Congratulations! You have successfully tracked and reported your community's SOAR outcomes and hopefully you have some great numbers to show for all your hard work! But, alas, a SOAR Local Lead's job is never done. Once you've finished your outcomes collection happy dance, it's time to take a look at that data and determine next steps.
Evaluate SOAR data to identify technical assistance (TA) or training needs. Key things to look for:
Providers with low approval rates
Providers who were not using all of the SOAR critical components
Applications with longer than average decision times
Trends in reasons for denial (e.g. earning SGA, no significant impairment, etc.)
Geographic areas or agencies where you can implement a quality review process
Agencies or case managers who did not report their data in the Online Application Tracking (OAT) system this year (for states that use OAT)
Next, reach out to those agencies and case managers who may need additional TA and set up a phone or in-person meeting. Targeted TA may include:
Holding a SOAR Online Course Review Session or a targeted training on SOAR critical components, such as a Medical Summary Report (MSR) refresher training
Reviewing MSRs for newly-trained case managers or those who have lower than average approval rates
Holding a SOAR Orientation for referral sources and customizing the SOAR Referral Tool for your community
Reviewing the SOAR critical components and your community's SOAR process
Meeting with your local SSA and DDS contacts to discuss trends in denial reasons, case processing times, and any barriers arising in the local or state SOAR process
Facilitating an OAT Orientation for those providers who need to begin using OAT to track SOAR outcomes
From your outreach and data collection efforts, refine your list of SOAR-trained providers who are actively completing SSI/SSDI applications and move any providers who are no longer using SOAR to an archived list for your records. Additionally, review the list of OAT users and determine who is no longer active; e-mail the list of inactive users to your SOAR TA Center liaison, so that we can deactivate their OAT account.
Finally, identify areas or agencies within your community that you feel could benefit from SOAR expansion.
Which geographic areas of your community or state are underserved by SOAR-trained providers?
Are there regions that report high rates of homelessness, but do not have enough case managers providing SOAR assistance?
Can you expand partnerships with organizations that serve justice-involved persons, Veterans, or youth?
Celebrating Success As you are analyzing your SOAR data, don't forget to celebrate SOAR success in your community! Be sure to recognize those case managers, agencies, and community partners who went above and beyond this year. Consider adding SOAR Standout Awards to your next meeting, such as:
Most approvals in 2018 (for case managers and agencies)
SOAR "Newbie" of the Year
Outstanding SSA/DDS Partner
Outstanding Hospital/Health Center Partner
Outstanding SOAR Mentor
SOARing Successes from Connecticut
As we move into Fiscal Year 2019, we wanted to start it off with SOAR success stories from some tremendous case managers in Connecticut!
Advocacy Leads to Approval
Bob experienced homelessness for decades, living in the woods, garages, wherever. PATH engaged him and finally coaxed him into the emergency shelter. Once engaged, he was referred to the SOAR Program. His application was initially denied because the SSA/DDS workers overlooked some paperwork. His SOAR worker advocated for him, and his case was reopened rather than denied and he was approved for SSDI. He is also receiving permanent supportive housing and will move into his new apartment shortly. As a result of his SSDI and engaging with outreach workers, he has been able to address his medical and mental health needs.
SOAR Success for a Child In Need
Beth experienced domestic violence, as did her child in the household, and becoming homeless was very confusing for them both. Referred to a SOAR worker for the child's application, SSI was sought and granted. Having a stable income via the SSI in the household and now a housing subsidy, Mom has been looking for employment. She also finds that she can pay for the little things for her and her child, like toilet paper and toothpaste.
Are you interested in beta testing the new SOAR Online Course: Child Curriculum? If so please complete this survey and the SOAR TA Center will follow-up early this fall regarding this opportunity.
New Veteran Resources
SOAR and Veterans Infographic
This infographic highlights the SOAR TA Center's collaborations with the VA and other national Veterans programs to increase access to SSI/SSDI for Veterans.
Income and Benefits Calculator
If you have not already downloaded the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs' new Income and Benefits Calculator it is a great tool for beneficiaries of Social Security disability benefits who are considering returning to work! The calculator helps demonstrate how income from employment and/or VA disability benefits will affect SSI or SSDI.
Understanding and Using Vocational Information for Quality SOAR Applications
On this webinar, we discussed how useful vocational evaluations and assessments are when assisting an individual with an SSI/SSDI application using the SOAR model. Participants heard from SOAR providers and a DDS representative who shared a variety of vocational resources that can improve disability applications but are also helpful for explaining vocational opportunities for SOAR applicants.
Using Medical Records and Listings for Quality SOAR Applications
This webinar featured two SOAR providers and one DDS supervisor who shared the results of one SOAR claim that moved quickly through the initial determination process. What was the secret to their success? Tune in to hear more about their winning strategy! Here's a hint: Good organization and communication!
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..