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 and children 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.”
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Recent Questions About SOAR
Q: What if a client is new to our program, and has already applied for and is in the appeal process for SSI? Can they still be considered for SOAR?
The SOAR process can definitely be used to assist applicants with appeals, as SOAR practitioners are often well positioned to assist given their relationships with applicants and knowledge of their impairments and related functional limitations. SOAR case managers can help by gathering additional...
Q: Can a person establish a protective filing date online even if they are only applying for SSI and not SSDI? What if they have no work credits and can't apply for SSDI?
Absolutely! Initiating the Online Disability Benefit Application sets the protective filing date for SSI as well as SSDI. Even without work credits, there are other ways an applicant may qualify for SSDI so we recommend applying for both programs. Further, completing the online application is an...
Q: How do we find out how a client was previously denied? Do we request the reason for denial?
Yes, we think you can obtain valuable insight into the reason an applicant was previously denied by reviewing the applicant’s electronic folder, or at minimum, obtaining the “Disability Determination Explanation” or denial notice. Most likely, you will have easy access to the denial notice from the...
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...