As reported in the last DAP news, New York State took over administration of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) State Supplement Program (SSP) on October 1, 2014 (click here). By now, most SSI beneficiaries should be receiving two separate payments each month – one from SSI and one from NYS. Just to add some more acronyms to the mix, NY’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) now administers the SSP.
Since issuing its new regulations in September (available at http://otda.ny.gov/legal/Adoption-State-Supplement-Program.pdf), OTDA has issued a number of other directives. In September, it posted GIS 14 TA/DC-040: “State Takeover of the SSI State Supplement Program (SSP),” which was issued on September 30, 2014. It is available at: http://otda.ny.gov/policy/gis/2014/14DC040.pdf. And on November 29, 2014, it issued 14 ADM-07: “State Administration of SSI State Supplement Program (SSP),” intended to provide local social services departments with an “overview” of the SSP and to highlight changes caused by the change in administration. http://otda.ny.gov/policy/directives/2014/ADM/14-ADM-07.pdf.
To date, advocates have not reported many problems with the takeover. But advocates and beneficiaries will need to become familiar with the changes as they continue to evolve, and be on the lookout for potential issues. For example, most beneficiaries will now receive two different retroactive awards, and presumably two sets of notices. At this point, someone whose SSI claim was approved after October 1st will undoubtedly also be entitled to retroactive benefits prior to that date. S/he will receive the usual multi-page award notice from SSI, detailing how the benefits – including the SSP – were calculated. But retroactive SSP benefits for the months after October 2014 will no longer be included in the SSI Award Notice.
What is not clear, however, is whether the advocate will receive a copy of whatever retroactive award notice is eventually generated by OTDA for the SSP portion of the back award. Apparently OTDA does not have access to the advocate’s Appointment of Representative Form 1696 in the SSI file, so will not necessarily be automatically sending a copy of any notices to the representative. Advocates will be meeting with OTDA in January to address this and other questions. In the meantime, advocates may have to contact OTDA directly about retroactive SSP awards. Questions can be directed to the New York SSP Customer Support Center at 1-855-488-0541, which operates Monday – Friday from 8:30 – 4:45. The number is toll-free. Questions can also be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or faxed to 518-486-3459.
Similarly, the Interim Assistance Reimbursement (IAR) process with SSA remains the same as before the State takeover. But a separate process has been established for the Recovery of Equivalent Benefits (REB) under SSP, under which any deficiencies outstanding after IAR can be withheld from retroactive SSP. Advocates will now have to review both the IAR and REB recoveries.
As outlined in the ADM and the September Disability Law News, most changes will still be reported to SSA. For recipients who only receive SSP, however, reports should be made directly to OTDA. OTDA’s webpage dedicated to SSP includes links to the various forms, along with the 2015 SSI/SSP benefits level chart and other important information:
SSI Benefits Levels Chart at: http://otda.ny.gov/policy/directives/2014/ADM/14-ADM-07-Attachment-1.pdf
Revised living arrangement definitions at: http://otda.ny.gov/policy/directives/2014/ADM/14-ADM-07-Attachment-2.pdf
Medicaid Enrollment and Exchange Form at: http://otda.ny.gov/policy/directives/2014/ADM/14-ADM-07-Attachment-3.pdf
Spanish version of that form at: http://otda.ny.gov/policy/directives/2014/ADM/14-ADM-07-Attachment-4.pdf
Please keep us informed of any problems you may see in the new SSI/SSP world. And thanks to Jim Murphy of Legal Services of Central New York for keeping us up to date on all these OTDA publications.