Online Program

Expediting access to social security disability benefits for people experiencing homelessness: Samhsa's soar program

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 2:30 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

Jen Elder, MSc, SAMHSA SOAR Technical Assistance Center, Policy Research Associates, Inc., Delmar, NY
SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR), is a federal program sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to increase access to disability benefits among people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. Approval rates for first-time applications for SSI/SSDI among adults who are homeless can be as low as 10%. All 50 states and the District of Columbia participate in SOAR, and since 2006, 44 states implementing SOAR have reported 10,526 approvals on 14,864 initial applications. The allowance rate on these applications was 71% in an average of 101 days using the SOAR model. With the receipt of SSI/SSDI and Medicaid/Medicare benefits, individuals experiencing homelessness achieve improved health and housing outcomes. In addition, SOAR providers document reduced recidivism in the criminal justice system and increased funding for health and mental health care providers through Medicaid/Medicare reimbursement. SOAR has found that collaboration between states and communities is key to achieving housing, financial stability and recovery for their most vulnerable residents. This presentation will focus on best practices from SOAR programs around the country and will identify action steps necessary to support local SOAR efforts both systemically and financially. Access to SSI/SSDI income will remain essential with the full implementation of health care reform and the Medicaid expansion, and the presentation will discuss ways to incorporate benefits acquisition in health care reform efforts. Participants will be provided a toolkit with step-by-step instructions, sample materials and examples of successful models.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Program planning
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the SOAR model of expediting access to disability benefits for people who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness. Explain why local community collaborations are essential for benefits acquisition programs. Compare how providers have funded and sustained benefit acquisition efforts.

Keyword(s): Disability, Homelessness

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Senior Project Associate at the SAMHSA SOAR Technical Assistance Center and am responsible for facilitating community planning forums, training SOAR practitioners and providing national SOAR technical assistance.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.