SOAR Webinar: Getting Started Completing SOAR-assisted SSI/SSDI Applications

– [Pam] Hello everyone
and welcome to the fourth webinar, in our fiscal
year 2019 webinar series titled Getting Started
Completing SOAR-assisted SSI/SSDI applications. My name is Pam Heine,
Senior Project Associate with the SOAR TA Center, and I will be your moderator today. Before we begin, just a few
housekeeping items to start. As a disclaimer, this
training is supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services. The contents of this
presentation do not necessarily reflect the views or
policies of SAMHSA or DHHS. The training should not
be considered substitutes for individualized care
and treatment decisions. Just a few webinar instructions. As a reminder, your lines will be muted throughout this entire webinar. This webinar is being recorded and will be available for
download on the SOAR website in about a week. You may now download
the presentation slides a few ways and other materials now, by going to the top left of your screen and clicking file, save, then document. Or visit the SOAR website
at, click webinars on the left sidebar and choose today’s topic. At the conclusion of the webinar you will immediately
see a brief evaluation, which we kindly ask you to complete. And finally we will save
all questions and comments until the end of the presentation, at which time we’ll review instructions for posing questions to
panelist via the Q&A function. To go over the purpose
and objectives today, we hope that by the end of this webinar, you’ll learn how to access
and utilize SAMSHA SOAR tools, and worksheets, that can really help you in your SSI/SSDI application process. And also learn why it’s
important to create and implement an agreed-upon SOAR process between your SSA and DDS offices. We also want to show you
how to apply best practices, which will be shared by the SOAR TA Center and SOAR providers on getting started with completing successful SOAR assisted SSI/SSDI applications. To review our agenda, you’ll first hear from
Wayne Young and Kim Fiora, who are Local Leads in Nevada,
with Wellcare Services. Next you’ll hear from Suzanne Straub, who is a SOAR Coordinator
and SOAR Local Lead at Community Services Northwest
in Vancouver, Washington. And to round things up,
you’ll hear from Katie Lundy, who is a SOAR Benefit Specialist
in Abington, Pennsylvania to talk about how she got
started doing SOAR applications and then we will have
plenty of time for Q&A. Providing today’s welcome
we have Mark Jacobsen, Public Health Analyst with SAMSHA. Mark? – [Mark] Thank you, Pam. A warm welcome to all
of you joining us today. On behalf of SAMSHA and the
Homeless Programs branch of the Center for Mental Health Services, I would like to welcome
you to the SOAR webinar called Getting Started
Completing SOAR-assisted SSI/SSDI Applications. SOAR help states and
communities increase access to Social Security disability
benefits for eligible adults and now children and youth, who are experiencing or
at risk of homelessness and have a serious mental illness, medical impairment and/or co-occurring substance use disorder. Today’s webinar will focus on the steps to follow with completing
SSI and SSDI applications using the SOAR model, after
you successfully completed training to the SOAR online course. This webinar will give you
many practical and proven ideas to help you get started on completing successful SOAR assisted
SSI/SSDI applications. I would also like to
welcome our presenters and thank them for their willingness to share your expertise with us. I’ll turn this back over to Pam, who’s going to be moderating
our webinar today, thanks. – [Pam] Thank you so much, Mark. To give you an idea of what
the SOAR leadership structure looks like and who will
be your presenters today, this slide will really let you know about how SOAR is structured in your state and national level and also
at the local level too. So beginning on the far left-hand side, you have the SOAR TA
Center, where I am from. And here at the SOAR TA Center, we help states plan and
facilitate their SOAR initiative. We also conduct Leadership Academies, where state and Local Leads
learn how to implement SOAR in their communities. Like today we moderate webinars and we do a variety of
learning communities, and we develop a lot of resources that will really help you
get to where you need to go in filing SOAR applications. We administer the SOARWorks website and also the SOAR Online Course, and also OAT, our Online
Application Tracking system. So caseworkers can track their cases. Also states have state leads and may again provide the coordination
at the state level. They direct SOAR program statewide, and also they serve as
liaisons to their localities and they also maintain
relationships with SSA and DDS and for the most part, SOAR state leads are the coordinating entity
to submit SOAR outcomes to the National TA Center too. Next we have Local Leads, and today you’re going to
hear from three Local Leads and again they facilitate
SOAR in their localities, their cities or counties. They direct the local implementation
plans of their programs and also facilitate SOAR Online Cohorts, which again is the first
step in becoming SOAR trained and also providing follow-up
technical assistance to case managers as needed, and they’re really the
folks that really ensure that quality applications are submitted to their SSA offices too. And lastly but not least,
we have SOAR case managers, who are really the heroes in this process, because they’re the
ones who are completing the high-quality SSI and SSDI applications using the techniques
shared in the SOAR model, and they communicate a
lot with their local SSA and their state DDS representatives too. And they are asked to track
their outcomes as well, and you’ll be hearing from Katie, who will provide the perspective
of the SOAR practitioner. So without further ado, we’re
going to hand the mic over to Wayne Young and Kim
Fiore, from Las Vegas, Nevada who will share their tips on
how they help sort trainees in their communities get started on completing successful applications. Wayne? – [Wayne] Thank you, Pam. Good afternoon everyone. It’s a pleasure to be
here presenting today. I hope everyone’s in
great health and spirits. Please excuse my voice. I’m a little bit under the weather. As mentioned Kim and
I are SOAR Local Leads for Southern Nevada and it’s made possible through Wellcare Services
where we both work. To give you a little
background, Wellcare Services provides a unique one-stop-shop model of wraparound services,
where consumers are able to obtain medical, psychiatric care, therapy, case management,
basic skills training, psychosocial rehabilitation,
housing, transportation, and comprehensive assistance
with Social Security disability claims using the SOAR model, where we fall in. Wellcare Services currently
houses three SOAR Local Leads in Nevada, which include Kim
and I down here in the south and Jason Thompson in the north. Wellcare also employs staff
solely dedicated to SOAR in the state of Nevada,
which I can attest to being the success of our program. I strongly encourage any
of you practicing SOAR to advocate within your own agencies for the ability to dedicate
yourself to the SOAR program, without having other responsibilities. Prior to my joining Wellcare, the individual carrying
out the SOAR program were case managers that
also had a caseload in addition to monitoring and
utilizing the SOAR program. Looking back, it’s very easy
to see that the barriers that came with that had a negative impact on the success of the program. So again I just encourage any of you who are practicing SOAR,
if you have the ability to definitely speak
within your own agencies to become a SOAR-dedicated staff member. It makes the SOAR program a lot more successful for you as well. So, in the state of Nevada
the Affordable Care Act has impacted us with
the Medicaid expansion. Because of this, Wellcare
was able to establish our unique one-stop-shop model, becoming providers to one of
the managed care organizations. Through this relationship,
we recognized the opportunity to gather critical
information that’s difficult to obtain through interviews
with our population. I’m talking about medical providers. We found that it was possible to obtain a claims history, which
gave us the ability to obtain confirmed information
of clinics, hospitals, providers that they
used rather than relying on the actual claimant to
provide the information. As most of you know, the
population doesn’t always remember or are aware, just a lot of different barriers for different reasons on being able to communicate what places that they’ve been. So, getting a claims history
through the insurance was not only just a blessing, but it’s a time, it was just, it lowered the amount of hours that we would be able to utilize on the SOAR process. So, lost my train of thought here. Additionally, beginning the claims history from the insurance company
we’re able to confirm the contact information,
to request the records, get the dates of service
that was actually used, which helps with the
application process as well when you’re actually
doing the application, and the reason for which they were seen. The concept of getting records
from the insurance company also to get the claims history helped us here in Nevada try to realize and realize that there were
other networks available, not just because we happen to be providers for the insurance company. Here in Southern Nevada hospitality is a major source of employment. A lot of people before
