Description of Project
The SOAR effort in Alaska is an initiative designed to increase access to SSI/SSDI benefits for eligible adults who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and have a mental illness, medical impairment, and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder.
Individuals interested in training are encouraged to reach out to the State Team Lead or SOAR TA Center Liaison using the contact information above for more information about SOAR.
Expectations of Participation in SOAR
Individuals may become eligible to utilize the SOAR model by completing the SOAR Online Course. Prior to beginning the online curriculum, individuals are encouraged to contact the State Team Lead or SOAR TA Center to discuss their training needs and expectations.
Expectations of SOAR-trained caseworkers:
Serve as the applicant’s appointed representative for the purpose of applying for SSI/SSDI benefits. Representation includes “standing in” for the applicant, responding to questions, receiving copies of all mail sent to the applicant, and communicating back and forth with SSA and DDS**
Complete all required SSA forms for the SSI and SSDI applications and submit online whenever possible
Collect medical records from providers who have treated the applicant
Write a comprehensive SOAR Medical Summary Report that includes psychosocial, treatment, and functional information that is co-signed, if possible, by a physician or psychologist who has seen the individual
Conduct ongoing outreach and engagement with the individual to stay connected throughout the process
Track applications and outcomes, including the number of applications completed, approvals/denials, and time to decision
Report outcomes on at least an annual basis
Actively collaborate with SOAR Local Leads
Participate in refresher courses and quality review of applications
SOAR caseworkers are encouraged to send redacted versions of their first few Medical Summary Reports to the SOAR TA Center for quality review before submission to DDS
** No fees will be collected for assisting with the application
Marking and submitting SOAR applications is contingent upon following the local SOAR process.
SOAR-trained individuals will also be connected with the State Team Lead, the SOAR TA Center Liaison, and SOAR Local Leads. Any of these persons may be contacted for information or questions at any time about SOAR and they are available to assist with connections to SSA and DDS offices in the state.
Alaska tracks SOAR-assisted SSI/SSDI applications in the SOAR Online Application Tracking (OAT) system. Training in the use of the OAT program is available at https://soartrack.prainc.com, and the SOAR TA Center can answer questions about the OAT program. It is expected that SOAR-trained caseworkers will enter data about their SSI/SSDI applications using the SOAR model as they complete each application. The SOAR TA Center will review data periodically and follow up with SOAR caseworkers regarding this data and quality review of applications.