Promoting and protecting the health and safety of all Idahoans
Español    About Us    Contact Us  

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR)


Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR):   An Overview


SOAR Online Application Tracking (OAT) Webinar

The Issue
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are disability income benefits administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that also provide Medicaid and/or Medicare health insurance to individuals who are eligible. The application process for SSI/SSDI is complicated and difficult to navigate. Nationally, about 37 percent of individuals who apply for these benefits are approved on initial application and appeals take an average of two years to complete.

For people who are homeless or who are returning to the community from institutions (jails, prisons or hospitals), access to these programs can be extremely challenging. Approval on initial application for people who are homeless and who have no one to assist them is about 10-15 percent. For those who have a mental illness, substance use issues, or co-occurring disorders that impair cognition, the application process is even more difficult – yet accessing these benefits is often a critical first step in recovery.

A Solution
SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR) is an approach that helps states increase access to mainstream benefits for people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness through:
  • Strategic Planning Meeting(s) to establish collaboration among key state and/or local stakeholders and to develop an action plan for implementing the SOAR approach (e.g. SSA and Disability Determination Services (DDS); State Mental Health Agency and Department of Corrections leadership; and community homeless, health and behavioral health providers).
  • Training of case managers using SAMHSA’s Stepping Stones to Recovery curriculum that includes a step-by-step explanation of an improved SSI/SSDI application process. A Train-the-Trainer program allows for expansion and sustainability.
  • Technical Assistance to states and communities including support for action plan implementation, training observations with feedback, and assistance with tracking outcomes in order to document success and help access additional resources.


  • Since 2006, there have been 8,978 decisions on initial applications reported by 37 states; nearly 4,600 decisions in 2010 alone.
  • The allowance or approval rate on initial applications was 73 percent in an average of 91 days (from date of application submission to date of decision).
  • In 2010 alone, SSI/SSDI brought at least $53,041,104 into the state and local economies of the 37 states reporting outcomes.



We are currently offering trainings in the Treasure Valley area (regions IV & III).  We do not offer trainings in other regions, but as SOAR continues to grow, so will our training staff.  Our goal within the next 5 years is to have the State of Idaho committed to using the SOAR process!  Click on a trainer's name to submit an email training request. Thank you for your interest and patience. 


Region IV (Ada County and surrounding areas):


John Kirsch

Katy Kujawski

Region III (Canyon County and surrounding areas):

SOAR Online Data Tracking Application (OAT)

Being a SOAR state means tracking outcomes of all SOAR applications, including initial applications, appeals, and even Administrative Law Judge hearings. Our Web-Based Data Tracking system ensures efficient and accurate data reporting. Every agency and case manager that gets trained in SOAR will register in the OAT system and then input their SOAR data into the easy to use online program. We have a Data Liaison, Michael Armand, to help with any questions in this process. Feel free to e-mail Michael at

or call him at (208) 332-7238.


If an agency or organization wants to request SOAR training they need contact John Kirsch, the SOAR state Lead at or by phone at (208) 334-6680. Please have the following information available:

  • Proposed training dates (needs to be at least 4-6 weeks out)
  • Two consecutive days or four consecutive days
  • How many staff your agency would like to send (The trainer will coordinate dates and times with the requesting agency.)  The training can be 2 full days (16 hours) or 4 half days (4 hours per day).  
  • It is highly recommended to train staff that will be committed to using the SOAR process.  Please don’t send staff that can’t be supported by the agency/organization to use SOAR

We would like to train the maximum amount of people that would use the SOAR process. The maximum amount is 30 the minimum amount is 15. The trainers will try to recruit others, however if we cannot get minimum number of participants then we will put the agency on a wait list until we have enough people to train.

The trainer will send the agency/organization a registration flyer to be completed by staff that will be attending the training. They will need to have the registration form completed and sent back via fax or email to the trainer no later than 1-2 weeks before the training dates. If there are open spots available the trainers will offer them until the class is full or until minimum number has been reached.

If a staff member failed to get his/her registration completed in the time allotted and maximum capacity has been reached, they will be put on a wait list until the next available training.

In addition to the registration flyer, a Memorandum of Understanding will be included. The MOU will need to be signed by the supervisor or director of the agency/organization before the training can take place.

It is the agency/organization’s obligation to find training space and offer refreshments. The room needs to accommodate 30-40 people classroom style (25 participants, two-three trainers, and one SSA representative).

The trainers will supply training material and supplies that each participant gets to keep.

Certificate of Attendance will be given after the training.  CEUs are not guaranteed.