becoming homeless and stuff that had worked, and we realized that a lot of our industry was
through the hospitality and we have a major network called the Culinary Insurance here,
which a lot of people utilized. Through that we were able to
establish another relationship through that insurance company to try to get claims history that way, and again it just makes
it a lot easier to try to get the information,
because it’s actual proven information that they’ve been to, rather than trying to
extract the information from the claimant, which a lot
of times they don’t remember or things get messed up. They don’t know what
year they went etcetera. So, about our additional
roles as Local Leads, Kim and I have established relationships with more than just a DDS and the Social Security Administration. We’ve become resources for workers with the county and the state. Many of the workers at
the state have caseloads and like what I was talking about earlier have the inability to dedicate majority of their time to the SOAR process. So they’ll write a
condensed version of an MSR to help support the claims. Kim has provided trainings in this area with the state workers. The state workers have come to know us and they’ll send us
their condensed versions of their MSRs for us to
edit and help look at and kind of give out some pointers. So definitely we have also
helped with the county and the state on that sense. Additionally, I’ve
established a partnership with a representative payee. I know most of you have
completed your training and may or may not be practicing just yet but one of the things
that I came across was once you did this whole
process and you find it works and then you got them their allowance, it kind of doesn’t end there. They still need to get put in pay status depending on your state or how Social Security
Administration works in your state, how long it can take from
actually getting improved. There’s an effectuation process possibly, and then the actual getting
put into pay status. Well during that time, there can be a transitional period that can be a little rough, and so a representative payee can really help transition that. So, we’ve established a partnership with a representative payee here that’s recognized by the
Social Security Administration. So it’s not a private payee. It’s an organizational
representative payee and they assist the individuals
beyond the SOAR process. They are really imperative
on the transition. The representative payee helps
with the effectuation process also called PERC, ensures
a smooth transition from the time that they’re awarded, to the time that they
actually get into pay status. Our department because
of that has recognized more need and we’ve since added programs to ensure that additional benefits like their SNAP benefits are continued to the maximum amount possible, to transition them into Medicare, to make sure that their
Medicare is where it needs to be and with all the
necessary subsidy programs if they are eligible for them. So, we’ve definitely established a process with Social Security and DDS here. We have had to go to the
Social Security Administration, do in person applications kind of as a way to introduce ourselves. So, for those of you who
don’t already have a process set up in your areas, I highly recommend starting out, taking one of your clients down to the Social Security Administration kind of introducing yourself
to whoever you can there and start establishing
those relationships. Hopefully you have a state liaison that can help with this as well, but if not this is where
you would be very effective in establishing that relationship. I know every state I don’t want
to really get into too much because I know every state
may be a little bit different as far as the DDS process,
and when it goes to DDS. The way that we’ve set
up our processes here, involve our case managers
and our case managers do the initial screening. We’ve set them up with
tools that we’ve used and taken from the TA Center. So it’s been an immense help. They use those tools. We kind of guide our case managers on what we’re looking for
and utilizing those tools, the case managers screen the individuals and then they fill out a referral if the person seems like they
would be a quality claim, that’s when they fill out
the final referral paperwork and send it to Kim and I. Kim and a couple of
our other staff members will start to prepare paperwork, which Kim will talk about. We utilize the claims history that I spoke about earlier and why
we get a claims history. Again Kim will talk about that as well. We set the protective filing date and within 45 days of setting
that protective filing date is when we set up our
appointment with the applicant to complete the title
two or SSDI application. We also complete the paper
portion of the SSI application which is called the 8000, and we will hand that in in-person but we meet with the
claimant 45 days after establishing that protective filing date, so that when we complete the 8000, we can get it into the Social
Security Administration within the 60 days of filing
that protective filing date, so that your protective
filing date is not expired. Hopefully I didn’t ramble too much and you kind of caught that. If we need to, we will meet
with the claimant a second time around, if we’re still not 100% positive that the claim is going
to be a quality claim, but if that doesn’t happen we complete the online application. We notify our contact
over at Social Securities telling them that we just
completed the online application and set an appointment to
come in and bring in the 8000 any other paperwork to
1696, the 827, the 3288, and now Social Security
has implemented a new ID verification process, which
a lot of our population are unable to do over the internet. So we have established
also just bringing them in into the Social Security Administration, which I think I’m stepping
on Kim’s toes a little bit that she’ll go over that as well. So on that note, I’m going to turn the presentation over to Kim. – [Kim] Thank You Wayne. Hello everybody, I’m glad to be here. Thank you for having me present. I’m jumping back off
of the topic of how to, the process we go through just real quick to discuss the organization of the files that you create when you
do a SOAR application. I’m just gonna share with
you all the way we organize our files here in Nevada at WellCare. Basically if you imagine
a file folder opened up, you have a left side
and right side usually there’s prongs that you can
hole punch and put paperwork in. On the left side, bottom left side bottom, we put the referral forms
or the assessment forms any intake forms and once you
set a protective filing date you get a reentry number
that you should print out and have because if you
lose that reentry number, you won’t be able to get back
into complete the application. So it’s really important to save that. So we put that in that
portion of the file as well. So everything on the initial
processing of an applicant we put on that bottom left side, we create a section. We have dividers. So in the middle section on that left side we put there copies of their ID, their social security card
and any other identifying documents they may have. It could be their insurance card. It could be their food stamp card, whatever copies we can get,
we put in that section. But most importantly is
to have copy of their ID, have a copy of their Social Security Card if they have it available. The other thing we put
in that middle section is once we do the application
with the client, we put in their SSDI
confirmation information. So we print out the summary, we print out the confirmation number that it was submitted. We put that in the middle section along with a copy of their 8000 and their copy of their 16. We put those in that middle section. Then on the top part of that, our Nevada DDS has created
a SOAR referral form that they’d like us to send to them. So that form contains the client’s name, Social security Number, date of birth, important information
that they need to know. We send that DDS also wants us to send it with the copy of the
1696, AA27 and the 3288. We put that together
and we send that to DDS, so that that’s how they flag the claims they get in as SOAR claims. So, we put that on the top left side. If your DDS doesn’t have
a referral form like that, you can use the SOAR
checklist that you can find in the documents in the SOAR website, but the SOAR checklist the
only thing missing from it that I would suggest you
might want to hand write on it if you use that form,
would be the client’s date of birth and the reason
why we want that to be on the top-left side is so
that when you open the folder immediately at a glance, you can have access easily
to the client’s name, date of birth and Social Security Number, so you don’t have to dig
through to find a form with each bit of data. You can have it there at a
glance on that left side. On the right side of the folder, on the bottom part of the
right side in that section, we put the DDS documents. So that would be the 3373,
the adult function report, the 3369 which is the work history report, any other documents that DDS requires, such as the headache
form, the seizure form, drug and alcohol questionnaire,
whatever applies. That’s also the section
where we put a copy of our assigned MSR in that section. The middle section we
put our medical ROIs, requests of information sheet with the fax confirmation
