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Connecticut

Connecticut

Description of Project

Connecticut’s SOAR Initiative is led by the State Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS). It aims to increase access to the disability income benefit programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for eligible adults who are experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of experiencing homelessness and have a mental illness and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder.
 
Strong partnerships are a crucial aspect of the SOAR process and we are very fortunate to have such committed partnerships with SSA and Disability Determination Services (DDS), many community providers and other state agencies. Without these many partnerships, we would not be able to implement the SOAR Initiative so effectively. 
 
Currently five local community agencies have trained staff for providing SOAR services for eligible populations and tracking outcomes in the online application tracking system.  These agencies work within their local coordinated access network (CAN) which is a collaboration of housing and homeless services providers with the goal of moving people rapidly through the homeless system into permanent housing.
 
These agencies are:
 
Fairfield County Coordinated Access Network
New Reach
203-275-8160
 
Greater New Haven Coordinated Access Network
Columbus House
203-401-4400
New Reach, ICP (referrals only through Yale New Haven Hospital)
203-492-4866
 
Middletown/Meriden/Wallingford Coordinated Access Network
Columbus House
860-343-3145
 
Central CT Coordinated Access Network
Friendship Service Center
860-225-0211
 
Northwest Coordinated Access Network
Center for Human Development
203-596-9323
 

SOAR Training

In order to be eligible to submit SOAR applications in Connecticut, all providers need to complete the SOAR Online Course.
 
Prior to commencing the on-line curriculum, it is recommended that individuals first contact the local lead agency within their coordinated access network, thereby allowing them to become integrated into the SOAR team efforts.  
  
The SOAR Online Course takes approximately 20 hours to complete. Benefits to completing the online SOAR course include:
  • No cost;
  • In-depth, provides step-by-step details of SSA’s disability determination process and SSI/SSDI application forms;
  • Learn at your own pace;
  • Templates for materials needed to set up administering the SOAR service
  • Opportunity to do a practice case with technical assistance and feedback from the SOAR TA Center

Expectations of Participation in SOAR

  • Serve as appointed representative for the purpose of applying for SSI/SSDI. 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 the applications for both SSI and SSDI.
  • Collect medical records from providers who have treated the applicant over the last two years.
  • Write a comprehensive SOAR Medical Summary Report that includes psychosocial, treatment, and functional information that is co-signed, if at all 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 and to work with the individual to obtain other needed services and treatment such as housing, physical and mental health care, other support services, food, and clothing.
  • Use the online application tracking system, (OAT) to: track applications and outcomes, including number of applications completed, approvals/denials, and time to decision from application submission to receipt of SSA’s decision.
  • Report outcomes on at least an annual basis within the stated timeframes as requested.
  • No fees will be collected for completion of the application.
  • Actively collaborate with local SOAR Leads.
  • Participate in refresher courses and quality reviews 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.

There is also a host of information on this website for use in your SOAR case management, including means to request information and technical support, links to SOAR webinars and SOAR updates. Check it out by clicking on the Library or Application Toolbox tabs on the SOAR website.