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SOAR and Employment
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SOAR and Employment
Presented by:
SAMHSA SOAR Technical Assistance Center
Policy Research Associates, Inc.
Under contract to:
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Webinar Instructions
Question instructions
Recording availability
Downloading documents
Pamela J. Fischer, Ph.D.
Homeless Programs Branch
Center for Mental Health Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services
SOAR and Employment: Creating Hope
– Jen Elder, Senior Project Associate, SAMHSA SOAR Technical
Assistance Center, Policy Research Associates, Inc.
SSA’s Work Incentives
– Greg Makely, Director, New Jersey WINS, Family Resource Network
From Homeless to Working: Changing Lives
– Jennifer Wilcox, Program Manager, Central City Concern, Employment
Access Center
Becoming an Employment Network
– Chris Evans, Manager, Pathways to Independence, Columbus House
The Benefits of Working and Providing Support
– Bernadette Barbour, Employment Specialist, Columbus House
Questions and Answers
SOAR and Employment:
Creating Hope
Jen Elder
SAMHSA SOAR Technical Assistance Center
Policy Research Associates, Inc.
SOAR Technical Assistance Initiative
SOAR stands for SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and
The SOAR Technical Assistance Center helps
states and communities increase access to SSA
disability benefits for people who are homeless or at
risk for homelessness
Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in
collaboration with SSA since 2005
All 50 states currently participate; no direct funding
provided to states
SOAR Outcomes
Since 2006, more than 10,500 persons
experiencing homelessness or at risk for
homelessness have been approved for
SSI/SSDI on initial application
71 percent approval rate on average
In an average of 101 days
Length of time homeless averaged 2 years
SOAR Training
2-day Stepping Stones to Recovery
Find your State
Working for More than Income
Self-worth and self-confidence
Define a role for the person in the
Foster a connection to others
Add structure to daily life
Critical step in recovery
Common Myths
Benefits and health insurance end
immediately when start working
You can only work part-time while
receiving disability
If Social Security knows you are
working, they will say you aren’t
disabled anymore
SOAR as an Agent of Hope
Employment is possible during and after
an application for SSI/SSDI
Develop expertise in work incentives
offered by SSA and give examples of
how work will affect benefits
Identify and collaborate with employment
support services
Greg Makely
Director of Employment Services
SSI Work Incentives
Income Exclusion
Plan to Achieve Self-Support
Impairment -Related Work
Expense (IRWE)
1619B (Medicaid)
SSDI Work Incentives
Trial Work Period (TWP)
Extended Period of Eligibility(EPE)
Impairment Related Work
Expense (IRWE)
Reporting to SSA
1. Always use copies of check stubs to report earnings
2. Always keep copies of everything you submit
3. Do your best to submit them in person at the SSA Office for
your zip code area.
4. Always get a receipt from the Claims Rep before leaving the
SSA Office.
5. If you can’t submit in person, send it certified mail,
so you have proof SSA received it.
6. Proof can be used to file a request for reconsideration or a
waiver of overpayment.
7. You may report your earnings over the phone, but this is not
Law Provision 1619A- SSI
1. Allows SSI recipients to work and keep a portion of their cash
2. Established an income test formula, through which all
earned and unearned income is run in order to decide what
the ongoing need is, so that the check can be adjusted
3. Allows a beneficiary to gradually move from public support to
self sufficiency.
4. Means that check amounts change as often as income
Income Test Formula- Earnings
Gross Monthly
2012 Federal Benefit
General Income
- $20.00
Total Countable
- $157.50
Countable Earnings
Federal Portion
Earned Income
- $65.00
NJ Supplement
Countable Earnings
Actual Check
Divide by 2
Total Gross Income
Law Provision- 1619B
• Allows for a beneficiary to remain eligible for
Medicaid after SSI check stops, as long as the
check was lost due to earned income or 2 special
types of unearned income exclusions.
• Allows a beneficiary to remain eligible for
resumption of cash benefits for 12 months.
• Has an annual earnings threshold.
Trial Work Period-SSDI
• Unless medical recovery is an issue,
beneficiaries are entitled to a Trial Work Period
• TWP provides opportunities to test work skills
while maintaining full benefit checks
• Begins first month of entitlement to benefits
• The Trial Work Amount is annually indexed
Extended Period of Eligibility-SSDI
1. Begins month following 9th TWP
2. 36 consecutive months
3. Eligible for check when earning below the current
Substantial Gainful Activity figure
4. First time at or above SGA, a 3-month “Grace
Period” will kick in
5. After “Grace Period,” ineligible for a check during
months earnings are at or above SGA
6. Remain eligible for Medicare, even when ineligible
for a check
Expedited Reinstatement (EXR)
1. Eligible for EXR up to 60 months after EPE or the loss of
check eligibility, which may fall outside the EPE, if
beneficiary again falls below SGA
2. The reason for falling back under SGA must be disability
3. Up to 6 provisional checks are issued during the
determination process
4. If not reinstated, may be able to keep provisional checks
5. If reinstated, starting with the first provisional check, a
beneficiary receives 24 more months of checks, but
After 24 Months of EXR
Beneficiaries are entitled to:
• A new Trial Work Period
• A new Extended Period of Eligibility
• A new 60 month period of Extended
Medicare coverage
• Expedited Reinstatement of Benefits, should
disability dictate the need for such
Ticket to Work
Tickets to Work are used to access
employment support services.
Employment Support Services
The simplified definition of Employment
Support Service is assistance in the
following areas:
• Preparing for work
• Getting work
• Retaining work
Using a Ticket to Work
1. Can be used immediately, shelved and used later, not used
at all
2. Has no bearing on SSI and SSDI Work Incentives
3. Can be assigned to an Employment Network (EN) or State
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Agency.