sheet that it was sent. So when we go to send medical records, which I’ll touch on
here in a couple slides we fax those medical
records to the providers. we get the fax confirmation sheet. We attach it to the original ROI and we put it in the file. We put it in the middle section because it makes it easy to access and sometimes you’ll
find that maybe your fax didn’t go through or maybe it did and the provider lost the file when you check up to see
where the medical records are. So, oftentimes they ask you to resend it and it’s easy if it’s in
that section to just grab and use again to resend
for another request for medical records. Finally on that right side top section we put any SSA correspondence. That could be letters of
approval or letters of denial any kind of notices they send, those generally go on that top right side. So once you get a decision, once we get a decision that’s where we put those notices on that site. So they’re easy to refer to. The only other thing different that we do is on the left side, going
back to the left side, once the claim is done, let’s say you’ve got an approval once that claim is done
and if your organization or your agency is working
with a representative payee as Wayne mentioned,
then the payee paperwork we put on that top left side. So that it’s easy to
access and easy to see once the claim is done. So, Wayne touched on this earlier. We have case managers that
screen each potential applicant for the SOAR process. Sometimes it’s unclear
when you’re interviewing that person whether or not they
have a pending claim already or not or whether they’ve applied
before in the past or not. Especially people with mental
behavioral health issues, they tend to have very poor memories. Oh, is the slide? – [Pam] Kim we are uploading
a different slide deck. We’ll get to where you
were in just one second. – [Kim] Okay thank you. – [Pam] Thanks. – [Kim] Okay. – [Pam] Here you go. – [Kim] Okay so, thank you. So, in order to check
you do, you would want to get a sign 3288 from the client and you can submit that
to your local SSA office, and they can tell you if the person is currently pending a claim or not, if they’ve filed before or not. That’s information that
you would need to know, because if they’re already
have a claim pending it’s helpful to know if they already have legal assistance on the claim or not. It’s helpful to know what
stage their claim is at, whether they’re on an initial claim or at reconsideration or even possibly at the law judge stage. So that’s helpful information to get. All right, so setting the
protective filing date, social security now
requires that you set up a my SSA account for the person in order to do the disability application online. With almost everyone in our population that’s presented a barrier. Many of the people we work with here have mental behavioral health issues. So they’re unable to remember
or even if they don’t, they’re unable to remember
many of the questions that are required to
set up a my SSA account. They have to remember the address that Social Security has on file for them. There’s a lot of different questions that are very particular to their past, where they’ve lived, what
financial institutions they’ve done business with. It’s just really difficult to get a my SSA account established for almost everybody that you assist. So there is a workaround in doing it. So what you want to do is when you’re setting up your
protective filing date, you want to click on
start a new application, answer some of the
preliminary identifications. Okay if the applicant is, wait, this isn’t quite accurate. Well the new workaround is actually you don’t want to click it
as I am applying for myself, because that’s kind of an older slide. The actual thing is you want
to apply as a third party. You want to say that you’re
applying for somebody and they’re not with you and that they’re unable to sign. So once you do that and
you don’t necessarily have to have the applicant
with you to do that. You can create, do it third party. It’ll take you through
the rest of the questions you answer the rest of the question, so you’ll have to have
that data ahead of time if the applicant is not with you, and then you’re going to at the end when it gives you the re-entry
number, you want to stop. Don’t go any further unless
the client is with you and you’re ready to submit
the entire application, stop at the re-entry number, print it out so that you
have a record of what it is so you can go back in when you’re ready and then save that number. Yeah go ahead. – [Wayne] If I can just
jump in and clarify something really quick. This is what I was and I apologize. This is Wayne Young again. I had spoken earlier setting the protective filing date and
then meeting with the client within 45 days to complete
the rest of the application. This is where this comes in. The reason why we’re setting
the protective filing date is so that we can go ahead
and start on the claim, to get them the maximum
amount of benefit as possible. However, we do need to
make sure that we are able to see them within the 45
days to complete the rest of the application and
complete the paper portion of the SSI application,
because we only have 60 days from this point to turn
that SSI application into Social Security. So we do that in addition to taking the claimant to the Social
Security Administration in order to do the ID verification. And the reason why we do
it this way is because that setting up account has been an incredible barrier, where the person is unable
to identify themselves using those preliminary
identification questions. So we do the protective filing date set up under third party with
them not being with us or even if they were with us, we still have to supply a wet signature and even after we do that, our Social Security
Administration here in Nevada has asked us for face to face contact, so that they can do an
identification confirmation. So this is why we do it this way here. – [Kim] Yeah and so at this slide I guess I got ahead of myself. This slide is talking about that process of setting it third party, but either way whether you
are able to set a my SSA account to set the protective
filing date or not, either way you do want to
stop at the re-entry number again unless you’re ready to proceed and complete the entire application. Okay and that’s just emphasizing that. All right collecting medical records. As we stated earlier, we have the ability to get the claims history
from the insurance company. So, we oftentimes are able to get a list of the providers that
have seen the client. So, when we set the
protective filing date, we set an appointment
to meet with the client to get all the paperwork set. In that time period between
setting the protective filing date and actually
meeting with the client, we prepare all the needed paperwork. We prepare the 1696s, the 827s, the 3288s. Then we prepare the medical requests of information, the ROIs. We also print out copies
of the signature pages of the 8000 and the SSA 16 as well. We’ll do the 3358 SSDI application only if we are not able
to set anything online. So, we get the paperwork
prepared for everybody and then when the client
comes to the appointment, we discuss the disability. We explain the disability
process with them and we explain each
form and have them sign. We get multiple copies of each and I would stress that you do this, get multiple copies of each document. Sometimes Social Security
misplaces documents. Sometimes they get lost, if you’re mailing they’ll get lost in the mail or if you’re faxing they don’t go through. So it’s always a good idea
to have multiple copies. For our processes, we make
all four copies of the 1696. We do about four or
five copies of the 827, and we do at least three
copies of the 3288. The medical ROIs we just do the one copy, because we don’t actually
mail out the ROIs, we’ll fax them. So, we always have the original with us. So, when we meet with them,
we get everything signed. At that same meeting as Wayne said, we go ahead and complete
the online application and we also complete
the 8000 and the SSA16 which our local Social
Security office has asked for. So we make sure we get
all those completed. The medical records requests
are sent out right away. So immediately upon getting them signed that same day or the next day, we send the medical
records out immediately. That’s to give us as much time as possible to get the medical records
in to our office as possible. So that’s kind of the
timeframe of when we send out for the medical records. One of the things that
Wayne will talk about here in a little bit is about
the building relationships with medical records departments and having a list of those providers handy in order to make it easier to know where to send those medical requests to. – [Wayne] If I may interject
one thing here as well. So that everybody doesn’t get confused at how we’re able to
complete the online portion of the disability application. Complete the SSI application, complete all the paperwork that needs to be completed in this one
meeting with the claimant. Well this is where I talked
about where it’s very advantageous to your staff members or you have multiple people
utilizing the SOAR process and dedicated to the SOAR program. Kim and I meet with the
claimant at the same time during this meeting. While she’s completing
the 8000 application I’m completing the online
portion of the application. Some of the information is duplicated so it’s very easy to get
