SOAR Intake (first few weeks)

  1. Within first 14 days of receipt of case, reach out to client (or case manager if they have one) to schedule intake interview.
    1. Intake should take 30-60 min, either via zoom or in person.
  2. See HAP’s SOAR Intake Interview Guide for a sense of what to cover.
  3. Prior to/during/immediately following intake, have the client sign (NOT DATE) the following:
    1. HAP Representation Agreement
    2. SSA-1696
    3. SOAR Consent
    4. SSA-827
    5. SSA-8000 signature page
    6. SSA-16 signature page
    7. All pertinent medical treatment releases
  4. Send signed copy of HAP Rep Agreement and Intake Form (top half, no signature needed) to HAP supervisor so we can open the case in our system

Request Treatment Records (ASAP after intake)

  1. Providers have 30 days to release records from the time request is received.
  2. Many have their own release and process for requesting records. Check out our Medical Releases page for those releases and processes we most commonly encounter. (The page is password protected–email Patrick for the password at [email protected])
  3. It’s good practice to follow up with a phone call a week or two after you send the request to confirm it’s received and being processed.

Protect the Filing Date (ASAP after intake)

  1. Email signed SOAR Consent and SSA-1696 to our claims rep Ms. Mikki Xaysena [email protected]. Make sure you CC her supervisor Sierra Mitchell [email protected] and use the subject line: “[Client Initials] Protective Filing Date.”
  2. We do this to preserve a benefit starting date for the client as early as possible. Once a date is preserved, the clock is ticking: you have 60 days to file the claim.

Build the Case (1-2 month mark)

  1. Review incoming treatment records with an eye toward functional limitations. (See Function Letter section for much more on this.)
  2. Be an advocate. If the records that start coming in are not going to get us there, but if you believe in your client’s disability, you can help in a couple ways:
    1. Try talking to treatment providers. Often times they are completing routine medical records without realizing the impact they have, but many providers are willing to help. Try providing them with a Medical Source Statement.
    2. Encourage your clients to be forthcoming to their treatment providers. We can only allege things are as bad as they are documented to be.
  3. Although you have 60 days from the time you preserved the filing date to fully file the claim, if the records start coming in and look supportive, there is no need to wait; your client won’t get paid until the claim is settled, and for all too many of our clients, the income can’t come soon enough.

File the Claim (within 60 days of submitting SOAR Protective Filing)

  1. Complete ISBA and Internet Disability Report (use 19102 as client’s zip code! and save a copy of the receipt at the end!)
  2. Complete SSA-8000 (PDF/fillable form)
  3. Email SOAR Packet to one of our two deisgnated SSA Field Office Representatives:
    1. Claimants with last name A-L go to Ms. Xaysena ([email protected]);
    2. Claimants with last name M-Z go to Ms. Rozier ([email protected]);
    3. But you should always cc their supervisor, Ms. Mitchell ([email protected]) on all correspondance
    4. Also cc the HAP Staff who is supervising the case
    5. Use the subject line: “[Client Initials] SOAR Application.”
    6. Attach your completed SOAR Packet, comprised of the following forms:
      1. SSA-1696
      2. Receipt of Internet Disability Report
      3. SSA-16 signature page (dated same day as receipt)
      4. Completed SSA-8000 with signed signature page (dated same day)
      5. SSA-827 (dated same day and co-signed by advocate)

Complete the Adult Function Report and Write Your Function Letter (1-3 month mark)

There are two important pieces you will want to have on hand and ready to submit along with the medical evidence. Feel free to work on these any time after intake:

  1. Complete the Adult Function Report (SSA-3373). This should be completed with the client, often over the phone. Answers should be in their words in quotation marks, but do provide context either in parentheses or in the comments section at the end.  To the extent possible, the information documented here should point in the same direction as your theory of disability.
  2. Write the Function Letter. This is your chance to put forward your theory of disability in a succinct letter to the adjudicator, usually around 3-5 pages. It should be sourced in interactions AND evidence found in treatment records.
    1. Make sure to review our Function Letter Guidelines here.
    2. And click here for an example. The best Function Letters act as an index for the adjudicator who is about to sort through the oftentimes extensive medical evidence.
  3. If a case manager or other support is involved, they may be able/willing to write a letter of support. In this, they should provide context re: the ways they support the client, any relevant information about their client’s work or housing history, and document any difficulties they have witnessed during their work with them. Here’s an example of a solid letter of support from a case manager. 

Submit Medical Evidence (2-3 month mark)

  1. Once the claim has been processed by the Field Office Representative, a SOAR adjudicator from the Bureau of Disability Determination (BDD) will send a fax cover sheet requesting medical evidence.
  2. Using the cover sheet, submit ALL collected treatment records, including the function letter(s), Adult Function Report (SSA-3373) and any other supporting documentation.
  3. If the SOAR Adjudicator needs additional materials, they will be in contact.
    1. Feel free to reach out to HAP at this point for the finer points of how to proceed with the best chance of success.
  4. Sometimes this is a fairly quick and easy process, and sometimes it gets complicated. If this is the case, don’t panic–we are here for you!

Decision (weeks following submission of records (3-6 month mark))

  1. The BDD will review and decide the claim and pass that decision back to the local field office at 15th and JFK. If the decision is favorable, a representative from that office, likely Ms. Xaysena, will then be in touch with the client  to complete their PERC appointment. If the client can’t be reached, the rep may reach out to you directly for assistance. The PERC is a straightforward conversation to confirm some details and get the client into pay.
    1. There’s a chance SSA will require the client have a payee, someone to manage their finances. That person might be a trusted family member, but if no such support is available, there are agencies available to help fill this need. Ask HAP.
  2. If the decision unfavorable, the client will likely receive a notice in the mail. In this case, reach out to HAP for possible next steps. We may very well have options.
  3. And don’t forget to send us a copy of the Award Letter once you get it! SSI or SSDI benefits can make a huge difference for our clients, very often opening doors to housing options. At this point their lives are significantly changed for the better, and we at HAP are grateful for your (considerable!) efforts.