TN 52 (12-23)

SI 00601.025 Protective Filing - Oral Inquiry

CITATIONS: 20 CFR 416.345

A. Definition

An oral inquiry is a discussion about supplemental security income (SSI) eligibility for a specific person, which occurs at a place or with a person, listed in GN 00204.006. (See SI 00601.012 for proper applicant policy.)

EXCEPTION: If the potential claimant is receiving a title II benefit amount that precludes SSI eligibility and any federally administered State supplement, the inquiry is not an oral inquiry. However, if the title II beneficiary is under age 65, alleges disability/blindness and is working or interested in going to work, treat the SSI inquiry as an oral inquiry since potential eligibility exists under a work incentive plan, i.e., Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) or Ticket to Work (see DI 55055.001 for ticket to work and other work related incentives.).

B. Policy -- Criteria

The date of an oral inquiry may serve as the filing date for SSI benefits if the following criteria are met:

  • The potential claimant is alive at the time the inquiry is made.


    If the claimant dies before an application is filed, see GN 00204.005 for the policy requirements and SI 00601.040B. for the notice requirements.

  • A valid SSI application is filed within 60 days after the date of the closeout notice.


    A recorded telephone message which meets the above definition and criteria is an oral inquiry. (See GN 00204.011C.1. for documentation requirements.)

An inquiry about rescheduling an application appointment does not meet the criteria of an oral inquiry.

C. Examples

Example 1: Clyde Darrow is age 68. They telephone the field office (FO) on 2/15 to ask about SSI payments for themselves. The claims specialist (CS) documents their protective filing date (2/15) in the enhanced Leads and Appointment System (eLAS). Clyde chooses to visit the FO the same day and completes and signs an SSI application. Since the oral inquiry date and the date the application was taken in the FO are the same day, the filing date is 2/15.

Example 2: Sam Smith is age 70. They telephone the FO on 2/9 to ask about SSI payments for themselves. The CS documents their protective filing date in eLAS. Sam visited the FO on 3/18 and filed their application. In this situation, use 2/9, the date of the oral inquiry as the application filing date. Using the protective filing date is important because it gives Sam the earliest possible filing date and full appeal rights back to the date they first contacted SSA about filing for SSI benefits.

Example 3: Will Farrow attains age 65 on 3/11. They are not blind or disabled. Their social worker telephones the FO on 2/13 to inquire about SSI payments for them. Will visits the FO and completes and signs an SSI application on 3/3. Use 3/11, the date Will attains age 65, as their filing date. When the application filing date is before the date of attainment of age 65, the date the claimant attains age 65 must be input into the system as the filing date. Will is eligible in March (E02 month). Payments will begin 4/1. (See SI 00601.009B.2. for the coding instructions.)

Example 4: Jack Mann calls the 800 Number on 4/5 to inquire about benefits for their neighbor, Mark Norwood. Mark is disabled and needs help to meet their living expenses. The customer service representative (CSR) explores eligibility for all benefits including SSI. Since a potential loss of SSI benefits exists, the CSR documents the date of the oral inquiry, 4/5, and notifies the FO the same day to obtain an application from Mark Norwood. The valid application is taken and received in the FO on 5/2. The FO will use the date of Jack Mann's oral inquiry, 4/5, as the application filing date.

Example 5: Lora Roth calls the 800 Number on 10/1 to inquire about filing for SSI disability benefits. The CSR documents the date of the inquiry 10/1 in eLAS and schedules a teleclaim appointment for 10/15. The application is taken that date and sent to Lora for their signature. The application is received in the FO on 10/30. The application filing date is 10/01. Since Lora is eligible in October (E02 month), benefits will begin 11/1. (See SI 00601.015B for when the protective filing date is material.)

D. Policy - Scope of an Oral Inquiry

The scope of an oral inquiry is determined when the title XVI application is subsequently filed.

Anyone named on the title XVI application who is age 65 or older or will attain age 65 within the evaluation period, or is blind, or disabled, and was living in the same household when the claimant’s oral inquiry was established, is protected as of that date. However, if the individual named was not living with the claimant on the claimant’s oral inquiry date, but is living with the claimant when they are named on the application, establish a written statement of intent to file as of the date the individual is named on the application if the criteria in SI 00601.020A are met.

Current and former spouses that are named on the claimant’s application do not have to meet the “living with” criteria to be protected as of the claimant’s application filing date.

E. Policy - Documentation

An oral inquiry must be documented in accordance with SI 00601.030.

F. References

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SI 00601.025 - Protective Filing - Oral Inquiry - 12/27/2023
Batch run: 12/27/2023