the information at one time. When you are one case
manager working on the claim, you will find that you might
have to do multiple meetings with the person in order to
get all this information. We try to do it all at one time. It’s about a two to three
hour meeting with the claimant just to get this portion done, but what we’ve realized
and recognized is that by doing it this way, we
eliminate hours on their end even though it’s a
little bit harder on us, but it works because sometimes
our population disappears and we only get one chance with them. We won’t have the ability to find them when we need them. So while we have them this is how we constructed our process as far as getting all the information and getting all the
signatures that we needed all at one time, and that’s
also why Kim was talking about getting multiple
signatures because in case they need a wet signature
and it gets lost, we’re being proactive in
having another signature already there, so we’re not
having to chase them down and finding where they’re
living at the moment in order to just get that signature. – [Kim] Yeah so, I was
going to just mention real briefly our process on that meeting. We do meet with them together as a team. While Wayne does the online application, I do the 8000, but I also do the 16. You’ll notice that in the 16, there’s questions about work history. I also at that time take advantage of having the client there. I’ll do the 3369 that
DDS requires at that time to get their work history information. So that is helpful for Wayne because on the online application, there is a portion where he needs information about work history. So I’ll have that handy because
I would have already done it with the client and get the
information for the 3369. I also, if there’s time available, because the online application generally once you get used to the 8000, it doesn’t take as long. The 16 is also a relatively short form. So at that time, I will get
the interview of the client, and complete the 3373,
which is the other DDS common form that is required,
the adult function history. And at that time a lot of the questions will provide you with information, really good information for your MSR because it’s all about functionality and the person’s functional abilities, and you get a chance
to talk with the client and get to know them better while you’re doing the 73. I know that many SOAR practitioners just gives the client the 69 and 73 to complete on their own. And figure well I don’t
have time to complete it, but you’d be amazed at
how much time you save if you go ahead and just have
those as a fillable form, if you’re good at typing just
typing in the client’s answers you can also guide them and explain some of the questions, because clients on their own
sometimes have difficulty understanding what DDS is
asking them in the documents. So by helping them complete the forms, you’re not only getting a
good indication of their work history, but you’re getting a good feel for that individual,
their ability or inability to function which in the
long run will help you when you’re crafting your MSRs. So, I personally recommend doing it because it not only guarantees
that DDS gets those documents that are needed to make the decision but it also will I think
help you as a case manager in the long run if you do those documents. Speaking of the MSR, the MSR is of course the key thing that we do under SOAR. And so again if you’re going
to interview the client anyway to find out more about
their ability or inability to function, you’re
going to be asking them a lot of the questions
that are on that 3373. So it might serve you to go
ahead and help them complete it. You’re going to put in the
information as they state what their problems and barriers are and you can use that
information as well in that MSR. So I do kind of a mini MSR interview when we’re meeting with the
client to do their application. I will turn it over to Wayne to talk about the provider list. – [Wayne] So, one of the things
that we’ve also developed here to help out our practitioners
here in Southern Nevada is we have a small network
of hospitals, common clinics that people use, especially
prior to the Affordable Care Act when there wasn’t insurance available, they would automatically
hit up certain hospitals, because they would be able to be seen without insurance. So we’ve put together a
list of common providers, hospitals, stuff that’s not so specific to the insurance company that we use, because obviously other
practitioners may not have the ability or the
people that they’re serving may not be utilizing the same providers. So, we just came up with a list of common, which was still quite a lot. It was maybe 35-40 providers still even without utilizing
the specific providers through the insurance. So this would include the
hospitals, detention centers, jail and what we learned
even with the jail system is whether city, county, state. There were different fax
numbers to send it to, there was different
people, medical records department to send it to. So, through just doing
it we’ve kind of kept a good running list of people to contact, how they want it done, so that we can get our medical records expedited. We happen to be in a
clinic, so we’re able to get our records a little bit quicker. For those practitioners
who are case managers, for agencies that are not in a clinic, who are unable to request those records as a continuity of care, but rather as for a disability claim, there
can be different processes. A couple of our hospitals
here don’t recognize or don’t allow requests for
medical records through fax, unless they are another clinic. So if they are requesting
those records specifically for disability claim, they must mail it in and those are one of the reasons again why you want to have multiple copies of certain forms, because
if you have to mail the wet signature for each medical record with a hospital or a clinic, you obviously need another
copy of the original. Some of the jails here require a notary in addition to all the
signatures that are needed. So, we provided a list of
all and any kind of barrier that you might possibly encounter while you’re requesting medical records, and this is something
that I would encourage if any of you are going to be Local Leads to start that process to help your practitioners in your area. When we submit the SOAR application, again we go to the Social
Security Administration to do the ID verification. We drop off everything that’s needed. They end up do, the way
that it works here is the Social Security Administration does the non-medical portion of the claim making sure that they’re
eligible for benefits whether they’re citizen, married. If they’ve been married
if they’ve applied before, if there’s an ALJ decision on the claim that’s been resent. Once they confirm all that,
they’ll send it up to DDS in which Kim will have flagged
DDS to expect the claim and then we will have direct communication with the DDS examiner
who is usually dedicated to SOAR as well. So, the following slide
shows all of the documents that are of course are needed in order to complete the SOAR package. We definitely use utilize these lists and definitely have the
form through the TA Center. One of the things also
that I forgot about, when you’re requesting
medical records sometimes if you’re not, again
if you’re not a clinic and don’t have the
ability to request records as a continuity of care,
sometimes some of the hospitals and clinics will charge you
for those medical records. In Nevada, we have a statute that says that they’re unable to charge
for those medical records if you’re helping someone
apply for disability. Specifically SSI. So, I would encourage you to
reach out to the TA Center to see if your individual state
has those statutes as well. That concludes my portion. – [Pam] Thank you so much and thanks for sharing your teamwork in completing an application, and we’ll take some questions at the end on initiating the application online and the my SSA account and
we’ll share some thoughts on that as well. So next up we have Suzanne
Straub from Washington who is going to share
some tips on how she helps her trainees get started
on completing applications. Suzanne? – [Suzanne] Thank you Pam. Good afternoon everybody. I’m Suzanne Straub and I
work at Community Services Northwest as the SOAR Coordinator. Community Services Northwest
is a mental health agency but we also provide chemical dependency, housing, case management outreach and then of course we
have our SOAR program. Just to give you a
little bit of background about how our program got started. So, I live in Vancouver, Washington. We refer to our program
as Clark County SOAR. So a little bit of history
on our SOAR program is that when I was hired back in 2011, I was actually hired
as a PATH Case Manager. And for those of you that
don’t know what PATH is, it is Projects for
Assistance in Transition from Homelessness. And part of the requirement
for the PATH program is that PATH caseworkers are SOAR trained. So, I attended in person two day training a couple months after I started. And the following Monday
after the training I completed three
applications with individuals that I’d already been working
with, just case management and access to other benefits and such. In the first year that I
was a PATH Case Manager and SOAR trained, I was able to assist 26 individuals through the SOAR model and help those individuals
