Skip to main content

Icon faq FAQ

Find answers to frequently asked questions.

Question:
If someone has a pending claim for SSDI under appeal with an attorney involved, should/can a SOAR application be submitted?

SSA does not allow an applicant to have multiple applications pending at the same time.  If the applicant chooses to have a new initial SOAR-assisted application for SSDI benefits submitted, then the applicant would need to withdraw their current application.  It is important that the applicant understands that the new application would create a new application date which may result in the loss of retroactive 'back' benefits based on withdrawing the current pending application.

View
Question:
Is military deployment considered living overseas on question SSA-8000 15(a)?

No, military deployments do not count as residency abroad.

View
Question:
Are there any sources of income that are not counted towards your SSI claim (i.e., VA Disability, Child Support)?

Yes, there are a number of unearned income (e.g. income derived from a source other than working) exclusions in the SSI program. There is a comprehensive list here, with links to more information about each source: https://secure.ssa.gov/poms.nsf/lnx/0500830099.

VA Disability payments are not excluded when looking at countable income for the SSI program, and you’ll see that they aren’t included in this table. These benefits are counted dollar for dollar, after a general exclusion of $20. For Veterans who receive a VA Disability Pension and are applying for SSI, their income will almost certainly be too high from the Pension payment to qualify for SSI. That said, they paid into SSDI through their military service and may qualify for SSDI, so that is worth exploring (for that, check with SSA to see if the Veteran has enough work quarters to potentially qualify for SSDI).

Child support payments are in this exclusions table (though the regulations can be a bit hard to sift through) – basically, SSA will exclude one-third of support payments made on behalf of a child when determining countable income. I find this link easier to read when discussing child support and main exclusions: https://www.ssa.gov/OP_Home/cfr20/416/416-1124.htm

View
Question:
Can I submit a SOAR application for a homeless client who has physical disabilities but not mental illness?

Absolutely!  SOAR is designed to assist individuals who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and have a serious mental illness, medical impairment, and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder. 

View
Question:
I am taking my client to SSA office to turn in SOAR packet. He does not have any form of identification, recently lost his wallet, will that be an issue?

Unfortunately, yes, it is likely to be an issue if the applicant comes with you to the SSA office. SSA is getting more stringent in needing identification in order to combat benefits fraud.

I encourage you to perhaps find a workaround to doing the in-person interview while you are working on getting a replacement ID for the applicant. In many areas, SOAR caseworkers are able to drop off a completed SSA-8000 and/or arrange for a  phone interview.

If that's not possible, reach out to the SSA Homeless Coordinator/SOAR Point of Contact at SSA prior to the appointment about the lack of ID, so that it doesn't become an issue when you are there with the applicant. 

View
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.

View
Question:
I was told there was a list of questions that was good to use during an ALJ appeal hearing.

"Questions for Direct Examination at SSA Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Hearing," along with other helpful resources, can be accessed on the webinar "Hearing Tips for SOAR Practitioners."

View
Question:
When completing the SOAR Online Course, how do you complete the SSA 16 and SSA 3368? Both of these are to be completed online, but in the final submission both of those forms are listed as being required to submit.

For purposes of the SOAR Online Course, the SSA-16 and SSA-3368 paper forms will be completed.  Since you are working with a fictional applicant, do not attempt to complete or submit the Online Disability Benefits application.

For further guidance, please revisit the Class 1 Practice Case page, "Meet Your Client" for instructions.

View
Question:
I’m working with an applicant who is transgender and currently in the process of changing her name. What do we do if her name change is finalized during the application process?

SSA recommends that the applicant ask their SSA field office to make a special note of this for DDS and, once the application has gone to DDS, to touch base with the disability examiner to remind them. As the SOAR case manager, you can indicate that a name change is in process in the ‘Remarks Section’ of all SSA forms, as well as in the Medical Summary Report. You could also include the name change document with the completed SOAR application. By keeping up good communication with DDS, the Examiner will be aware that the applicant’s name, gender, DOB, and SSN may not match all medical documentation. SSA also suggested informing the applicant's medical sources to ensure they are aware for medical records purposes. 

Here are some helpful links regarding name/gender changes:

 

View
Question:
How does the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center calculate average days to decision for SOAR-assisted SSI/SSDI applications?

When reporting data in our SOAR national outcomes, we calculate days to decision from the time the application is turned in to SSA until DDS makes a decision on the application.  The receipt from the Online Disability Benefit Application will show the date the application was received by SSA and the date on the notification letter from SSA can be used as the date of decision.

View