TN 12 (09-03)

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.

    NOTE: 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.

    NOTE: 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. He telephones the field office (FO) on 2/15 to ask about SSI payments for himself. The claims representative (CR) documents his protective filing date (2/15) on the 800 Number System. Mr. Darrow chooses to visit the FO the same day and completes and signs a 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. He telephones the FO on 2/9 to ask about SSI payments for himself. The CR documents his protective filing date on the 800 Number System. Mr. Smith visited the FO on 3/18 and filed his 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 Mr. Smith the earliest possible filing date and full appeal rights back to the date he first contacted SSA about filing for SSI benefits.

Example 3: Will Farrow attains age 65 on 3/11. He is not blind or disabled. His social worker telephones the FO on 2/13 to inquire about SSI payments for him. Mr. Farrow visits the FO and completes and signs a SSI application on 3/3. Use 3/11, the date Mr. Farrow attains age 65, as his 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. Mr. Farrow is eligible in March (E02 month). Payments will begin 4/1. (See SI 00601.009B.2. for the coding instructions.)

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

Example 5: Ms. Roth calls the 800 Number on 10/1 to inquire about filing for SSI disability benefits. The TSR documents the date of the inquiry 10/1 on the 800 Number System and schedules a teleclaim appointment for 10/15. The application is taken that date and sent to Ms. Roth for her signature. The application is received in the FO on 10/30. The application filing date is 10/01. Since Ms. Roth 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 subsequen