part of a complete SOAR-assisted SSI/SSDI application packet. You can use the paper forms as worksheets and then transfer to the Online Disability Benefit Application and Adult Disability Report

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Question:
Must the client be present when the SSA-1696 Appointment of Representative form is submitted to SSA?

No, the claimant does not need to present when you turn in the signed SSA-1696. We do recommend submitting an original copy with a "wet-signature." Be sure to keep a copy for your records.

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Question:
If the client is not homeless or at risk of being homeless, can I still assist them via SOAR?

All of the SOAR Critical Components and techniques learned in the SOAR Online Course can be used for any SSI/SSDI application. However, in order to indicate to SSA/DDS that it is a "SOAR" claim, the applicant must be experiencing or at risk of homelessness, as defined here.

Further, you want to be sure that you are following any additional steps as required by your State or community’s established SOAR process.

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Question:
What form do we need signed from the applicant to be able to speak to a friend or relative for additional functioning information?

A general privacy release can be used to communicate about the applicant to friends/relatives/other service providers, etc. This can be the SOAR sample (even if it is not for medical records) or a more generic one. Here is another example from CSH.  Most agencies have a privacy release that they use at intake or for these purposes. 

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Question:
Can a person establish a protective filing date online even if they are only applying for SSI and not SSDI? What if they have no work credits and can't apply for SSDI?

Absolutely!  Initiating the Online Disability Benefit Application sets the protective filing date for SSI as well as SSDI. Even without work credits, there are other ways an applicant may qualify for SSDI so we recommend applying for both programs. Further, completing the online application is an efficient way to submit medical and work information that is necessary to apply for SSI.

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Question:
Once a protective filing date is set with SSA how long do I have to submit the completed application and medical summary report?

Once you have set the Protective Filing Date (PFD), you have 60 days to submit the complete application & MSR.  Read Steps in the SSA Disability Application Process.

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Question:
Can I use the SSA-8001 form instead of the SSA-8000 when using the SOAR model?

We recommend against using the SSA-8001 form for a SOAR application because it contains less comprehensive information about an applicant’s income and resources. As such, the applicant would still need to complete an in-person or phone interview with SSA in order to complete the SSA-8000. By completing the SSA-8000 and turning it in to SSA, you can often avoid the need for this interview.

If you find that your local SSA office is not accepting the SSA-8000 from in lieu of an interview, I encourage you to reach out to your SOAR TA Center Liaison and SOAR State Lead so that they can provide local assistance.

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Question:
I am a representative. Can I use the SOAR forms if my client is low-income but not currently homeless?

All of our resources are open-access and free to use when helping applicants. However, we request that you only use the “SOAR” label at Social Security when you are working with individuals who are experiencing or at-risk for homelessness. Read more about how we define homelessness and at-risk. If the applicants you assist do not fit this criteria, you are still welcome to use any of our materials that you find helpful, without marking the application as “SOAR” at Social Security.

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Question:
How can I find the date of onset?

We recommend using the applicant’s last day of work as their date of onset when helping someone apply for SSI/SSDI. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will examine the applicant’s medical records and prior work history to determine if any of the previous work attempts were unsuccessful (i.e.: the applicant was unable to sustain work for more than a few weeks or months due to disabling mental or physical health conditions).

If the applicant is currently working, enter the date that he or she believes the condition(s) became severe enough to prevent him or her from performing substantial gainful activity.

For individuals who have never worked, such as youth exiting foster care, SSA’s guidance is to “enter the date when he or she believes the condition(s) became severe enough to keep him or her from working.” Since youth can work before age 18, you can enter dates prior to their 18th birthday if that is relevant.

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