obtain nearly 17,000 dollars in back payments. And at the time the
amount for SSI was $698, so that was their average monthly income that they started receiving. In 2012, Clark County put out
a request for application. Our county provides a lot of funding for our homeless programs, and so they saw what I was doing and thought that there was a need for some expansion on that. And my agency applied for community funds, and those community funds are available through document recording fees that homeowners pay when
they are paying taxes and that kind of thing. The funds were to be allocated
in innovative programs that would affect homeless population and obviously that’s what SOAR focuses. So we applied for the funds
and we were awarded the funds and that was able to fund a full time SOAR coordinator position and so that’s where we got started, where I got started focusing on SOAR. So some of the strengths
that we recognized were, there was an increase in income
which led to stable housing. We relieved local and state programs from supporting individuals. We have a couple of programs
here in our community that provide housing assistance as well as just basic assistance
on a monthly basis, and so when any individual
receives those funds they are required to
actually pay those funds back if they are awarded Social Security. So that’s taking that
burden off of our community and our state, but the folks
that actually get awarded Social Security and also it provides a significant step in
everybody’s recovery. And currently our program
has been funded continuously actually since 2012. 2013, we reapplied for the funds. So we were funded for a year. We reapplied and we’ve
been funded continuously since 2013 without having to reapply. So that’s been really nice
for us to know that we can continue going forward. A couple of the things
that my position has done in our community is just increase the community partnerships. We had a really great
collaboration with our local jail. We also have an amazing relationship with our local hospitals. We have two hospitals here in Vancouver and one of them is a very
huge source of referrals for our program, because
we do have an inpatient mental health unit there and the social worker there often will call me and we’ll
brainstorm on an individual and then if she feels like
they’re a good candidate for SOAR, then she will
send me a referral. And then what she will also do is send me their medical
records with the referral, so that I already have them. So I don’t have to request them. And then we also have a
really great relationship with our local Social Security office as well as our disability
determination services. I had a contact for each office and anytime I had a question
or need to problem solve something or ask a question about changes that have been made to
forms or the online process or just anything that I need, I know that I can count
on these two individuals to help me out. One thing that I did for our community that has been huge for
the folks that I train is I created SOAR packets. So those packets are
packets one through four and I will show you in a of couple slides just kind of what that looks like, but the packets are
basically broken down into packet one is everything that you need to do online with your client. Packet two is everything
that you either need to drop off at Social Security or send in the mail. Packet three refers to everything related to working with
the disability office and the adjudicator and then
packet four is just samples of letters that you might need to send to Social
Security or a master list of our local phone lists. So we also have a list of
addresses, phone numbers and fax numbers so that when we’re filling out the disability report online, we can just refer to that and not have to click over to Google. I also designed a hybrid SOAR training. So, I take the online SOAR training provided by the SOAR TA Center but I have made it a hybrid version and condensed it a little bit, so that the folks that
are in our community are learning how to
actually do the SOAR process off of the packets that we’ve created, so that they are working the SOAR model the way that our local
Social Security office would appreciate us doing so. We start with a my
Social Security account, and we do the SSDI application online and then we move into the packet two, which is filling out the SSI application, the representative forms that function in the work history report
and then any other forms that we need to have signed
that we were able to do online because maybe the person wasn’t there or we just didn’t get it finished in time. And then every month I also distribute a monthly newsletter
and that mostly goes out into the community. There are a couple
people on my mailing list that are across the states, but mostly within the community. And then I also maintain
our Clark County SOAR page and I’ll show you what that
looks like in a second. And then after our hybrid SOAR trainings, the folks that attend my trainings are asked to attend our bimonthly SOAR Collaboration Meetings. So, we get together every other month. We always have a topic or
sometimes we’ll have a guest. The last meeting we had,
we had our representative from our Social Security office and he came in and did a Q&A with us and that was really helpful
for a lot of our new advocates. Then this is just an example of what the monthly newsletter looks like. I always like to include in any updates that Social Security puts out. So, if there’s going to
be a benefit increase I like everybody to know that. If I had a collaboration
meeting that month, then I will overview that
collaboration meeting so that anybody that wasn’t able to attend is able to see kind of
what we talked about. I always like to recognize
anybody in the community that’s involved with SOAR,
whether it be Social Security, disability or justice or
advocates and sometimes the TA Center gets recognized. I like to recognize people that
are doing a really great job because I think that
it’s important for people to acknowledge that other people are doing a good job as well. And then I also like to keep a
running total of our numbers. That way everybody in
the community can see where we’re at as a
community and what we’ve done to help people and one of
the key parts to that is a running total of the
retroactive payments that our clients have received, and you can’t see it very
well on that picture, but I believe if off the top of my head we’re at almost $340,000
in back payments received since 2012 I believe. And then on the newsletter, I also like to make sure
that everybody is aware of upcoming trainings
the dates and the times, location of the training and our collaboration meetings as well. And then I also just like to
include a mental health quote just to throw in a little extra something. This is just a view of our
Clark County SOAR website. So you can actually find this website through Community Services
Northwest website. So if you go to, it will bring you right to this page. If you’re somebody in the community and you’re looking for other services you would just go up to the services tab and drop down and it will
show you all the services that we provide at Community
Services Northwest. So the way that we have this set up is this is for the folks
that have been trained, so when I do my training
they all are aware that if they need
anything that this is how they can get it. So if you were to click on packet one then it would drop down and it would have either a PDF or a Word versions of all the forms that you
need a complete packet one, so the SSDI application, the
authorization to disclose information, the disability report. And then also a document that spells out that first process step by step, so they have an idea exactly
what they need to do. It’s almost like a refresher for them. And then the same thing with
packet two, three, and four that’s just where they can
go to access all the forms that they could possibly
need for this entire process. So, basically just the
website was designed to allow easy access to our
packets for our advocates, so that they don’t have
any trouble with it. I always encouraged folks to
just pre make their packets, so use this website to save all the forms and then make their packets ahead of time, so that they have them,
they can just grab and go. Our collaboration meetings, we have been doing our
collaboration meetings from the very beginning
and our meetings are really an opportunity for the SOAR
advocates in our community to get together, to learn a little bit about what’s new, anything
new that’s changed with Social Security. So like when the My Social
Security thing came about, we did a topic about that. We walked through how
you create that account with your clients and some problems that we’d been running into and we will talk about our successes, and some of our frustrations and that’s also my opportunity
to learn what people might be struggling with, maybe with the paperwork
itself or just the fact that oh I had a really hard time getting hold of somebody at Social Security, and we just kind of problem solve that and then what I do is
I take those questions or concerns to my contact
at Social Security or if it happens to be a disability, determination question,
then I will take it to my contact there. One very helpful thing
that we have is that our local SSI facilitator
from our Department of Social and Health Services attends our meetings,
