October Local Lead Ledger

Social Security Administration Revises Medical Criteria for Evaluating Mental Disorders
The Social Security Administration (SSA) published new rules updating how they will evaluate mental disorders. This means some changes are coming to how we organize and present SOAR applications, particularly the functional information in the Medical Summary Report. As SOAR Local and State Team Leads you may receive questions from SOAR-trained case managers in your community about how these changes will affect their applications.  The SOAR TA Center is here to help and prepare you!
Background: SSA has not fully revised the medical criteria for evaluating mental disorders in the Listings of Impairments (listings) since 1990. SSA began working on these proposed rule changes in 2010. The changes reflect learnings from program experience, advances in medical knowledge (e.g. updates to the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5), recommendations from a commissioned report, and public comments. The new rules will go into effect on January 17, 2017. 
 Key revisions include:
  • Updates, name changes, and additions to the mental health listings
  • Revised areas of functioning:
       - Understand, remember, or apply information
       - Interact with others
       - Concentrate, persist, or maintain pace
       - Adapt or manage oneself
  • Updated criteria for the evaluation of intellectual disorders
  • New listings for neurodevelopmental disorders, eating disorders and trauma- and stressor- related disorders 
  • New emphasis on the importance of social workers, case managers, and outreach workers in providing longitudinal evidence about functional impairments
The SOAR TA Center will bring you up to speed on all the changes and prepare you to implement them in your community. We will be holding a national webinar in mid-November to provide additional guidance.  We will also be releasing comprehensive training materials via the SOARWorks website, SOAR Online Course, and SOAR Fundamentals materials.
 If you have any questions about these changes, please reach out to Jen Elder at jelder@prainc.com
Monique Venning – Charleston, South Carolina
Monique Venning is the Disability & Benefits Coordinator at One80 Place, the largest provider of homeless services in South Carolina. In addition, Monique serves as the SOAR Local Lead for a seven county area served by the Lowcountry Homeless Coalition. These counties include Charleston, Dorchester, Berkeley, Colleton, Jasper, Beaufort and Hampton.
One80 Place had been submitting SSI/SSDI claims using the SOAR techniques, however, after participating in the SOAR Leadership Academy in San Diego, Monique restructured the SOAR process to align with the national SOAR model.  
At One80 Place, Monique helps clients navigate the SSI/SSDI disability application process to quickly obtain income and insurance through SOAR. In addition, she is responsible for assisting shelter guests and clients to enroll in other benefit programs such as dental, vision and health insurance; prescription assistance; and specialty medical services. Guided by the organization's mission - to provide food, shelter and hope to end homelessness and hunger, one person at a time, one family at a time - Monique is dedicated to ending homelessness for the clients with whom she works.  
Monique truly believes in the benefits of the SOAR process and works diligently to educate the community and other homeless service providers on the impact SOAR can have on the lives of so many. In her role as SOAR Local Lead, Monique facilitates SOAR quarterly meetings attended by representatives from SSA, DDS, and other community providers. Monique also represents the Charleston Area at SOAR State meetings.
Webinar Announcements – Coming in November! (Dates coming soon)
  • Revisions to the Social Security Mental Health Listings
  • Yes You Can Work! Employment and SOAR
New Resources
  • The recent SOAR webinar on Rural Homelessness has been posted. During this webinar, held on October 12, 2016, the SOAR TA Center and SOAR leaders discussed the challenges and successes implementing and sustaining SOAR in their rural areas.
  • A new article has been posted about Appointed Representative Services. Online access to SOAR applicants' electronic folders or eFolders (EFs) is now available for Appointed Representatives with ALJ hearing and Appeals Council level cases.
  • The Social Security Administration (SSA) may ask the applicant to complete an SSA-821 Work Activity Report if he/she continued to work after the alleged date of onset. This article provides additional information and tips for assisting applicants with this form:  https://soarworks.prainc.com/article/ssa-821-work-activity-report
SOAR Leadership Academies
Now accepting applications for all Leadership Academies. Contact your SOAR TA Center liaison with any questions.
  • December 6-8, 2016, Washington, D.C. (Apply soon!)
  • February 7-9, 2017, Des Moines, Iowa
  • May 2-4, 2017, Portland, Maine
  • August 29-31, 2017, Detroit, Michigan
The SOAR TA Center is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Disclaimer: The SOAR Technical Assistance Center develops and distributes the Local Lead Ledger with support from SAMHSA, HHS. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of HHS or SAMHSA..