4. An IWP (Individual Work Plan) must be signed by the
beneficiary and EN representative and submitted.
5. While in use, a ticket is a CDR (Continuing Disability
Review) protection, meaning CDR’s cannot be conducted
6. If a beneficiary doesn’t make timely progress, Ticket usage is
suspended and a CDR is conducted immediately.
Employment Networks (ENs)
An EN is an entity that contracts with SSA to either provide
or coordinate the delivery of the necessary employment
services to Social Security disability beneficiaries.
Most EN’s only offer selected employment support
services, and may not offer services to certain
beneficiaries, so it is recommended to research EN’s in
your area.
A listing of EN’s is available at www.yourtickettowork.org
For more information, visit www.chooseworkttw.net
For more information on SSA’s work
incentives, visit:
SSA Web site (www.socialsecurity.gov/work)
– Ticket to Work: Employment and VR Services
– (www.choosework.net)
– Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) Program
– Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security
(PABSS or P&A)
– Service Provider Directory for WIPA and P&A
Disability Program Navigators (DPNs)
– Department of Labor, One-Stop Career Centers
– http://www.doleta.gov/disability
From Homeless to Working:
Changing Lives
Jennifer Wilcox, Program Director
Central City Concern
Portland, Oregon
Formed in 1979 as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization
Provides housing, health and employment services to
more than 13,000 unduplicated individuals yearly
$41 million annual budget
600+ employees
46% of CCC employees self identify as being in recovery
from substance abuse disorders. (650 employees)
25% of CCC employees are former recipients of our
continuum of care.
Mission: Providing comprehensive solutions to ending
homelessness and achieving self-sufficiency.
Central City Concern
Benefits and Entitlement Specialist Team (BEST)
Trained team of dedicated SSI/SSD Benefit Specialists
whom submit very complete disability applications to
BEST outcomes are better than the national average
(FY 2010-2011- 84% awarded federal benefits/national
average 32%)
BEST applicants had an income increase of over 900%
per month. At the start of services BEST clients had an
average income of $63 per month. At
exit, their incomes averaged $683 per month.
Transformative Care
Supportive Housing
Legitimate income
for self-sufficiency
Mental Illness
Chronic Health
Lack of Insurance
Positive Peer
Volunteerism, Training and Employment
Options that fit a variety of
employment readiness –
volunteerism, training and
Population specific employment
programs for veterans and
those exiting incarceration
employment development
CCC Employment Access Center
Career center with 19
computers, phones, resume
paper, etc.
16 employment specialists
providing individualized
876 individuals served through
individualized employment
532 individuals (60%)
employed through 459
Average hourly wage $10.43
Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Model of
Supported Employment
 Open to anyone who wants to work
 Rapid Job Search
 Integrated with Treatment
 Focus on Competitive Employment
 Systematic Job development
 Client preferences guide decisions
 Individualized long term supports
Working While Waiting for Benefits
Adds weight to the claim
– Proves willingness to work
– Can strengthen proof of disability
– Can speak to the individual’s level of
functioning in the work place
Employment better than SSI
Address the fear
Becoming An Employment
Christopher Evans, Program Director
Columbus House
New Haven, Connecticut
Pathways to Independence:
Combining SOAR & employment incomes
with a holistic approach to recovery and
Using holistic, recovery-based incentives to
support individuals to engage in
Goals of the Pathways Program
Maximize our client’s access to income
Provide accesses to healthcare providers
Facilitate and grow opportunities for client
Educational support and assistance for
client’s financial stability
Identify and secure housing options in the
Columbus House: Key Players in Pathways
– SOAR Case Manager -- 1
– Employment Specialists -- 2
– Outreach and Engagement Case Managers -- 4
– Recovery Support Specialists & Educators -- 4
– Scattered Site Case Managers -- 4
– Shelter Case Managers – 3
– Transitional Housing Case Managers - 3
– GPRA Intake & Services Coordinator - 1
The Employment and
Enrichment Center (EEC)
Funded in part by the United Way of Greater New
Through Education, Enrichment and Employment,
graduates will discover:
– Greater Self-Esteem
– Stronger Recovery from addiction
– Better control of psychiatric symptoms
– Greater Confidence
– Greater Life Satisfaction
– Enjoy a life worth living
– Have a life worth saving
The Employment and
Enrichment Center
A 60 hour rigorous program for people who wish to better themselves
through education and enrichment.
Classes include:
Intro to Computers
Reading & Comprehension
Resume and Cover Letter Writing
Employment and Search Tools
Interviewing Skills
Key Train, ONET training & job identification
Wellness & Recovery Action Plan (WRAP)
Starting Your Own Business
And More!
Sustainability Partners
Career Resources / Connect To Work
New Haven One Stop / CT Labor Office
Veteran’s Affairs
Bureau of Rehabilitation
Project WAGE
Outcomes: 10/2011-09/2012
SOAR: 17 awarded, Total received, FY1 ~$241,200
Employment: 131 employed, 18 F-T, 23 P-T, 90 Temp.
Employment earnings: ~$200,450
Gross earnings (both programs): ~$441,650
Taxes paid (20%,both programs): ~$88,330
Circulating in local economy (x3): ~$1,059,960
The Benefits of Working and
Providing Support
Bernadette Barbour, Employment Specialist
Columbus House
New Haven, Connecticut
Providing Support
Peer Experience
Employment Spectrum
Job Developing
Employment and Training
– Ronald’s Story
EEC Trainings
– Mark’s Story
Questions and Answers
Facilitated By:
For More Information on SOAR
Visit the SOAR website at www.prainc.com/soar
Policy Research Associates, Inc.
[email protected]
Twitter: @soarworks

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