and so what he does is he helps through DSHS, he helps folks that come in applying for general assistance. He will help them apply for disability. And it’s actually a requirement for them like I said before, so if
they receive those funds which in our community it’s
$197 a month cash assistance, so once they start receiving those funds they’re required to apply for disability to keep those funds and
then if they get awarded Social Security they have to pay back that entire amount that they received with any back payment that
they get from Social Security and then what Social
Security will do is actually pay DSHS back before they
give anything to the client. So, the client really
never sees that money and doesn’t have to worry
about writing a check or making a payment to DSHS. And then again our collaboration meetings are just an opportunity for our advocates to ask questions, problem-solve
and share their successes. I don’t think that’s my slide. – [Pam] Thank you so much Suzanne. We really appreciate you
sharing your leadership and some of the tools that you created. We’ll talk more about them in the Q&A. Thanks again. Now I’m going to pass it along to Katie. SOAR practitioner from
Abington, Pennsylvania who’s going to share some
tips on how she got started. Katie? – [Katie] Hi, hi everyone. Sorry. So, first I’m with the
Visiting Nurse Association. So, we’re a non-profit
community organization. Our agency consists of home health aides. We have a children’s clinic and we also have a
personal navigator program, which encompasses our personal navigators who help clients connected
to public benefits like food stamps, cash
assistance, and medical insurance. And then I have been
fortunate to be lumped under that program as
well with our SOAR program that we now have at our agency. So, when we first got started, we were approached from a
local housing organization in our community who works with a lot of different
housing resource centers. They wanted to see if
SOAR was a possibility. So, we started that
relationship kind of approached from another organization
in our community. And then we wanted to figure out what kind of relationships
we wanted to build with community partners
to accept referrals. So, we reached out to those
housing resource centers. We specifically started with
them when we first started, and since we’ve grown over the years, we now accept referrals from
a lot of different places. So we get referrals from
mental health providers, local hospitals, veterans offices, just a really wide range of
different community partners at this point in time. So, I think it’s important
to kind of figure out in the beginning who you
want to accept referrals from and then I think you
want to work to develop an appropriate referral process. So for example we have a referral form and I apologize I guess I
don’t have a handout for that, but in our referral form we try and keep it as simple as possible. So that the referral providers
don’t feel really overwhelmed with what kind of information
we’re looking for. So we just kind of work with
getting some demographics about the client, listing any
barriers that they may have. For example we’ll talk a
little bit more about the MSR but maybe different things
that are limitations regarding their mental health status. So, just kind of like little check boxes that people can you know
kind of basically screen as they’re doing their referral process to see if they’re an appropriate referral for the SOAR program. When we first started in
our community as well, we set up a meeting with
our local field office and we specifically met
with the district manager as well as the assistant district manager. We were really fortunate
because our district manager had been familiar with
SOAR from a previous office he was at, so in that
regard he was really excited when we approached the possibility of collaborating together so
that we could work together in this relationship. Okay, I’m so sorry. So as far as like tips and tricks go, one thing you want to work on
is find out what works for you and your local field office. So, while we follow
the guidelines that are with the SOAR model, we have
to adapt to what our local office wants in order
to make the SOAR process as streamlined as possible, which I know was touched on by some of the previous speakers as well. I know our local office has specific forms they want us to use in
addition to the ones that SOAR wants us to use as well. I also think it’s important
to utilize the resources available through the SOAR TA Center. So one of the examples we’ll
talk about in the next slide is the MSR template. I think it’s really helpful
in guiding your writing style. I initially use that to
really get me started. I know it can be a really
overwhelming process and I think it’s beneficial
to lean on the resources that are already available. Something else I think is really important the electronic medical records became a really helpful tool for us. When we first started
submitting our applications to the local office, we
notice that there tended to be a little bit of a lag time with getting all the
records that we’ve turned in per part of the SOAR protocol to getting those up to
DDS to get them processed. So that was getting a
bit of a lag time for us. So we worked and we enrolled with that Electronic Records Express so
that we could get that done. Another thing I kind of
want to touch on too is I know one thing that can be really scary and overwhelming is that
relationship building with your local office. So when you set up to have
your claim specialists and I know that there were
some different mentions about how people went about doing that it’s kind of like courting
and dating so to speak, and we went through
the unfortunate process where we lost one of our claim specialists that we initially worked with. So that was really nerve-racking. It basically felt like having a breakup with a boyfriend or a girlfriend. It was really overwhelming. We had worked really hard to
build that initial relationship and it was nothing due to our program. It was completely just
to like staff turnover. So we went through that process. We got somebody new
and in that process too it ended up working out
really well for us in the end. I think part of that is making sure that you really communicate well
with the different people that you’re working with. So, you know I make sure to go down and have face-to-face
interaction with her. We chat about of course our SOAR clients. We chat about other things too. Just to kind of make it more
of a personable relationship and I think it’s really
important and imperative when you’re working with different people. I also think it’s super
helpful when you’re working with people at DDS. You’re talking people
over the phone that are very far away from where
you probably are located, so you’re never actually
seeing them in person. So, I think just now making
conversation and getting to know them kind of like
that I scratch your back, you scratch my back kind of a thing. And I think you’ll find that developing these relationships especially when you’re communicating so frequently will come a little bit
easier for you as well. Another thing I think
is a great tip and trick is to rely on the TA Center. When I first started with MSRs, I felt like they were really overwhelming. There’s a lot of information. You’re doing a lot of screening when you’re meeting with these clients. There’s a lot going on
with a lot of our clients especially with the different
mental health diagnoses they may have. So I think it’s really good
to lean on the TA Center. You can send in your MSR,
they are so more than happy to go over it, they’ll review it with you,
they’ll give you some different tips and tricks, maybe certain things that you didn’t realize DDS
would be wanting to look for. That was super beneficial
when I first started and I still use it when I
feel like I need to use it. They’re just a call away and
I think it’s really important to remember that they’ve
been there before. They’re really familiar with the clientele that we work with. They’re not going to judge you. They’re not going to
judge your writing style. They’re more than happy to help and I think it’s a very, very
valuable resource to use. Another thing I think is
important is self-care. Again a lot of the population
that we’re working with has trauma in their past. There’s a lot of information
that’s being shared, disclosed and a lot of different
experiences you’ll see with your clients as well. And I think it’s important
that you recognize and that I know for
myself that I recognize sometimes I need to decompress. That may involve me checking
in with a supervisor talking about a case that
really hit hard to me. A lot of these situations
are really sad and it’s hard not to take
your work home with you. So, I think it’s important
to really digress that and make sure that you’re
sharing that information in the best way that you can, so that you’re taking care of yourself so that you can help the
clients you want as well. And then practice makes perfect. Starting out as a SOAR benefit specialist, there’s a lot of different forms, there’s a lot of different numbers and you got the 16, the 1696, 827. There’s so many numbers and everything just takes time to learn. I’ve been blessed that I’ve been given the opportunity to do this full time. So I have a lot of time
and a lot of experience that I’ve gained under
my belt doing this job, but especially from caseworkers
that are doing other jobs and you’re trying to
