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 29 percent of individuals who apply for these benefits are approved on initial application and appeals take an average of one year
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.
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) bring key state/local stakeholders together to collaborate, agree upon a SOAR Process for the submission and processing of SSI/SSDI applications, and develop an action plan for the implementation of their SOAR Program (e.g. Social Security Administration (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. Available in-person or online, this training includes a step-by-step explanation of an improved SSI/SSDI application process. A Leadership Academy program creates strong local leaders to support SOAR-trained case managers and coordinate local SOAR programs.
- 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, over 19,000 initial SOAR SSI/SSDI applications have been approved.
- The allowance or approval rate on initial SOAR applications averages 65 percent in an average of 100 days (from date of application submission to date of decision).
- In 2013 alone, SSI/SSDI brought at least $188 million into the state and local economies of the 48 states reporting outcomes.
For more information, e-mail us at SOARinquiries@dhw.idaho.gov or visit www.prainc.com/soar