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Find answers to frequently asked questions.

Question:
Once an individual gains SSI/SSDI benefits do they continue to gain benefits indefinitely? Or is there a redetermination?

Once a person receives benefits they will need to undergo periodic Continuing Disability Reviews (CDR). The frequency of a CDR will depend on the type and severity of the diagnosis.

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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:
How long does DDS have to make a determination?

DDS does not have a set time limit to make a determination. However, on average, SOAR-assisted applications get a decision in under four months. If you are concerned about a specific case, I would regularly follow up with the DDS examiner assigned to the case. Make sure to ask how you can assist with gathering any additional information needed to make a decision.

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Question:
On the SSA-3288 how should you answer the question "I want this information released because" so as not to incur charges or delays?

For the SSA-3288, SSA will not charge a fee if the request is related to "program purposes" (i.e. related to one of the programs administered by SSA, such as SSI or SSDI). For instance, a reason related to program purposes may be help with an SSI/SSDI application for benefits. You could also add if the applicant is experiencing homelessness, as that might expedite the processing of the request (though faster processing isn’t guaranteed).

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Question:
Is there a school records request form?

There is no general form for requesting school records. To obtain school records, contact the specific School District to obtain their request form. 

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Question:
Is there any guidance or training on assisting with the appeal process?

Yes, we have a number of resources on the SOAR website to help provide information and guidance through the appeals process. They can all be found in the SOAR Library. I recommend starting with the article About Appeals and then checking out the Appeals Toolkit.

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Question:
I'm working with a client who has indicated that both her treating psychiatrist and her primary care doctor are willing to sign the MSR. Is there any advantage to having 2 signatures? Could this cause any issues?

It's great that she has two doctors willing to sign!  Yes, we recommend including both signatures -- it sends a stronger message that they are both on board with the content. And it won't cause any issues.

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Question:
How long is the certification from the SOAR online courses good for? is there an expiration date?

From the perspective of the SAMHSA SOAR TA center, there is no expiration date. Since you have passed the SOAR Online Course and received a Certificate of Completion, you are “SOAR-trained.” While we do not require additional training or re-certification, we do recommend visiting our website frequently and attending our webinars/SOARing Over Lunch calls, etc., to stay up-to-date on SSA policy changes and learn about new or updated SOAR resources.

With that being said, there may be training/certification requirements in your state or community.  We recommend reaching out to your State Team Lead or your SAMHSA SOAR TA Center Liaison. They will be able to provide additional assistance and connect you with leads in your area. You can find their contact information on your your state's SOAR page.

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Question:
What is considered a medical impairment? (i.e. Global developmental Delay in a child under the age of 5?)

SSA’s definition of disability differs from a solely medical definition in that it encompasses the child’s ability to function as compared with the functional abilities of a child of the same age who does not have impairments.

According to SSA, a medically determinable physical or mental impairment is an impairment that results from anatomical, physiological, or psychological abnormalities that can be shown by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques. A physical or mental impairment must be established by objective medical evidence from an acceptable medical source. 

SSA uses the Listing of Impairments to define the criteria for disability eligibility. The Listings are categorized by body system (i.e., cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, mental disorders). Developmental delays can be found in the following Listing: 112.14 Developmental disorders in infants and toddlers. The Listing can be found here: https://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/112.00-MentalDisorders-Childhood.htm#112_14

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Question:
For the SSI application under in-kind support, do you include SNAP benefits? If so, what would be a good estimate if amount is unknown?

SNAP benefits are accounted for in question #58 on the SSA-8000 and, therefore, would not count as in-kind/cash support for Questions #37a-b.

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