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  • 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
  • Impact of Increased Income on Housing Voucher Programs

    Increasing income through employment and Social Security disability benefits is critical for maintaining housing stability. However, for individuals utilizing housing vouchers, fear of losing their vouchers often prevents them from exploring employment. To encourage work, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has numerous incentives to protect those returning to work from immediate rent increases and voucher loss.

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    Article
  • Interviewing for the MSR

    One of the most important tasks for you to accomplish is to make the link between diagnosis and functional impairment so that DDS can fully understand the applicant’s disability. This article discusses how to ask questions that elicit the information you will use to write your Medical Summary Report (MSR).

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    Article
  • Sample Medical Summary Reports

    We’ve gathered examples of well-written, successful Medical Summary Reports (MSRs) from SOAR providers across the country for the SOAR community to use as extra guidance.

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    Article
  • The Listings and Mental Illness

    The Listings are SSA’s categorized lists of illnesses and conditions and the specific severity criteria – symptoms, duration, and impairments – of each illness/condition that must be met for a person to be considered disabled by the illness/condition. It is helpful for case managers to become familiar with these requirements.

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    Article
  • Linking Functional Information to Diagnosis and Impairment

    For applicants with mental disorders, DDS examiners look at a person’s ability to function in four primary areas. Your responsibility is to describe the functioning of the individual in as much detail as possible and to document how the person’s illness impairs his or her ability to function and maintain employment at a substantial gainful level.

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    Article
  • Sample Functional Descriptions

    This article provides example descriptions for the areas of mental functioning. The “effective” functional descriptions clearly link the symptoms of the applicant’s illness with their limitations.

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    Article