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SOAR Initiative Coordinating with the Local Continuum of Care Sue Augustus

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1 SOAR Initiative Coordinating with the Local Continuum of Care Sue Augustus

2 SOAR Initiative What is SOAR? SSI/SSDI Outreach Access Recovery SSI/SSDI Outreach Access Recovery

3 “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 Why we do what we do

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.

5 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.” ( bluebook/general-info.htm) ( bluebook/general-info.htm) SOAR Initiative

6 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 stability  SOAR assists hospitals in fulfilling “community benefits” requirements by helping to reduce public health care costs, homelessness, and generate cost- recovery data.  Success depends upon agencies serving the target population to navigate the process.

7 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 applications.

8 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 10- 15%)  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

9 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 (DMH)  Social Security Administration (SSA)  Supportive Housing Providers Association (SHPA)  Policy Research Associates (PRA)  Prairie State Legal Services (PSLS)  200+ Community Service Provider agencies

10 SOAR Initiative Critical Components for SOAR Implementation 1.Staffing, Submission and Processing of Applications 2.Collaboration 3.Training and Follow Up 4.Quality Review, Tracking Outcomes and Sustainability 5.Leadership and Planning

11 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 – free! outreach-access-and-recovery-soar-online-training outreach-access-and-recovery-soar-online-training

12 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.

13 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 assurance; 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 applicants.

14 Next Steps We have several trainers in Chicago who will help us get started; Get a cohort of folks to take the on-line curriculum; Identify local leads. For more information, please contact me at

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