Tips And Tricks For Success
Get Help: Using Form SSA-1696
The best way to get help with your application is to assign an Authorized Representative. Being an Authorized Representative for someone during their disability application process with Social Security is called being their “1696” (“sixteen-ninety-six”). The term 1696 comes from the form that must be filed in order to become someone’s 1696. In order to become someone’s 1696 you must file form SSA-1696 as soon after their SSI/SSDI application has been submitted as possible.
Being someone’s 1696 allows you to:
- Make sure that someone’s application has been received
- Make sure that there are no missing pieces or holes in their application
- Find out whether the case has been sent to DDS (Disability Determination Services)
- Check on the status of the application
- Give the Social security officers information about the person you are advocating with
- Assist the social security officer with communicating information or getting the proper information from someone you are advocating with.
TIP: If you are doing an in-person SSI/SSDI application with someone you can ask to fill out form SSA-1696 along with the application.
What if I Get Denied?
Many people get denied the first time they apply. The application process can be confusing and little mistakes can lead to a denial. This doesn’t mean it is time to give up. If you get denied, your next steps are to:
- File An Appeal: Filing an appeal allows you to keep your original application date and can allow you to add additional information to your application.
- Hire a Lawyer: Having a lawyer is helpful for 3 main reasons:
- It adds weight to your application.
- Lawyers are very good at paperwork and can catch mistakes that may have been made.
- Sometimes during the appeal process you may have to go before a judge to argue your case. A lawyer will know how to help you navigate this situation.
- Watch For Deadlines: You only have 30 days to file an appeal from the date of your denial letter. If you miss this deadline you have to start a new application from scratch.
- Be Patient - It Takes Time: After you file your appeal it can take as long as 9-15 months to hear back about next steps. Be patient.
A redetermination is what happens when the Social Security Administration decides to re-examine the documentation of your disability to determine whether or not you still meet the criteria to receive income. This can happen for many reasons:
- Turning 18: The most significant redetermination happens if you are receiving Social Security as a child and you turn 18. This redetermination examines your disability by adult criteria instead of children’s criteria.
- Predetermined Redeterminations/ Event Triggered Redeterminations: Other redeterminations can happen if you have a disability that is expected to improve after a few years, if you get married or if you become your own representative payee.
- Random Redeterminations: There are also random redeterminations that are kind of like random audits to make sure that the social security administration is not missing anything.
- Audits: Audits can happen at any time in the application process and require the application to be looked at by an independent agency. This can slow down the process, but it is usually to check up on the social security workers, not on you.
- Income is Not What You Expected: There are many things that can impact the amount of money that you get from Social Security: Any other income is the most common. If someone is providing you with food or housing for free, this also counts as income.
- Forgetting to Report Changes Has Consequences:
- When you don’t report address changes, if the Social Security Administration sends you something in the mail and it gets returned-to-sender. Then the Social Security office will put everything on hold until they hear from you. Applications will be denied and payments will be stopped until you update your address.
- When you don’t report income that you have earned or received and the Social Security office finds out about it later then they could decide that they have over paid you and try and get that money back from you. It is important to report any income in the same month that you earn or receive it.
- Getting married or divorced will impact the amount you receive.
- Mistakes Happen: Mistakes happen, and it is important to correct them by calling or going down to your SSA office.
- Check your mail
- Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself
- Pay attention to details
- Ask for help
- Be patient