SOAR August eNews

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August - 2015
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Contact Us SSA Webinars SOAR Voices Blog

Federal Partners Release Key Strategies for Connecting People Experiencing Homelessness to SSI/SSDI 

On July 14, 2015, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), the Social Security Administration (SSA), the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released Key Strategies for Connecting People Experiencing Homelessness to SSI/SSDI. This document provides guidance and best practices for collaborating with community partners and SSA field offices to help individuals experiencing homelessness successfully navigate the SSI/SSDI application process. Guidance also focuses on encouraging individuals to utilize SSA work incentives after approval for SSI/SSDI.
    Increasing Access to Income and Benefits Strategies
  for SSI and SSDI panel
On July 15, 2015, Jen Elder, SOAR TA Center Senior Project Associate, participated on a panel at the National Conference on Ending Homelessness in Washington, D.C. to roll out the Key Strategies document. Jen, along with Lindsay Knotts (USICH), Pamela Fischer (SAMHSA), ML Jordan, Jr. (SSA), and Adrienne Melendez (VA), presented highlights from the document and received enthusiastic feedback from attendees. We encourage everyone to read through the Key Strategies, and to distribute it to community partners. Most SOAR providers will recognize many of the strategies contained in the document, as they highlight best practices established by SOAR providers over the past 10 years! 

CABHI Recipients

Congratulations to the states that have been awarded SAMHSA's Cooperative Agreements to Benefit Homeless Individuals for States (CABHI) grants! We are thrilled to hear of all the new SOAR benefits specialists that these grants will make possible!
Under this award, CABHI recipients will:
  • Improve statewide strategies to address planning, coordination, and integration of behavioral health and primary care services and permanent housing to reduce homelessness
  • Increase the number of individuals, residing in permanent housing, who receive behavioral health treatment and recovery support services
  • Increase the number of individuals placed in permanent housing and enrolled in Medicaid and other mainstream benefits, including SSI/SSDI

Sharing Our Successes

South Dakota: Last month, SOAR TA Center team members Abigail Lemon and Pam Root set out on a road trip across the state of South Dakota to reenergize the SOAR initiative.  The first stop was Sioux Falls, where they held a SOAR meeting with community members to increase interest for SOAR.  Next up was a meeting with the SOAR State Team Lead in Pierre, followed by a SOAR forum in Rapid City.  The forum and meetings were a great success and we are looking forward to seeing SOAR "soar" in South Dakota!
Do you have a SOAR success story to share? E-mail us at

Federal Updates

Important Information for Same-Sex Couples from Social Security

On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, holding that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry in all states.  As a result, more same-sex couples will be recognized as married for purposes of determining entitlement to Social Security benefits or eligibility for SSI payments. Read the full article.

Recent Stories from the SOAR Voices Blog

SOAR Turns Ten!

I read with tremendous nostalgia Kristin's July 6 email to State and Local SOAR Leaders. Wow, SOAR is 10 years old this year...  I recalled so many incredible memories as I reflected on the 10th birthday of SOAR. Read the full blog.

Liaison Spotlight: Pamela Heine

Get to know SOAR Project Associate, Pamela Heine, in this new blog. Find out what states she works with, her favorite travel story, and her favorite SOAR success story! Read the full blog.

Paying it Forward with SOAR

Peer support has used SOAR as a lifeline for individuals who seem to feel as if there is little hope in them ever getting back on their feet.  SOAR allows me to give individuals hope that there is a special program with a team of individuals collaborating to help them be successful in the SSI/SSDI process. Read the full blog.

Upcoming Events

Leadership Academy 2015 

September 1-3, 2015 - Denver, CO

SOAR Webinar - Save the Date!

The SOAR Medical Summary Report 
September 10, 2015; 3:00-4:30 p.m. ET
Contact your SOAR State Liaison for more information!
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