SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) is a program designed to increase access to Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for eligible adults who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and have a mental illness, medical impairment, and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder.
SOAR was co-developed by Deborah Dennis, Director of Technical Assistance and Training at Policy Research Associates and Yvonne Perret, Director of Advocacy and Training Center in Cumberland Maryland and has been funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) since 2009. The SOAR TA Center coordinates the implementation of state and local-level SOAR Programs at no cost to the communities it serves.
SOAR is a training program for direct service workers who, once trained, understand Disability Determination Services and Social Security Administration's requirements and the need for appropriate documentation, decreasing the time to issue determinations and reducing the need for appeals.
The national approval rate for initial applications for SSI / SSDI 26 percent but only 10-15 percent for individuals experiencing homelessness and have no one to assist with their application. With SOAR, the average approval rate in 2015 was 64 percent for individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
For more information on the SOAR initiative, please contact the Kansas SOAR State Leads Melissa Bogart-Starkey and Korrie Snell, or visit the SOAR website at https://soarworks.prainc.com/.