SOAR Newsletter: The Federal Edition

Plus recognition of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week
Plus recognition of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week
November e-News

National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

November 11-19, 2017
Communities around the country will be hosting Awareness Week events from November 11 to 19 that are designed to promote education, action, and awareness about hunger and homelessness. To find volunteer opportunities in your area, or to obtain resources to plan your own community event, visit the Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week website. The SAMHSA SOAR TA Center would love to feature Awareness Week events that highlight our SOAR partners on the SOAR Voices page! To highlight your Awareness Week activities, send your submission to
Open Enrollment for the Health Insurance Marketplace is open from November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017. Do not miss this important period to have yourself, your family members, or your clients enrolled in a health insurance plan for 2018. Preview the 2018 plans, register for if it is your first year signing up, or log in now to make your selection if you have used the Marketplace before.
The enrollment period is shorter this year, so individuals are encouraged to not delay in signing up for 2018 healthcare coverage!
The Social Security Administration announced that monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 66 million Americans will increase 2.0 percent in 2018.
The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.
To see an overview of how the COLA will impact SOAR beneficiaries, the SOAR TA Center has compiled a 2018 SSA Benefits Information resource sheet, which outlines the changes in SSI, Substantial Gainful Activity, Work Incentives, Social Security Quarters, Medicare Costs, Medicare Savings Programs, and Threshold Amounts for Disabled SSI Beneficiaries.

Social Security Guidance on Providing Written Evidence

In October, SSA released a Social Security Ruling that helps clarify the roles and responsibilities of disability examiners, applicants, and appointed representatives in developing and submitting evidence for SSI and SSDI applications and appeals. This guidance continues to emphasize the appointed representative's key role in providing written evidence and following a code of conduct in assisting applicants, consistent with critical components in the SOAR model. We encourage you to review this information and reach out to your SOAR TA Center Liaison if you have any questions!
Collecting medical evidence is a key component of the SOAR model. Check out the Collecting Medical Evidence article on the SOAR Online Course for a refresher on the five steps for collecting medical evidence. 
my Social Security is proud to welcome a new wage reporting application to its suite of services! Now, Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries and their representative payees can report wage information electronically. However, they must still contact an office to report when they've started working.
This application makes it easier and faster for SSDI beneficiaries and their representative payees to report wages to Social Security. Beneficiaries can avoid visiting a field office to report their wages in person and they can print a receipt of their report.
Wage reporting for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients will remain the same, although the new functionality using my Social Security will be made available for SSI recipients, deemors, and their representative payees in a future release.
To learn about the SSA Work Incentives that exist for both SSI and SSDI, check out the SOAR TA Center's overview article, which covers work activity during an application and work incentives available to individuals when they are receiving disability benefits. 

SOAR Leadership Academies

The SOAR TA Center is now accepting applications for all Leadership Academies. Visit the SOARWorks website for more information. Leadership Academies are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, and all participants must be approved by their SOAR State Team Lead. All interested participants must complete a Leadership Academy application and submit it for approval. Contact your SOAR TA Center Liaison with any questions.
  • December 5-7, 2017 in San Francisco, California (Registration is now open!)
  • February 6-8, 2018 in Birmingham, Alabama
  • April 24-26, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts
November 9, 2017; 1:00 p.m. ET
The next SOARing Over Lunch Conference Call will take place Thursday, November 9 at 1:00 p.m. ET! The SOAR TA Center hosts this series of informal monthly calls designed to help support SOAR efforts across the country. Participants can log in to ask about any SOAR-related question they may have.

Recent Stories from the SOAR Voices Blog

SOAR Works Ohio
Inclusion Drives Innovation
WWAARC Certificate
November 9, 2017; 1:00-2:30 p.m. ET
Join the Defense Centers of Excellence for the Understanding Psychological Health Conditions Resulting from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Patients with TBIs may also experience psychological health concerns including post-traumatic stress, depression, and anxiety. Because symptoms of TBI and psychological health problems can be similar, knowing when to refer a patient to another provider is important for effective treatment. The goal of this webinar is to highlight psychological health conditions associated with TBI and the roles of other health care providers.
Application deadline: November 30, 2017
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) is currently offering technical assistance to local health departments on including people with disabilities in public health practice. NACCHO welcomes technical assistance requests about the inclusion of people with disabilities in all health department programs and activities, including emergency preparedness and health promotion. Applications take about 10 minutes to complete and are reviewed on a rolling basis. All applications are due by November 30, 2017. 
This is a state-by-state list of foundation funders who are currently providing funding for homeless services. These are leads that can be used by programs in their search for funding opportunities. Programs should become familiar with these foundations and should sign up for their alerts and e-news to be in the loop about upcoming opportunities from these funders. The list is not exhaustive as these are members of an organization, but it does provide some valuable insight about some of the opportunities available.
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