SOAR Voices


It Never Gets Old

We have been collecting SOAR outcomes for 11 years now and as tedious as data collection can seem, it never gets old. Every application, every approval, every dollar saved, and cost reimbursed represents a life changed, a system improved, and a difference made.

I look at the spreadsheets, tables and numbers, and see the case manager at their desk opening the letter from SSA informing them that an applicant has been approved. I can hear the cow bells ringing, see the “SOAR approval dances,” and feel the joy of the mother of two unlocking the door to her family’s first apartment.

Since 2006, the SOAR approach has been responsible for assisting 36,112 persons who were experiencing or at risk of homelessness to access Social Security disability benefits. States and communities are improving their approval rates and reducing the overall average days to decision. We have new super stars to celebrate and honor every year.  Agencies are tracking reimbursements of Medicaid ($8,746 per person), Medicare, and General Assistance ($1,757 per person). We’re looking at how many applicants are working and what they are earning before and after the application. We know that there are now over 170 full-time, dedicated SOAR positions across the country. SOAR providers are serving Veterans, justice-involved persons, youth in transition and American Indians and Alaska Natives. Over 3,400 people have successfully completed the SOAR Online Course.

There is so much fantastic work that goes on each and every day in SOAR communities. We collect and report on outcomes once a year, but celebrate each and every success day-in and day-out. Endless thanks and appreciation to all of you who make those successes a reality.

Read our complete outcomes report for more information about how SOAR is making a difference in your community. I’m looking forward to the tedious and beautiful process of collecting outcomes again in 2017. 


The views, opinions, and content expressed in SOAR Voices do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), or the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors.