Montana

Montana

Description of Project 
SOAR Montana is administered through the Department of Public Health & Human Services, Bureau of Mental Health Services. The goal of SOAR Montana is to increase access to disability income benefits administered by the Social Security Administration for eligible adults who experience homelessness or are at risk of homelessness, and have a mental illness and/or co-occurring substance use disorder. 
 
A list of contacts for SOAR Montana can be found in the Contacts section of this webpage.
Expectations of Participation in SOAR 
Individuals may become certified by completing the SOAR Online Course. Prior to commencing the online curriculum, individuals need to contact the State Team Lead to discuss their training needs and expectations. Upon notice that a Certificate of Completion for online training has been awarded, the participant will be contacted by the State Team Lead with information about upcoming SOAR Fundamentals trainings. All individuals who complete the online curriculum must participate in follow-up SOAR Fundamentals training, which includes State-specific processes. The above requirements must be completed prior to submitting SOAR claims to SSA. 
 
Certified SOAR Caseworkers must agree to the following requirements:
  • Request permission from requesting agency leadership to participate in the on-line course.
  • Submit a letter from agency leadership indicating the agency is willing to follow all requirements to the State Lead.
  • 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.
  • Complete a psychosocial assessment, a functional impairment assessment, and a substance use worksheet.
  • Write a comprehensive 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.
  • 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 SOAR Refresher courses and reviews of applications.
  • Serve as representative payee if possible.
 
The ability to submit SOAR applications will not be approved and may be revoked at any time if State specific requirements are not met.
To facilitate ongoing collaboration and communication, the names and contact information for all certified caseworkers are submitted to both SSA and DDS and the names and contact information for local SSA and DDS staff are shared with the certified caseworkers. The State Team Lead maintains a close relationship with the representative from the SSA Regional office and staff from DDS; questions are answered and problems quickly resolved as they occur. Certified individuals will also be provided with contact information for the State Team Lead, all Certified SOAR Instructors, and Local SOAR Leads. Any of these persons may be contacted for information or questions at any time.
 
Outcomes Tracking: Training in the use of the Online Application Tracking (OAT) will be provided. However, certified caseworkers are encouraged, but not required to use the OAT system to report outcomes. They may choose to use either the SOAR Outcome Reporting Form, a Word document that is designed for each individual application and can be accessed from the OAT homepage (https://soartrack.prainc.com).  Or they can use an Excel spreadsheet used to track annual outcomes.  Copies of the Excel spreadsheet can be obtained from the SOAR TA Center or from the SOAR State Lead.