Texas SOAR Initiative
SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR)
SOAR (SSI/SSDI, Outreach, Access, and Recovery) is a national project designed to increase access to SSI/SSDI benefits for eligible adults who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and have a mental illness and/or co-occurring substance use disorder. On average, of the cases where homeless individuals submit a traditional SSI/SSDI application without outside help, 15% are approved upon their initial application. Using SOAR, the success rate for initial SSI/SSDI applications in Texas has risen to 65%. THN knows that we can improve that number by helping more communities implement successful SOAR processing.
As the state lead, THN is committed to working with communities throughout Texas to develop effective strategies to expand participation with the SOAR program by providing technical assistance and other administrative support.
To see how this all works, please click here.
Watch the video to see how SOARWorks!
THN VISTA SOAR Coordinator
The goal of the VISTA SOAR project is to place qualified members in a handful of targeted communities to help with the expanding participation with the SOAR program. The VISTA member will focus on coordinating meetings with community providers, organizing statewide partners, and assembling case manager work groups.
SOAR Outcome Data
To view the national 2015 SOAR Outcomes Summary Report, please click here.
SOAR FAQ Sheet:
How does the SOAR model benefit local individuals experiencing homelessness and the greater community?
- By connecting clients experiencing homelessness to their SSI/SSDI benefits, individuals are provided an avenue to safe housing and other stabilizing services. Once clients are successfully housed, they become significantly less dependent on expensive emergency crisis services. Furthermore, after clients begin receiving their SSI/SSDI benefits, local hospitals can be reimbursed for any past uncompensated medical care.
What population(s) is the SOAR model designed for?
- SOAR applications can be completed for homeless individuals and/or individuals at risk of experiencing homelessness who also live with a physical and/or mental health impairment. Substance addiction does not automatically disqualify clients from receiving SSI/SSDI benefits, but the addiction must co-occur with the clients’ other physical impairments and/or mental health challenges.
How is the SOAR model different than the standard application process for SSI/SSDI benefits?
- Primarily, the SOAR model improves the likelihood of connecting clients experiencing homelessness with their benefits by privileging the caseworker’s role in the SSI/SSDI application process. During their SOAR training, caseworkers are educated on what information is most critical for helping the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Disability Determination Services (DDS) make accurate decisions. By following the SOAR model’s guidelines, caseworkers work to collect personal and medical information that indicate the severity of their clients’ disability. Upon submission, SOAR applications are specially flagged, and are sent to the DDS unit dedicated to reviewing SOAR applications. While the average SOAR application demands more time during the initial application process, SOAR applications are far more likely than other SSI/SSDI applications to receive approval without any need for appeal.
How should my community go about setting up SOAR trainings?