SOAR July eNews

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July 2016

SOAR Presents at Conferences, Webinar

The SOAR TA Center has been busy presenting at conferences and on webinars! Jen Elder, National Policy and Partnerships Coordinator, represented the SOAR TA Center at three national and state conferences, and Kristin Lupfer, Director of the SOAR TA Center, represented SOAR on a national webinar:

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) Conference, Washington, D.C.

This year's annual NCHV conference was focused on leveraging momentum from the Five-Year Plan to end Veteran homelessness to reach the goal of functional zero in cities and states across the country. We provided information to participants through a breakout session and round robin expert tables about the importance of the SOAR model and Social Security Administration (SSA) benefits. Income supports and SOAR are critical as we work to prevent future Veteran homelessness! Learn more about the NCHV Conference on their website.

Maryland SOAR Annual Conference

SOARWorks Maryland
We continued spreading the message about the importance of SSA benefits for Veterans at this year's Maryland SOAR Conference. Local SOAR leaders shared their expertise in writing Medical Summary Reports, interviewing clients, starting your first SOAR application, and understanding how Disability Determination Services evaluates substance use. The conference also recognized and awarded the efforts of SOAR leads and case managers, and we echo this praise--thanks for all your hard work in making Maryland a top SOAR state!

Utah Supported Employment (IPS) & Supportive Housing (CABHI) Summit

We were honored to participate in the kick-off event for Utah's Individual Placement and Support (IPS) and Cooperative Agreements to Benefit Homeless Individuals (CABHI) employment initiatives and to speak about the importance of SSA work incentives and benefits planning. As we encourage individuals to explore work, we want them to be armed with clear knowledge about how they can work while applying for and receiving SSA disability benefits. We look forward to continued partnerships with Utah's IPS and SOAR teams through the recently launched National CABHI: SOAR and IPS pilot.

USICH Webinar: Key Strategies for Connecting People Experiencing Homelessness to SSI/SSDI

On May 19, the SOAR TA Center presented on the Key Strategies for Connecting People Experiencing Homelessness to SSI/SSDI webinar, to discuss the Key Strategies report and to share strategies to increase access to SSA benefits. The webinar panelists included representatives from the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), SSA, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The webinar archive and slides can be accessed on the USICH website

Sharing Our Successes


Congratulations to the Center for Housing and Health (a supporting organization of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago) on hiring two dedicated SOAR case managers! Keep SOARing, Chicago!

North Carolina

Over the past 2 years, Evan Lowder has been conducting research on the SOAR model as part of her graduate training at North Carolina State University and as an award recipient of the Disability Determination Process Small Grant Program. Her most recent project involved a multi-level analysis of national SOAR application data collected through the SOAR Online Application Tracking system. As part of this analysis, she investigated applicant-related and state-level factors associated with faster application processing time and higher likelihood of application approval. Her findings identified groups of applicants who had better application outcomes (e.g., applicants living in institutional settings, male applicants) and found that some of these effects were more pronounced in states with higher SSI/SSDI award rates. Most relevant to the SOAR model, she found that submission of medical records, preparation of the Medical Summary Report (MSR), and obtaining a co-signature on the MSR were the most important predictors of a successful SOAR-assisted application.

In recognition of her research, Evan received a Student Incentive Award to attend and present her research at the American Public Health Association conference in Denver, Colorado. She will present her research at the November 2016 conference as part of the Disability Section programming. For more information or to contact her, Evan can be reached at Congratulations, Evan! What fabulous news!

Do you have a success story you would like to share with the SOAR community? E-mail it to!

Job Postings


Caridad, Inc. is seeking a full-time SOAR Benefits Coordinator based in Las Vegas, Nevada. The successful candidate will complete all duties related to the disability application process.


Broward Behavioral Health Coalition (BBHC) is hiring an Entitlements/SOAR Coordinator located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The successful candidate will be responsible for supporting BBHC housing and employment initiatives to expand access to entitlements/benefits through the SOAR model.

New York

The Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS) Institute's Reentry Coordination System (RCS) is seeking a RCS Entitlements Specialist based in New York, New York. RCS is involved in developing and improving supportive housing initiatives in New York City for justice-involved individuals.

Learn more about these postings on the SOARWorks website. Do you have a job posting you would like to share with the SOAR community? E-mail it to!

Federal Updates

Social Security Board of Trustees: Long-Range Projection Unchanged for Trust Fund Reserve Depletion

The Social Security Board of Trustees released its annual report on the long-term financial status of the Social Security Trust Funds. The combined asset reserves of the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance and Disability Insurance Trust Funds are projected to become depleted in 2034, the same as projected last year, with 79 percent of benefits payable at that time. The Disability Insurance Trust Fund will become depleted in 2023, extended from last year's estimate of 2016, with 89 percent of benefits still payable. Read the full report.