fit in so on top of it. It’s an overwhelming process. I think it’s important
to lean on other people and then also just practice. The more you practice
the better you’ll get, but again lean on the TA Center. They’re completely there to help you. I also think when you,
in regards to practice, one thing that can be really beneficial is reach out to other
people in your community that do SOAR. When we first started our program, we reached out to a really
well-known organization in Philadelphia to get
trained with them as well. They’re really familiar with the program. They do it all the time. They’re extremely successful. We leaned on other
people and other supports so that we could have
that extra knowledge. They actually provided some
of those kind of resources that Suzanne was talking about as well, like some handouts things
that really helped guide us in that process. And again reach out to the TA
Center if you have questions, email them, call them. Again they’re extremely happy to help you in any way that they can. So, in regards to the MSR
interview guide and template, the MSR interview guide it’s a template, it’s really helpful in
gathering detailed information and facilitating your writing style. So I’m going to show you
what that looks like here. So this is an interview
guide and template. So this really breaks
down the different steps in regard to what you want to look for when you’re kind of
gathering the information to present an MSR for DDS. So it gives a lot of contacts. One thing I really like that it has. It has a lot of open-ended questions as suggestions to ask your clients. So that will really help you
gather background information on them, such as education, history, assessing their family background and including their work history as well, which is important. You’ll also notice that there are sections that you’ll be writing about to showcase your clients functional limitations which has information and suggestions on different questions to ask your clients and again this is important
as DDS will use this to better understand your client. These sections are really helpful because they actually help paint
a really good visualization of who your client is. So the providers that are
evaluating them at DDS can visualize who they are and
understand how their symptoms really impact their ability to interact, remember information interact with others, concentrate and even manage
their daily activities, which again are categories of the MSR and function limitations
that DDS is really looking for when they’re evaluating your client. Another thing I wanted to mention is that I think it’s really good to use this when you first start out because again the MSR
can be very overwhelming. Your writing style, it’s
kind of like writing a college paper all over again. And you have to figure
out what works for you and how your writing style kind of adapts, but you really want to showcase
your clients limitations, but you really want to
highlight those negatives unfortunately it’s the best
way to kind of explain it, but highlight the negatives like how your client
is really being limited in their ability to function in society and to function in their
potential to potentially work. So if you’re struggling
to really showcase that and you feel like you’re not highlighting enough of the client’s disability or feeling that there’s some limitations and feeling like it’s a really strong MSR, reach out to the TA Center again. They will happily review that. They will give you tips and tricks. I know for myself personally we deal with a lot of clients
who have mental illness, that’s a really large
component of our population. However we do get
clients from time to time that have physical diagnosis that maybe I haven’t experienced
with a previous client. So I want to show how that’s limiting for that client as well and so sometimes I’ll write about it and if I’m not 100% confident in that MSR, I’ll reach out to the TA Center and they’re great with
giving you some different tips and tricks like maybe use this, maybe don’t use this or one
of those people may have also had experience with
a particular diagnosis. So they can guide you in
some different questions to maybe ask your client
to see if you can add some more detail to the MSR. So you have a better writing style and have a better case to present ‘cos the end of the day the providers and the doctors can read what your client looks like
on those medical records and of course you know it’s helpful to tie in direct quotes and
bring things back from those medical records, but they want to see who this client is, they want to visualize
that maybe your client is struggling to sit still in
like a five minute meeting, there they can see that
the client is antsy, they’re jumping up and down. Maybe they’re pacing the room, maybe even describe things
like you’re in a 10 x 10 room and you know the client can
only sit for two minutes before they get agitated. You can tell that they’re anxious. They get up, they have to leave. It takes some 20 minutes
before they come back. You just want to be really
detailed in that too. So again I think it’s really important to reach out to the TA Center when you’re leaning on them as well especially when you’re starting out. Of course it can be an
overwhelming process but just remember that
everybody’s been there at one point in time from the start and you know we’re always happy to help. I know that again reach
out to local people as well whether it’s your Local Lead or another provider in your community. Again they’ve all been
there and I think everybody is more than willing and happy to help in any way that they can. – [Pam] Thank you so much Katie, and thanks for talking about the TA Center and how they were able to help you at the very beginning submitting
SOAR assisted application. So thank you so so much for that. We do appreciate it a lot. So this slide really tells you some of the resources that are available. Resources that Katie has utilized and we want to make
sure that you visit it, visit it often, reach out to
your SOAR TA Center liaison. You can find that on
your state’s homepage. If you don’t know if
you have a Local Lead, we could direct you to your Local Lead and again all of the tools that our Local Lead share today are available on our SOAR website, and even Katie’s referral
tool that she has adapted will make sure you have her tool as well and I know some of you have
already asked a question about the way Kim and Wayne in Las Vegas organized their folders
and we can talk to them about sharing maybe a one-pager on what their looks like as well. And for some of our new
SOAR practitioners out there and even folks that have
been doing this for a while and you have questions please join our SOARing Over Lunch call. If you don’t already,
here’s some information on how to access these calls
that are monthly for an hour and it’s an opportunity to
share some of your questions and have some of your
colleagues kind of provide some answers for you as well. And here again are some of
our resources on our website and how to access these resources as well. So again we really want you to
connect to the TA Center, us, your state and Local Leads and again really identify
your SSA and DDS contacts. You heard throughout these presentations the importance of building
those relationships with your local offices and again this is something
that if you’re a case manager your Local Leads can help with and again the TA Center can help you establish these great contacts. Again they do, we help them do their job in serving individuals who are homeless and they also help us do our jobs as well. So without further ado we want you to, we have some time left for Q&A, so that you can type your
questions into the Q&A box on the right hand side of the screen. We do have many questions
that came in over the my SSA account, and we know
that SSA is aware of this barrier for some of the
individuals that we serve and having worked with localities and us at the TA Center
on developing workaround, so that this doesn’t really
prevent an application from being submitted
and moving forward on. So we will be able to take
some of those questions. One of the things that Wayne
and Kim does in Las Vegas in helping individuals open an SSA account is bringing individuals to the SSA office, and I was going to ask Wayne very briefly to talk about that process
of assisting applicants and opening up their my SSA accounts. – [Wayne] So on the my SSA account when you’re going online
to and Pam please jump in if I’m not on track here, but when you go online to
establish the protective filing date, you’re going to go
to the website, go to filing an initial claim. It’s going to ask you questions or it’s going to give you prompts to do it as a first person or third person. If you’re doing it as first person you have to create a my account. In order to create a my account you have preliminary questions that it will ask in order
to identify yourself. I can vouch for even
myself when I try to create my own account,
I actually had barriers that I had to go and
look at my own paperwork in order to find the answers. So needless to say I think in our history since has started, we’ve
only had one person that has been able to successfully create a account. So while we’re unable to do that, then we go to creating or
initiating the online application as third-party. Kim mentioned that you
put down that the person is not with you. I still put down that
the person is with me, but it doesn’t make a difference because Social Security will still
