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 become SOAR certified by completing the SOAR Online Course. Prior to beginning the online course, individuals need to contact the State Team Lead and/or your area Local Lead(s) (see below) to discuss their training needs and expectations of the SOAR process. Upon notice that a Certificate of Completion for online training has been issued from the National SOAR TA Center, the participant will be contacted by the State Team Lead and/or your area Local Lead(s) with information about the upcoming SOAR Online Course Review Session. All individuals who complete the online curriculum must participate in the follow-up SOAR Online Review Session (formerly known as the Fundamentals Training), which includes information on State and local-specific SOAR processes. The above/below requirements must be completed prior to submitting SOAR claims to SSA/DDS. 
 
Certified SOAR Caseworkers must agree to the following requirements:
  • Request permission from agency leadership to participate in the SOAR Online Course
  • Complete the following SOAR Critical Components:
    • Serve as the applicant’s 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 applications for both SSI and SSDI.
    • Collect medical records from providers who have treated the applicant over the last two years.
    • Complete the SSA psychosocial assessment, functional impairment assessment, and 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.
  • Register for the SOAR Online Application Tracking (OAT) system and track applications and outcomes in a timely manner.
  • No fees will be collected from SOAR applicants for completion of the application.
  • Actively collaborate with other local SOAR caseworkers by attending monthly SOAR meetings (where applicable).
  • Quarterly completion of at least one of the continuing learning opportunities listed below:
    • Participation in a SAMHSA SOAR TA Center webinar
    • Participation in SAMHSA SOAR TA Center SOARing Over Lunch Calls 
    • Participation in a SOAR Online Course Review Session or SOAR Elective (check with the SOAR State Team Lead and/or Local Lead(s) for schedule) 
    • Submit a Medical Summary Report to your area Local Lead for review
  • Adhere to all expectations of your Local SOAR process (communicate with your SOAR Local Lead(s) for additional information on this process)
  • Submission of a minimum of two completed SOAR applications (initial or reconsideration) to SSA every 12 months (An exception may be granted if the community is building their infrastructure for SOAR)
 
To facilitate ongoing collaboration and communication, the names and contact information for all certified SOAR caseworkers will be 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 and Local Team Leads maintain a close relationship with representatives from the local and regional SSA office and staff from DDS; questions are answered and barriers quickly resolved as they occur. Certified individuals will also be provided with contact information for the State Team Lead, all Certified SOAR Providers, and Local SOAR Leads. Any of these persons may be contacted for information or questions at any time.   If at any time state and local specific requirements are not met, the ability to submit SOAR applications will not be approved and may be revoked.
 
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.