SOAR Webinar Series on Completing Quality SOAR Applications

Plus a SOAR success in Minnesota
Plus a SOAR success in Minnesota
June E-News

SOAR Enhances Recovery by Providing a Pathway to Employment

Working is a critical step in the recovery process for people with serious mental illness. While 66 percent of people with a serious mental illness want to work, only 15 percent are working. Competitive employment through Individual Placement and Support leads to increased income, improved self-esteem, and improved quality of life.
SOAR can be the link between benefits and employment! Maximizing income supports through an integration of benefits and employment increases housing stability for people with serious mental illness. Careful benefits planning while utilizing Social Security's work incentives helps increase an individual's income while maintaining benefits. Individuals with serious mental illness can work while applying for and receiving Social Security Disability benefits. SOAR promotes myth busting and benefits planning as essential elements of community efforts to assist individuals experiencing homelessness who have a serious mental illness.
Find out more in our new infographic (or view the text alternative) and share with your community partners! We will be highlighting successful community SOAR initiatives in our upcoming newsletters. Want us to feature your community? Tell us about it!

Sharing Our Successes

Using the Listings to Assist an Artist in Minnesota

Jon Katherine Martins of Emma Norton Services in St. Paul, Minnesota shared a beautiful success story:
My client is a visual artist. I have seen many marvelous examples of her work. Her dream is to have her own loft/studio in St. Paul, Minnesota where she can devote her life to making art. That dream has been illusive for her because of her mental illness, inability to work, and the experience of homelessness. 
While working on her SOAR Social Security Disability (SSDI) application, she was reluctant to talk about the trauma she had experienced. She was quick to anger when she felt that I did not understand her mental illness and would often present with paranoia and a guarded reluctance to share any personal information. I also learned that she had periods when there where gaps in her memory, and that these gaps where filled by other personality states. In the course of our work together, I was introduced to and interacted with at least five distinct people.
Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) does not have a specific listing. In order to qualify, I concentrated on how her signs and symptoms, in her medical records, met or equaled the following listings:
  • 12.04 Depressive, bipolar and related disorders
  • 12.06 Anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders
  • 12.08 Personality and impulse-control disorders
  • 12.15 Trauma- and stressor-related disorders 

I then related how her signs and symptoms impaired her functioning. I did this through the things my client said, my own observations, and those observations of other providers. In addition, because DID usually develops in response to a traumatic event or events and being mindful that stress could worsen her symptoms and cause greater problems with functioning, I developed as safe and as trusting an environment as I possibly could. The greatest compliment that she paid me was, "I trust you."
I received notice in May that my client was approved for SSDI. Because Social Security set her entitlement date in 2016, she has received back pay in an amount that is over $24,000. She will also receive over $1,400 each month. Using the SOAR process and all the SOAR tools that were at my disposal worked for this client. And through that process and those tools, her dream of a home to make art can come true.
Do you have a success story that you would like featured in a SOAR eNews? Use our new form (with easy-to-follow prompts!) to submit it to the SOAR TA Center!
Submit Your SOAR Success

SOAR Job Postings

Rhode Island

AmeriCorps VISTA/The Kent Center is hiring a full-time SOAR Development VISTA. Join a fun and collaborative team working throughout Rhode Island to improve the quality of life for individuals with a serious persistent mental illness who are experiencing homelessness. The SOAR VISTA project requires members for activities, such as grant writing, training, and needs assessments.
Learn more about this posting on the SOARWorks website. Do you have a job posting you would like to share with the SOAR community? Submit it to the SOAR TA Center!


SOARing Over Lunch Conference Calls

July 10, 2018; 1:00 p.m. ET
The next SOARing Over Lunch Conference Call will take place July 10 at 1:00 p.m. ET! The SAMHSA SOAR TA Center hosts this series of informal monthly calls designed to help support SOAR efforts across the country. Participants can login to ask about any SOAR-related question they may have. 
Add SOARing Over Lunch to Your Calendar

SOAR Webinar Series on Completing Quality SOAR Applications

The SAMHSA SOAR TA Center is hosting a webinar series on completing quality SOAR applications. This series will walk SOAR providers through two different aspects of a quality SSI/SSDI disability application—documenting work history information and using Social Security's Listings.
  • Using the Listings: June 27, 2018; 3:00-4:30 p.m. ET. This webinar will focus on how caseworkers can optimize medical records collection and approach SSA's Listings of Impairments for expediting their SOAR claim.
  • Using Vocational Information: This webinar, held on April 25, 2018 addressed strategies for obtaining accurate work history information.
Register for the June 27 Webinar

Recent Stories from the SOAR Voices Blog

A DDS Approval in 4 Hours!
Using SOAR to Help End Youth Homelessness

Federal Updates

VA Updates Disability Rating Schedule to Better Align with Modern Medicine

Effective May 13, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will update portions of the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities (VASRD, or rating schedule) that evaluates the organs of special sense eye conditions, as well as gynecological conditions and disorders of the breast. The VASRD is the collection of federal regulations used by Veterans Benefits Administration claims processors to evaluate the severity of disabilities and assign disability ratings. VA is in the process of updating all 15 body systems of the VASRD to more accurately reflect modern medicine and provide clearer rating decisions.

Funding Corner

New Resource: Developing a Competitive SAMHSA Grant Application

A new manual, Developing a Competitive SAMHSA Grant Application, is available for SAMHSA grant applicants. This manual provides applicants with valuable information about how to prepare strong SAMHSA grant applications.

Notice: SAMHSA Releases New Guidance for Potential Grantees

SAMHSA's application procedures have changed, and all applicants must now register with NIH's eRA Commons in order to submit an application. This process can take up to 6 weeks. If you believe you are interested in applying for any SAMHSA funding opportunity in the future—you MUST start the registration process immediately. 

Resources from the Field

A Youth Perspective on Recovery-Oriented Practice

These are some big questions that don't have simple answers. The Mental Health Commission of Canada's (MHCC) Youth Council sought out to unpack some questions about providing quality, recovery-oriented services to a young person through an animated video Food for thought: A youth perspective on recovery-oriented practice and an accompanying discussion guide. In these materials, the MHCC's Youth Council provided a youth perspective on how youth would like to be engaged in and receive recovery-oriented mental health and addiction services.
Recovery in mental health refers to living a satisfying, hopeful, and contributing life, even when a person may be experiencing ongoing symptoms of a mental health problem or illness. In a recovery-oriented system, service providers engage in shared decision-making, offering a range of services and supports to fully meet a person's goals and needs. Recovery is different for each individual and is particularly unique when working with youth.
Food for Thought: A Youth Perspective on Recovery-Oriented Practice
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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 is sending this NewsFlash 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.