Presentation on theme: "Using SOAR in the Continuing Disability Review (CDR) Process Please stay on the line. The webinar will begin shortly. AUDIO: Toll Free Number: 1 (888)323-4910."— Presentation transcript:
Using SOAR in the Continuing Disability Review (CDR) Process Please stay on the line. The webinar will begin shortly. AUDIO: Toll Free Number: 1 (888) Passcode: Contact if you experience technical
Using SOAR in the Continuing Disability Review (CDR) Process PRESENTED BY: SAMHSA SOAR TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE CENTER POLICY RESEARCH ASSOCIATES, INC. UNDER CONTRACT TO: SUBSTANCE ABUSE AND MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES ADMINISTRATION U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Welcome! KRISTIN LUPFER, PROJECT DIRECTOR SAMHSA SOAR TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE CENTER POLICY RESEARCH ASSOCIATES, INC.
Agenda Overview of SSA’s Continuing Disability Review (CDR) Process Alex Balaban, Chief- External Contacts Division, NJ Division of Disability Determinations Service, Newark, New Jersey CDR Practice Tips for the SOAR Provider Gai Lorenzen, Managing Attorney, LAW (Legal Action of Wisconsin), Racine, Wisconsin Questions and Answers SOAR Technical Assistance Center
Purpose SOAR was originally developed for adults experiencing or at- risk of homelessness with serious mental illness, co-occurring substance use disorders, or other physical disabilities. SOAR critical components have been applied to successfully represent adults at all stages of the appeals process and is also used with CDRs! Increase in SSA funding to do CDRs, so many are receiving notice of a CDR.
Overview of CDRs ALEX BALABAN, NEW JERSEY DISABILITY DETERMINATION SERVICES
Continuing Disability Reviews Social Security Act requires CDRs in order to maintain the integrity of the SSI and SSDI programs. NJ DDS has an excellent track record in processing CDR claims ◦FFY13 – claims processed ◦FFY14 – 12,062 claims processed
Timing of Medical CDRs MIE: Medical Improvement Expected MIP: Medical Improvement Possible MINE: Medical Improvement Not Expected
Medical Improvement Expected (MIE) Review as early as 6 months after initial determination (if at least 1 year from onset of disability) and not more than 3 years from initial determination Typically, 6-18 months MIE + work activity = CDR MIE criteria at POMS DI
Medical Improvement Not Expected (MINE) Generally MINE if over age 54 ½ or have permanent impairments Review at least every 7 years, but not more than every 5 years MINE criteria at POMS DI
Medical Improvement Possible (MIP) Not MIE or MINE Review at least once every 3 years MIP criteria at POMS DI
Other Possible CDR Triggers Completion of 9-month trial work period Work, increased earnings, IRWEs in EPE Initial 1619(a) eligibility Initial 1619(b) eligibility (after medical review) Vocational diary set up because of voc. training, therapy or education program Self- or 3 rd party reports of work or recovery Advances in medical treatment or technology Changes in the law (e.g., substance abuse) See POMS DI
CDR Protection Under TWWIIA (Ticket Users) No medical or work-triggered CDRs while Ticket to Work “in use” (TWWIIA § 101C). Ticket assigned and “timely progress toward self-supporting employment.” Effective 1/1/01; in Ticket states only But Ticket use can’t stop a CDR in progress
CDR Protection Under TWWIIA Long-Term SSDI Beneficiaries No work-triggered CDRs if on SSDI 24+ months (TWWIIA § 111). Effective 1/1/02 in all states BUT…No protection from regularly scheduled medical CDRs NO TICKET NEEDED
Medical Improvement Standard Benefits may not usually be terminated unless there is a finding that the recipient’s condition has medically improved The medical improvement standard requires a decrease in the medical severity of the recipient’s impairments, based on changes in signs, symptoms and/or laboratory findings See POMS DI –
Comparison Point Decision In evaluating medical improvement, the recipient’s current impairment(s) are compared with his/her impairments at the time of the most recent favorable medical decision or review This is called the Comparison Point Decision (CPD) Only look at impairments for which there was medical evidence at the time of the CPD
CDR SEQUENCE FOR ADULTS Step 1 – Is the claimant engaging in Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)? Does not apply to Title XVI (SSI) recipients ◦If YES, eligibility terminates ◦If NO, move on to Step 2
CDR SEQUENCE FOR ADULTS Step 2 – Does the recipient’s impairment(s) meet or equal a listed impairment? ◦If YES, eligibility continues ◦If NO, move on to Step 3
CDR SEQUENCE FOR ADULTS Step 3 – Has there been medical improvement in the impairment(s) that existed at the time of the last favorable medical decision or review (the CPD)? ◦If YES, move to Step 4 ◦If NO, move to Step 5
CDR SEQUENCE FOR ADULTS Step 4 – Is the medical improvement (MI) related to the recipient’s ability to work? Compare the current “fictional” Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) with the old (or “reconstructed”) RFC at the CPD. If listing met at CPD, determine if currently met. ◦If YES, move to Step 6 ◦If NO, move to Step 5
CDR SEQUENCE FOR ADULTS Step 5 – Do any of the first or second group of exceptions apply to the recipient’s case? ◦If one of the first group of exceptions apply, go to Step 6 even though MI not related to ability to work. ◦If one of the second group of exceptions apply benefits are terminated or suspended. If no exceptions apply, eligibility continues.
