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: Once I have completed and passed the Online Course, what is my title?
Individual providers can choose whatever title works best for themselves and their agency. Some examples that we have seen include SOAR practitioner, SOAR benefits specialist, SOAR case manager, and SOAR specialist. Others will use their traditional title (e.g. social worker, case manager, outreach...
Q: Do SOAR providers screen applicants before helping them with their applications?
First and foremost we want to make sure that people who need our assistance with their SSI/SSDI applications get that assistance. That said, each provider has to make decisions about how many people they are able to serve and how many SOAR applications they complete. We recommend that when...
Q: I am working with a person who has already applied for SSI and been denied. His request for reconsideration has also been denied. What can I do now to help? Is there anything I can do to speed up the process?
You can help him file for a hearing before an administrative law judge. It is in the applicant's best interest to keep the appeals process going because if he is approved at the hearing level he will be eligible for back payments going back to the protective filing date of his initial application...
Q: When the MSR is signed by an Acceptable Medical Source (AMS) is there any HIPAA concern if the MSR contains information from other treating providers?
An MSR that has been written based on properly released records can be shared with the primary AMS. At the point of obtaining the signature, it is primarily a privacy issue, not HIPAA. However, it would be a best practice to have a release signed by the applicant permitting the case worker to...