ask for wet signature and we still have to go to Social Security to prove their identification anyway. – [Kim] Can I jump in Wayne real quick? All right that that was the
way that website used to be. They no longer have the option. They used to have an option that said that you’re a third party
and the person is with you, but that’s no longer there, yes. They only give you two options now. One is that the person is with you or that it’s the person
doing the account actually. It’s not even that they’re with you. It’s that the person themselves
is doing the application. The only other option now is that you are not the person and
that person is not with you are not able to sign the application. so those are the only two options that are in existence right now. – [Wayne] I guess where
that comes back to me is we set the protective filing date and then we continue 45 days later when we meet with the claimant
to finish the application. When I signed back in
with the re-entry number to complete the application, it then asks me again whether
or not I am the person, whether I’m third-party, and whether the person is with me or not. That’s where I’m saying it’s not relevant whether the person is with you or not. Either way you answer, you can
still finish the application at that point because it’s
a third party application and we still have to take our person to the Social Security
Administration to prove ID as well as turn in all the wet signatures. – [Pam] Okay well if
anyone is experiencing any barriers, please reach out
to your TA Center liaison and we can talk about
this a little bit more. Maybe clarify any issues because we know that if
you’re filing as a third party that that application would
be mailed to the applicant or you as a SOAR case manager
if your address is on file to have the applicant sign it on. So again we can talk to
you a little bit more about that if your question
really hasn’t been answered or you’re still a little bit fuzzy about what to do in that situation. We’ve had a few questions
come in about serving using the SOAR process for children, and this is a good
opportunity to share that SAMSHA has added to the SOAR
curriculum for children, so you can access a separate online course for representing children from 0 to 17, and it is a separate course
with separate NASWCEUs, and many of the tools
that you see here today we’ve adapted many for use
for children application. So if you’re curious about that, we really encourage you to check it out and we really encourage
you to take the course and again if you have
any questions about that since it is new, please reach
out to your TA Center liaison and we can talk about any
initiatives going on in your area. One of the questions that we had is filing applications for
individuals using the SOAR process for individuals who are not homeless or at risk of homelessness, and we know that the SOAR
process can be really used for anybody, but in order
for this to be a SOAR claim when you file it with Social Security you could only use SOAR if
the individual is homeless or at risk of homelessness, and we do have as one of the
tools which will be uploaded to the website is I get the
definition of homelessness so we really encourage you
to take a look at that, and again if you’re not sure
if it’s appropriate to use the SOAR process or
submitting a case as SOAR, please again reach out
to your TA Center liaison or your Local Lead in your area. I would definitely encourage
you to do that as well. Again we do have some questions
that have come in about how to find out if you
have an SSA contact? How do you find that out? And again one of the
things if you are unsure again reach out to the TA Center liaison. We can put you in contact
with your Local Lead or if you don’t have a
SOAR process in your area, we can help you establish that contact, so that they are aware that you as a, you’ve taken the SOAR training and you would like to start
submitting applications using SOAR, so we can help you with that. So just Suzanne, maybe this
is good for Suzanne Straub. Can you talk a little bit about how you’ve been able
to develop SSA contact at your local office? – [Suzanne] Yeah so when I got started, I didn’t really have anybody but what ended up happening was I had submitted an
application and the woman who was the representative
taking care of what I had submitted ended up being
my contact for a long time. I tried to explain to her what I was doing that it was new in our community, and she just kind of took
on that role as our contact and then she actually
retired a couple years ago, so she did a really nice warm handoff with one of her co-workers, who has been my contact
for a couple years, and then in turn I also got
connected to his supervisor, who was actually the one that
came to our last meeting. So it’s just kind of explaining to them what you’re trying to do and asking if they have somebody that is willing to answer
questions as you go along, especially if it’s new
for you in your community and your local office, yeah that’s kind of how it started for us. – [Pam] And I know
similarly with Wayne and Kim in Las Vegas, that their
SSA contacts actually come are able to come to your SOAR
Steering Committee Meetings where you can discuss
issues and get some feedback and work on issues like mySSA accounts and things of that nature. Thanks, we have a couple
of questions that came in along medical records and I
know one of the components of one of the critical components of SOAR is using SSA’s electronic
services wherever possible, and one is the Electronic Records Express. We have a couple questions come in about how to utilize ERE,
Electronic Records Express, and I know both of you do utilize that and I’m just going to throw it to everyone if you want to talk about on
how you’ve been able to utilize ERE with submitting initial applications and getting your medical records, and again this may be a little
bit different state by state. State DDS’s may have their own
processes for how to enroll in that but maybe Katie if you use ERE if you want to talk a little bit about that for our remaining a couple minutes. – [Katie] Sure so our local field office set us up with the information
to get connected with that. Once you register which is
a pretty simple process, it’s been a little
while since I’ve done it but I know that I’ve got
locked out a couple times too, so I just call and get
re-established with them, but basically what you do is
when you send an application off as your representative for that client when you fill out that 1696 you’ll get a fax to you
where you should ideally that’s how it works for us. You get a fax with like
a cover sheet on it, and on that cover sheet
there’s going to be a bunch of different like special numbers and different codes at the bottom of it that allows you to send information back to to DDS, regarding
like medical records. So that gets sent out to like
all the different providers so if you included
different medical providers on that application, that 827 that serves as like a blanket release
to request those records will go out so what happens
is we get that 827 back and we get this special fax cover sheet. So when we log in we use
those numbers to input, which basically gives a bunch
of identification to verify who that client is beyond
their social security number, and then all we do is we have scanned all the medical records
in that we’ve requested, and we upload them right
up into the system. Similar if you’re just attaching an email a file to an email,
you’ll just you know hit browse your computer, you’ll upload them and then you’ll send them in. One thing that we do note though is the way that we store our electronic or medical records on our computer system as we have a really secure data network, we never store anything like one a desktop anything like that for
confidentiality reasons obviously, but it’s a pretty simple process and then they get up to DDS
at least from our experience. They’re usually there within
48 hours if not even sooner. Sometimes it just takes
them a little bit of time to contact us, let us
know that they got them. They’re obviously very
busy individuals up there. But it makes things so much faster. I know that some of the records we get can be hundreds of pages for one client. So for our local claim
specialist to spend all that time throughout their job of regular
things that they’re doing in addition to SOAR, they
can easily spend an hour just constantly feeding
it into the fax machine, where we can take the time to do that work and then we can get them up right away. – [Pam] Thanks for asking about ERE. It’s definitely efficient and if you want to learn more about it, email get in touch with
us at the TA Center, and we can share more
information about that. So it does look like we’re out of time and if we didn’t get to your question, we’ll definitely get it answered, pose it to the appropriate presenters and get an answer back to you too. So we’d like for you to take a moment to complete the evaluation, which you’ll see upon exiting the webinar. And again on behalf of the SOAR teams I would like to thank
all of our presenters for their informative discussions today. And again our next webinar
will be on the topic of outcomes collection and OAT, online application tracking on June 6th. So look for registration details soon and again have a great rest of your day, and thank you so much
for joining us today.

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