1ST GROUP OF EXCEPTIONS Recipient is the beneficiary of advances in medical or vocational therapy or technology related to the ability to work. Recipient has undergone vocational therapy related to the ability to work. Doesn’t apply if in 1619 currently or within last 12 months. Based on new or improved diagnostic evaluative techniques the impairment(s) is not as disabling as it was considered at the time of the earlier decision.
2ND GROUP OF EXCEPTIONS A prior determination or decision was fraudulently obtained. The recipient fails to cooperate with SSA. The recipient fails to follow prescribed treatment which would be expected to restore the ability to work. “Good cause” exceptions exist to the treatment requirement, i.e., inability to afford treatment or religious objections.
CDR SEQUENCE FOR ADULTS Step 6 – Does the recipient have a severe impairment considering the recipient’s current impairment(s)? ◦If YES, move to Step 7. ◦If NO, eligibility terminates.
CDR SEQUENCE FOR ADULTS Step 7 – Is the recipient able to perform past work, considering the current impairment(s)? ◦If NO, move to Step 8 ◦If YES, eligibility terminates
CDR SEQUENCE FOR ADULTS Step 8 – Is the recipient able to perform other work, considering the current impairment(s), age, education and work history. ◦If NO, eligibility continues ◦If YES, eligibility terminates
Summary of CDR Standard Disability will only cease when: There has been medical improvement related to the ability to work or certain exceptions to the medical improvement standard apply; and The impairments together with the vocational profile (age, education, work experience) do not prevent the person from engaging in SGA, unless a group 2 exception applies.
CDR Appeal Process Hearing with disability hearing officer of Disability Determination Services Hearing with Administrative Law Judge SSA Appeals Council Federal Court
Benefits Pending Review Benefits pending review are available through the ALJ hearing level of appeal. In order to secure benefits pending appeal, the appeal must be filed within 10 days (5 days for mailing presumed) of denial and an request for benefits pending appeal must be made. Regular appeals must be filed within 60 days of denial (+ 5 days for mailing).
Good Cause for Late Appeals Must request extension in writing and give reasons why not timely. Applies to 10-day “benefits pending” as well as 60-day regular appeal deadline. Applies to beneficiary and others acting for him/her (e.g., rep payee, representative).
Good Cause Factors Physical, mental, educational and linguistic limitations that prevented claimant from filing or understanding need to file timely appeal Confusing, misleading, or incomplete information furnished by SSA. Other circumstances that might impede efforts to pursue claim (e.g., illness, homelessness). Good Cause criteria in POMS GN
Overpayment Potential If the claimant loses on appeal, SSA will assess an overpayment. Waiver will be possible and “no fault” will be found if the appeal was filed with a “good faith” belief that eligibility existed. See POMS DI
Other Consequences of Medical CDR Termination If no longer medically disabled: Loss of Extended Medicare Loss of 1619(b) Status
The Good News About 80% of CDRs result in continuation of benefits at the first step of the review. Appealing brings the continuation rate up to nearly 90%.
CDR Steps for Children 1. Has there been Medical Improvement? 2. Any CPD impairment(s) meet/equal/functionally equal listings at CPD? 3.Any/all impairments meet/equal/functionally equal current listings?
TURNING Children turning 18 will receive a redetermination of eligibility under the adult disability standard. 2.This review is NOT a CDR. 3.This redetermination must occur before the child reaches age 19.
AGE 18 REDETERMINATION When SSA initiates the redetermination it will provide notice of the review as well as the right to submit additional evidence supporting the continuation of disability under the adult standard.
Redetermination Rights If SSA determines that the “child” is no longer disabled, notice of the decision will issue. Full administrative and court review appeal rights apply to this determination. Benefits pending review are also available but must be affirmatively requested.
CDR Practice Tips GAI LORENZEN, LEGAL ACTION OF WISCONSIN (LAW)
Status of Representation/Relationship Relationship continues (differences?) Relationship ends Relationship status must be clearly communicated to client Client needs to know what to expect going forward
On-going Relationship “Written communication” Relationship status to client. The terms of the award to client-start date, end date, retroactive award, prospective award, dates, basis of award (type of disability). Continuing Disability Review What to do when receive documents for CDR. Other information you deem relevant
Program Operations Manual System (POMS) DI 130- Continuing Disability DI 280- Continuing Disability Review Cases DI 285- CDR Re-openings DI 290- Reconsideration of CDR Cases and Re-opening Applicable to Disability Hearings (Pre-DHU Processing)
TRIGGERS “Permanent Disability” “Expected to Improve” “Possible Improvement” Other facts and circumstances
APPEAL/CONTINUING BENEFITS Appeal Cessation of Benefits Decision Timely request-60 days Good Cause Exception for Late Appeals Continue Benefits Request to continue benefits-10 days, Form SSA-795 Overpayment if cessation decision upheld Waiver of overpayment
Overpayment/Waiver POMS: SI Claimant “without fault” POMS: SI Against equity and good conscience to recover the overpayment
Other Information NOSSCR (National Organization Social Security Claimant’s Representatives) -Continuing Disability Review Committee-monitor process and report back to NOSSCR members Articles, Op-Eds Caselaw SOAR TA Center
For More Information on SOAR Visit our website: SAMHSA SOAR TA Center 345 Delaware Avenue Delmar, New York (518) 439 – 7415
Questions and Answers Facilitated By: SAMHSA SOAR Technical Assistance Center Policy Research Associates, Inc.