SOAR September eNews

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September - 2015
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Contact Us SSA Webinars SOAR Voices Blog

SOAR and Coordinated Entry

Across the country HUD-funded Continua of Care are planning for and implementing coordinated entry systems.  Coordinated entry is designed to link individuals to appropriate services through one key point of entry; for potential SOAR applicants it is important to link them to trained SOAR case managers.  The SOAR TA Center has developed a series of five questions that may be incorporated into a community's coordinated entry system in order to identify potential SOAR applicants.  Many communities also use the VI-SPDAT as a compliment to coordinated entry; we have identified specific questions that would help indicate potential eligibility for SSA disability benefits and appropriate SOAR referral. Check out the document here

Sharing Our Successes

Examining the Benefits of SOAR: A Baltimore Case Study

Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) in Baltimore City, Maryland followed up with former SOAR clients who were approved for benefits to gather data and conduct interviews regarding the applicants' long-term outcomes. The evaluation, led by Emily Saari, revealed exciting data about how SOAR promotes stability and recovery:
  • The percentage of individuals living in their own housing rose from 9 percent pre-SOAR to 72 percent post-SOAR
  • Eighty-four percent of SOAR beneficiaries reported that receiving benefits helped them access treatment and supportive services
  • Approximately two-thirds of SOAR beneficiaries reported that their mental health improved as a result of obtaining benefits
The evaluation contained many exciting results, and we invite you to read the briefing of the HCH study and the full report.


Congratulations to Phoenix's Loren Gallegly, SOAR Case Manager with Lodestar Day Resource Center, for having reported to SSA his first perfect quarter, with four approvals on four submitted applications! Loren has received an 100% allowance rate in an average of 45 days! Loren's win steak continues with eight allowances in a row.  Congratulations, Loren -- we hope your streak continues!


Pam Ford of South Florida Behavioral Health Network, Inc. in Miami, Florida sent us this incredible success story: "J was homeless, in the streets of downtown Miami for 2 years. He suffers from a mental health disability. He had never received any type of benefit assistance at all, had never been to the clinic, and didn't know how to go about navigating the system. A street outreach team, composed of Camillus Health and City of Miami homeless outreach workers found him and began establishing rapport with him. The outreach team saw him daily and was able to help him obtain identification, food stamps, a government cell phone, as well as medical and mental health care, sometimes right in the streets, sometimes in the clinic. The outreach team assisted with a SOAR application, and he was approved by DDS 8 days after the application was submitted to SSA.

In the meantime, we were able to get him into a room at Camillus Shelter. Our Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team was able to provide more intense case management, such as taking him food shopping, taking him to get his Social Security card, taking him to cash his checks, and they are now actively looking for an apartment for him. J now also has a disabled buss pass that allows him to more easily move about the community. He is enrolled in Medicaid, which allows the providers to more easily refer him to much needed specialist appointments at Jackson Memorial Hospital. J is happy that he is off the streets, that he is piecing his life back together, and that he will soon have a place of his own. He considers the outreach team his family. SOAR was a very important component of his journey to recovery."

What an incredible story, Pam! Thank you for sharing J's recovery story with us, and keep SOARing!

Do you have a SOAR success story to share? E-mail us at

Federal Updates

HUD-VASH Extraordinary Administrative Fees Funding

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has set-aside $10,000,000 from the Administrative Fee account that could be allocated to public housing authorities that need additional funds to administer their Section 8 programs. Learn more about the funding opportunity.

HUD Launches Resource Locator App

HUD has unveiled the HUD Resource Locator -- an innovative mobile app and website to further expand and enhance traditional HUD customer service.  The resource locator will offer real-time HUD housing information at the fingertips of people looking to quickly connect with building managers, public housing authority representatives, and property management companies to inquire about housing availability and other housing-related questions. Read the full press release.

SOAR Job Postings

The Colorado Disability Benefits Support Program is hiring a part-time Office Administrator, based in Denver, Colorado.

The Texas Homeless Network is seeking AmeriCorps VISTA members to serve as SOAR Coordinators in Harlingen, Laredo, Lubbock, and Tyler, Texas.

Visit for more information on these job postings.

Recent Stories from the SOAR Voices Blog

"All Evidence" Rule

On April 20, 2015, SSA's new "all evidence" regulations went into effect.  See our webinar recording from June and read our SSA's New "All" Evidence Rule: What does this mean for the SOAR Practitioner? article for more details on the rule and what it may mean for SOAR practitioners. Read the full blog.

Story of Gratitude

I started on my very first SOAR application in June 2013, with fear and trepidation over its arduous protocol.  I've now completed eight of them, with two more in the pipeline.  I'm always so aware that all the details of difficulty that someone shares with me, for the purpose of writing the SOAR narrative, have pain connected to them. Read the full 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.

Upcoming Events

SOAR Webinar: Medical Summary Report (MSR) Tips

September 10, 2015; 3:00-4:30 p.m. EDT
The Medical Summary Report (MSR) is a SOAR signature tool and key to a successful application. It is a letter that provides a succinct, comprehensive summary of the applicant's personal and treatment history and its impact on his or her life. It also clearly describes the factors affecting functioning and ability to work.
In this webinar you will learn more about the MSR Interview Guide and Template and how to effectively interview for and write an MSR.  Presenters from around the country will share how they have successfully used MSRs in their SOAR practice. Participants will have access to helpful tools and sample MSRs from approved applications.
This webinar is recommended for SOAR practitioners, SOAR team leads and other individuals who would like more information on the importance of the Medical Summary Report in the SSI/SSDI application process.

Register here
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SOAR Webinar: Medical Summary Report (MSR) Tips