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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
Welcome! Pamela J. Fischer, Ph.D. Homeless Programs Branch Center for Mental Health Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Agenda SOAR and Employment: Creating Hope –Jen Elder, Senior Project Associate, SAMHSA SOAR Technical Assistance Center, Policy Research Associates, Inc. SSAs 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 Recovery 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 training Find your State
Working for More than Income Self-worth and self-confidence Define a role for the person in the community 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 arent 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 (PASS) Impairment -Related Work Expense (IRWE) 1619B (Medicaid)
SSDI Work Incentives Trial Work Period (TWP) Extended Period of Eligibility(EPE) Subsidy Impairment Related Work Expense (IRWE)
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 cant 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 recommended. Reporting to SSA
1.Allows SSI recipients to work and keep a portion of their cash benefit. 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 accordingly. 3.Allows a beneficiary to gradually move from public support to self sufficiency. 4.Means that check amounts change as often as income changes. Law Provision 1619A- SSI
Gross Monthly Earnings $ Federal Benefit Rate $ General Income Exclusion - $20.00Total Countable- $ Countable Earnings$380.00Federal Portion$ Earned Income Exclusion - $65.00NJ Supplement$31.25 Countable Earnings$315.00Actual Check$ Divide by Total Gross Income$ Income Test Formula- Earnings
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. Law Provision- 1619B
Unless medical recovery is an issue, beneficiaries are entitled to a Trial Work Period (TWP) 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 $ hr. 9 mo. 60 mo. window All earnings Trial Work Period-SSDI
1.Begins month following 9 th 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 Extended Period of Eligibility-SSDI
EASY back on! 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 related 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 non-consecutively Expedited Reinstatement (EXR)
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
Tickets to Work are used to access employment support services. Ticket to Work
Employment Support Services The simplified definition of Employment Support Service is assistance in the following areas: Preparing for work Getting work Retaining 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 CDRs cannot be conducted 6.If a beneficiary doesnt make timely progress, Ticket usage is suspended and a CDR is conducted immediately. Using a Ticket to Work
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 ENs only offer selected employment support services, and may not offer services to certain beneficiaries, so it is recommended to research ENs in your area. A listing of ENs is available at For more information, visit
Resources For more information on SSAs work incentives, visit: SSA Web site (www.socialsecurity.gov/work)www.socialsecurity.gov/work –Ticket to Work: Employment and VR Services –(www.choosework.net)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 https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/oesp/providers.nsf/bystate https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/oesp/providers.nsf/bystate Disability Program Navigators (DPNs) –Department of Labor, One-Stop Career Centers –http://www.doleta.gov/disabilityhttp://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 SSA BEST outcomes are better than the national average (FY % 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.
Homelessness Addictions Mental Illness Chronic Health Problems Trauma Lack of Insurance Unemployment Criminality Supportive Housing Transformative Care Integrated Healthcare Positive Peer Relationships Legitimate income for self-sufficiency benefits.
Volunteerism, Training and Employment Options that fit a variety of employment readiness – volunteerism, training and employment. Population specific employment programs for veterans and those exiting incarceration Nationally-recognized employment development model.
Career center with 19 computers, phones, resume paper, etc. 16 employment specialists providing individualized support 876 individuals served through individualized employment programs 532 individuals (60%) employed through 459 employers Average hourly wage $10.43 CCC Employment Access Center
Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Model of Supported Employment Principles: 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 individuals level of functioning in the work place Employment better than SSI Address the fear
Becoming An Employment Network Christopher Evans, Program Director Columbus House New Haven, Connecticut
Pathways to Independence: Combining SOAR & employment incomes with a holistic approach to recovery and housing. Using holistic, recovery-based incentives to support individuals to engage in employment.
Maximize our clients access to income Provide accesses to healthcare providers Facilitate and grow opportunities for client employment Educational support and assistance for clients financial stability Identify and secure housing options in the community Goals of the Pathways Program
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 Sustainability
Funded in part by the United Way of Greater New Haven 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 (EEC)
A 60 hour rigorous program for people who wish to better themselves through education and enrichment. Classes include: Intro to Computers Math 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! The Employment and Enrichment Center
Career Resources / Connect To Work New Haven One Stop / CT Labor Office STRIVE Veterans Affairs Bureau of Rehabilitation Project WAGE Sustainability Partners