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  • Prior or Pending Applications

    It is important to find out whether someone has a pending initial claim or is waiting for a reconsideration or an appeals hearing before starting a new application.

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    Article
  • About Appeals

    While we do our best to help eligible individuals get approved on the initial application, sometimes the application is denied and we need to help someone through the appeals process. This article provides an overview of the several levels of appeals and the steps to take to file an appeal.

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    Article
  • ALJ Hearings: Prehearing and On the Record (OTR) Reviews

    Under certain circumstances, the SOAR representative can request that a case be referred back to DDS for a Prehearing Review or that the Office of Hearing Operations (OHO) make an On-the Record (OTR) decision prior to an ALJ Hearing. As well, when OHO feels they can make a fully favorable decision without holding a hearing, they can independently refer a case back to DDS and/or make an (OTR) decision.

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    Article
  • Opening an Encrypted SSA CD-ROM

    The Social Security Administration (SSA) keeps all new disability files in electronic format. Applicants and authorized representatives have the right to obtain relevant application information on a CD-ROM. When you are preparing to appeal a denial of disability benefits, you should request the case file so that you can review key components of the file and decision.

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    Article
  • Appointed Representative Services (ARS)

    Online access to SOAR applicants’ electronic folders or eFolders (EFs) is now available for Appointed Representatives with ALJ hearing and Appeals Council level cases.

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    Article
  • SOAR Collaboration with SSA’s Office of Hearings Operations (OHO)

    This article explains how you can promote SOAR with your Social Security Administration (SSA) Office of Hearings Operations (OHO) office to help ease their backlog and workload issues, while at the same time, improving access to expedited decisions for SOAR applicants.

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    Article
  • ALJ Video Hearings

    The Social Security Administration now offers a video option for Administrative Law Judge appeal hearings.

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    Article
  • Co-Occurring Substance Use: Material to Disability?

    How substance use is considered in the disability determination process has changed substantially over the years. This article dispels several widely-held myths about how DDS views substance use (such as you have to be clean and sober to get benefits), and its impact on the application process.

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    Article