SOAR Initiative

SOAR Initiative
Coordinating with
the Local Continuum
of Care
Sue Augustus
[email protected]
SOAR Initiative
What is SOAR?
SOAR Initiative
Why we do what we do
“Facilitating applications for disability benefits is
perhaps the single most important intervention
clinicians can offer to minimize the health risks
associated with poverty and to assure a better
quality of life for many homeless people.”
Jim O’Connell, MD, Boston HCH Program
(Documenting Disability, p.4)
SOAR Initiative
Defining SOAR
SOAR is a national training initiative developed
by Policy Research Associates, funded by the
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
Administration (SAMHSA), designed to teach
front-line staff members how to assemble
successful SSI/SSDI applications for eligible
adults who are homeless or at risk of
homelessness, with a serious mental illness and
and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder.
SOAR Initiative
Disability Defined
From Social Security Act:
“[the inability] to engage in any
substantial gainful activity by reason
of any medically determinable
physical or mental impairment which
can be expected to result in death or
which has lasted or can be expected
to last for a continuous period of not
less than 12 months.”
SOAR Initiative
Why is this method beneficial?
SOAR is a proven strategy  helps individuals who are homeless with serious
mental illness access benefits quickly and efficiently
 helps reduce homelessness in by assisting in the
SSI/SSDI application process to gain financial
 SOAR assists hospitals in fulfilling “community
benefits” requirements by helping to reduce public
health care costs, homelessness, and generate costrecovery data.
 Success depends upon agencies serving the
target population to navigate the process.
SOAR Initiative
SOAR-certified case managers –
educate medical staff on how to
document the medical record to meet
the Social Security and Medicaid
disability standards.
assist in the collection of medical records
and supportive documentation during
the assembly of successful SSI/SSDI
SOAR Initiative
SOAR is in all 50 states
National average of 29% success on first application
without SOAR (for people who are homeless it is 1015%)
Illinois has a 69% success rate using SOAR
Demonstrated success rates on initial application:
Overall average of 65% in 100 days
7 states have 87 percent approval rate
SOAR TA delivered to CofCs – Suburban Alliance
has current SOAR TA
Illinois SOAR Initiative
Advocates and Supporters
 City of Chicago
 Corporation for Supportive Housing
 DuPage Federation on Human Services Reform
 Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC)
 Illinois Department of Human Services/Div. of Mental Health
 Social Security Administration (SSA)
 Supportive Housing Providers Association (SHPA)
 Policy Research Associates (PRA)
 Prairie State Legal Services (PSLS)
 200+ Community Service Provider agencies
SOAR Initiative
Critical Components for SOAR Implementation
1. Staffing, Submission and Processing of
2. Collaboration
3. Training and Follow Up
4. Quality Review, Tracking Outcomes
and Sustainability
5. Leadership and Planning
News on SOAR
A statewide coordinator is starting in August –a
VISTA located at DuPage Federation.
• New on-line curriculum that anyone can take to
become SOAR certified.
• At the end of the modules, you will submit a practice
SSI application - get SOAR certified and 16 CEUs –
New funding under proposed
1115 waiver
Under the incentive pool program […] plans and
providers could utilize incentive payments to
pay for […] completion of SOAR applications.
These incentives are aimed at individuals with
severe mental illness (SMI) and/or substance
use disorders (SUD), including, but not limited to
those who are homeless.
SOAR in Chicago
• Get more case managers trained;
• Find funding to create a cadre of case managers
who only do SOAR cases, or who specialize in
SOAR cases;
• Set up local technical assistance and quality
• Engage local hospitals and clinics to streamline
the medical records process;
• Work to get state legislation to provide one free
medical record (or reduced cost) to SOAR
Next Steps
• We have several trainers in Chicago who
will help us get started;
• Get a cohort of folks to take the on-line
• Identify local leads.
• For more information, please contact me
at [email protected]

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