West Virginia

West Virginia

Description of Project 
West Virginia’s SOAR Initiative is led by the West Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness. The goal is to increase access to the disability income benefit administered by the Social Security Administration for eligible adults who are homeless, or who are at risk of homelessness, and have a mental illness and/or a co-occuring substance use disorder.
 
Strong partnerships are a crucial aspect of the SOAR process within WV and we have been fortunate to have committed partnerships with SSA, 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 effectively and assist those in need.
 
For more information on case workers who are trained in SOAR, please contact Rachael Coen, WV State Lead, at rachaelcoen@wvceh.org.

 

Expectations of Participation in SOAR 
Individuals may become certified by attending a Stepping Stones to Recovery training or by completing the SOAR OnLine Course. Prior to commencing the online curriculum, individuals are encouraged 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 for additional training.

 

Certified SOAR Caseworkers must agree to the following requirements:

  • 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.
  • Those who use HMIS are asked to complete the SOAR assessment in HMIS for each client an application is started on for State Steering Committee quarterly reporting purposes. If not on HMIS, SOAR case managers are asked to track in OAT.
  • No fees will be collected for completion of the application.
  • Actively collaborate with local SOAR Leads.
  • Participate in refresher courses and reviews of applications.

 

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 and 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 the SOAR Outcome Reporting Form. WV SOAR Steering Committee reviews outcomes quarterly in HMIS. Those who use HMIS are asked to complete the SOAR assessment in HMIS for reporting purposes.