SSA Publications

SSA has recently updated several publications to provide the public with the most accurate and current information about their programs. Some publications of interest to the SOAR community include Update 2016, Identity Theft and Your Social Security Number, Reviewing Your Disability, How Work Affects Your Benefits, Working While Disabled--How We Can Help, and What You Can Do Online. View all of the publications on the SSA website.

A Policy Forum on the SSI Program

July 12, 2016; Washington, D.C.
The Social Security Advisory Board welcomes policy makers from Capitol Hill and federal and state agencies; the research and academic community; child welfare, aging, and disability advocates; and others to join them at a policy forum discussing four main areas of concern within the Supplemental Security Income program. Learn more and register.

DOL-VETS and HUD Announce New Funding to Help End Veteran Homelessness

Both the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have announced new funding to help end Veteran homelessness through the Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program (HVRP) and HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program. We encourage all HVRP and HUD-VASH grantees to check out our resources for utilizing SOAR with these programs!

Social Security's New and Improved Same-Sex Couples Website

To improve the way Social Security communicates with the LGBT community, SSA has redesigned its website for same-sex couples. The website updates include reorganized and streamlined menus, new site content, a new publication, and new banner images to foster an improved user experience. View the new website.

Funding Corner

Don't Forget: SOAR TA Center Offers Individual Funding Searches

Did you know you are eligible to receive a free, comprehensive funding source report from the SOAR TA Center? Answer a few easy questions and within days you will receive a full list of potential funding sources to grow or sustain SOAR activities in your state. The reports are specifically tailored to your geographic location, funding goals, and objectives! See your SOAR State Liaison for more information!

SOAR Voices Blog Posts

OUTCOMES! Why I love outcomes...

I look forward every year to the time when we collect outcomes from states and communities on SOAR-assisted SSA disability applications. I realize that the data entry required to collect the outcomes can be a challenge, but these outcomes are vital to the success of SOAR both nationally and locally.

SOARing in Big Sky Country

I'm always excited to help communities re-energize and re-dedicate themselves to their SOAR process. This happened recently when my colleague, Abigail Lemon, and I held several meetings in cities across Montana.

SOAR Spotlight: Matt Canuteson

Get to know SOAR TA Center Liaison Matt Canuteson in this new blog. Find out what states he works with, his favorite travel story, and his favorite SOAR success story!


National Health Care for the Homeless Council Webinar--Hospital Community Benefit Funding: Potential Resources to Meet the Needs of Homeless Populations

July 12, 2016; 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET
To qualify for tax exemptions as charitable organizations, not-for-profit hospitals are required to engage in activities that benefit their communities, often known as "hospital community benefit." These activities can mean additional funding for programs, staffing, and other tangible assistance that meet the needs of people who are homeless, often addressing gaps in existing community services.

This webinar complements a recent policy brief and will give an overview of hospital community benefit requirements, describe how community benefit funds are often allocated, provide examples of successful partnerships currently in practice in two states, and share advice for maximizing hospital partnerships with the Health Care for the Homeless community. Register for the July 12 webinar.

Final 2016 Leadership Academy Date

August 30-September 1: Charleston, South Carolina. See your state liaison for more information!

SOARing Over Lunch Conference Calls

July 12, 2016; 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET
The next SOARing Over Lunch Conference Call will take place this July! The SOAR TA Center is hosting a series of informal monthly calls designed to help support SOAR efforts across the country. Participants can call in to ask about any SOAR-related question they may have. These is no agenda set in advance for these calls, but we do ask that you submit questions and/or topics you would like covered in advance of the calls.

Call/Log-in information:

SOAR Webinar Archive Available: Appeals -- Hearing Skills Building

In this webinar, held on June 22, 2016, the SOAR TA Center helped SOAR practitioners continue building their "Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Hearing Toolbox" for the successful representation of SOAR applicants before SSA's Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. The webinar recording, PowerPoint slides, and supplementary materials are available for on-demand viewing on the SOAR website.
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In This Issue

OUTCOMES! Why I love outcomes...

SOARing in Big Sky Country

SOAR Spotlight: Matt Canuteson

National Health Care for the Homeless Council Webinar--Hospital Community Benefit Funding: Potential Resources to Meet the Needs of Homeless Populations

Final 2016 Leadership Academy Date

SOARing Over Lunch Conference Calls

SOAR Webinar Archive Available: Appeals -- Hearing Skills Building
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