SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and is a national program designed to increase access to the disability income benefit programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for eligible adults who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and have a serious mental illness, medical impairment, and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder.
The goals of the SOAR program speak directly to one of SAMHSA’s Strategic Initiatives - Recovery Supports. SOAR seeks to end homelessness through increased access to SSI/SSDI income supports, directly addressing SAMHSA’s assertion: “To recover, people need a safe stable place to live.” This is essential, and for many persons in recovery accessing benefits is a first step. But SOAR extends beyond and also encourages employment as a means to increase individual income and promote recovery in line with the SAMHSA assertion that: “to recover, people need meaningful work and the ability to enhance their skills through education.”
Recent Questions About SOAR
Q: Clients, friends, and even colleagues often cite me this "fact" regarding applications for SSI and SSDI: "You always get denied initially and then win on appeal." I usually explain that I don't believe this is generally true. What do you say?
Yes, this is definitely something we hear quite a bit and a very pervasive rumor that an applicant has to be denied X number or times, or can only win on appeal. The truth is that if the evidence is in the initial filing showing that an applicant meets the criteria for SSI or SSDI, he/she will be...
Q: As the appointed representative, if I am not able to pay for copies of the medical records, can I get them from SSA or DDS?
As the claimant’s representative (using the SSA-1696 Appointment of Representative Form ), you can request a copy of the claimant’s previous and current files, which include the medical records SSA and DDS received with the application. These documents are generally provided on a CD. This is...
Q: I just went with someone to a consultative examination. When will we hear the decision on the application?
It depends! In many DDS offices the consultative exam (CE) examiners are allowed 30 days to file their report/evaluation after the exam. They may or may not be turned in on time. Once the DDS examiner gets the report it may take some time to finish their recommendation and transfer it to the...
Q: I received a notice with a patient’s alcohol and drug abuse records that I could not “further disclose” the information. How can I send them on to SSA?
When providers of substance use services (drug and alcohol) release records, they are required to include the following notice from the CFR Title 42:2.32: “This information has been disclosed to you from records protected by Federal confidentiality rules (42 CFR part 2). The Federal rules prohibit...