On October 18, 2013, a memo was released by the Department of Veterans Affairs encouraging VA employees to be trained in and utilize SOAR in their efforts to serve the at-risk and homeless Veteran population.

In January 2017, 40,056 Veterans were homeless on a single night during a Point in Time (PIT) count. Half of Veterans experiencing homelessness have severe mental illness and over half have other health issues. SSI/SSDI is an important resources for Veterans, as they can receive these benefits in conjunction with, or an an alternative to, VA disability benefits and employment. This is where SOAR can help.

Connecting Veterans with Social Security Administration (SSA) disability benefits is a critical step to increasing income stability for Veterans and their families, particularly for those Veterans whose work activity is limited by disabling conditions. The SOAR model helps individuals obtain SSA disability benefits while they are pursuing their vocational goals through the HVRP Program.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Homeless Programs Office, in partnership with the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center, recently released guidance for all federal VA staff on using SOAR in their work to end Veteran homelessness.

SSA is committed to expediting claims and quickly issuing payments for the most serious conditions and for claimants that are in dire need. When working with an applicant that is experiencing or at risk of homelessness, SOAR providers should be aware of the following SSA initiatives and practices.

On July 20, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released a new tool for beneficiaries of Social Security Administration's (SSA's) disability benefits, which helps demonstrate how income from employment and/or VA disability benefits will affect Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Here are a number of resources for professionals as well as for individuals with brain injuries and their families. This information was compiled by Anastasia Edmonston MS CRC., TBI and Person Centered Planning Trainer, Maryland Behavioral Health Administration 2015*, and additional resources have been added as they have become available.

Connecting Veterans with Social Security Administration (SSA) disability benefits is a critical step to increasing income stability for Veterans and their families, as well as providing health insurance for those who may not qualify for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care.

VA federal staff will soon be able to act as an applicant’s Appointed Representative, using the Social Security Administration (SSA) Form 1696.

Accessing Social Security Administration (SSA) disability benefits is a critical step toward income stability for Veterans whose work activity is limited by disabling conditions or who have children with disabilities. SOAR directly contributes to SSVF’s goal of promoting housing stability among very low-income Veteran families by increasing access to critical income supports.


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Issue Briefs

This issue brief, developed by the SOAR TA Center, discusses the importance of connecting Veterans with SSA disability benefits how the SOAR model can help.

SOAR Voices Blogs

By Beth Argent, Benefits Specialist/Homeless Outreach at the Mental Illness Recovery Center, Inc. (MIRCI) in South Carolina

Guest post by SAMHSA's Program to Achieve Wellness. This article was originally posted in SAMHSA's Program to Achieve Wellness' Winter 2017 Newsletter.

2015 is an exciting year for us. Community providers, advocates, Veterans service organizations, and federal partners have worked tirelessly over the past few years towards the objective of ending Veteran homelessness in 2015. And now, as 2015 begins, we’re closer than ever to achieving our goal: building a system in which those who served our nation never have to call the streets “home.”

By Ambrosia Crump, State SOAR Coordinator for Nevada; Management Analyst at Clark County, Nevada

In November 2015, Southern Nevada declared an end to Veteran Homelessness. We checked in with Ambrosia Crump, Nevada’s State SOAR Coordinator, to see how SOAR aided in the region’s efforts to end Veteran homelessness:

Photo: “San Francisco Bay Aerial View” by Robert Campbell is licensed by CC BY-SA 3.0

By Carmen Santoni, M.B.A., H.R.M., U. S. Navy Officer Veteran, SOAR Benefits Specialist in the Swords to Plowshares' Support Services for Veteran Families Unit 

By Jenn Matlack, Director, Housing & Emergency Support Services and Supportive Services for Veteran Families, Family & Community Services, Inc.

By M’Liss Hekeler D’Angelo, SSVF SOAR Benefits Specialist at Columbus House in New Haven, Connecticut

My success at Columbus House as a full-time SOAR Benefit Specialist working with Veterans who are experiencing or are at risk of homelessness stems from four primary areas: education and training, experience, advocacy (go above and beyond), and the Medical Summary Report (benefits and drawbacks).

With the deadline for the next round of Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) approaching on February 3rd, we want to highlight how important the integration of SOAR into SSVF programs has been in ending homelessness for Veterans with disabling conditions.

As we move closer to the goal of ending Veteran homelessness in 2016, income stability for Veterans with disabling conditions continues to grow in importance. We encourage providers to explore all disability benefits a Veteran may be eligible for, particularly those offered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).