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Find answers to frequently asked questions.

Question:
If an American Indian is receiving General Assistance (GA) from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), will that affect their eligibility for SSI?

BIA GA is a federally funded program administered through a local agency or tribe that provides needs-based cash assistance. This income is counted on a dollar-for-dollar basis when calculating the SSI benefit amount.

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Question:
If a person has already filed an SSI/SSDI application prior to meeting with the SOAR benefit specialist and they meet SOAR criteria, can we still file the SSA 1696 and represent the client's claim under the SOAR model if the client requests this?

Absolutely!

SOAR case workers can submit the SSA-1696: Appointment of Representative form to the SSA field office, and then begin communicating with SSA/DDS about the status of the application and any additional information needed. They can gather medical records, write a Medical Summary Report, and assist with SSA forms

You can learn more about this by reviewing the article, "Prior or Pending Applications."

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Question:
My client had been receiving SSI prior to being incarcerated. He is now out of jail and would like me to get his benefits turned back on. He has not had it for 2 years now - do we have to start all over again?

For applicants that have received SSI prior to incarceration, a new application must be submitted if the applicant was incarcerated for more than 12 months.

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Question:
How do I assist a client who already has a pending SSI/SSDI application that was submitted without a case manager's assistance? Is it best to fill out ROIs to learn more about the determination or withdraw?

The SOAR process can definitely be used to assist applicants with a pending initial or reconsideration level SSI/SSDI claim. To confirm the correct claim level, you will submit the SSA-3288: Consent for Release of Information to the SSA field office.

SOAR practitioners are often well positioned to assist given their relationships with applicants and knowledge of their impairments and related functional limitations. SOAR case managers can help by submitting the SSA-1696: Appointment of Representative form to the SSA field office, gathering additional medical records, noting previously unreported medical conditions, writing a Medical Summary Report, and assisting with SSA forms specific to the initial and appeal process.

However, if you learn that the applicant is at the ALJ level of appeal, you will need to discuss with the applicant whether they wish to continue to appeal at the hearing level or withdraw their current application to submit a new initial application using the SOAR model with your representation.

You can learn more about this by reviewing the article, "Prior or Pending Applications."

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Question:
There is information requested on the forms that is not provided in the notes. Examples - preparer information, applicant work history. Where can I find this information? Should I make something up?

There is no need to make up any details about your fictional applicant. All of the information you need to complete the Practice Case application packet is provided to you. Take care to review all materials available on the Practice Case pages at the end of Classes 1-4. This includes applicant interviews, medical records, and progress notes.

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Question:
If someone worked while in prison, is it considered earned income? Should it be listed on the SSI/SSDI application as prior employment? Do you get work credits from it?

Employment while incarcerated (with no access to the community) will not appear in an individual's work history with SSA. These earnings are not taxed and will not be counted as earned income when applying for SSI/SSDI. We encourage you to include these jobs as "specialized job training" on question #5c on the SSA-3368/Adult Disability Report.

Employment while participating in a work release program in the community (while still under the supervision of a department of corrections) will be considered part of one's work history. Taxes are paid on this income and it is considered as earned income.

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