Did you meet the deadline for Fiscal Year 2018 SOAR outcomes reporting? It's not too late! Contact your SOAR State Team LeadTODAY if you have outcomes from SOAR-assisted SSI/SSDI applications with decisions between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018.
Sharing Our Successes
Missouri's SOAR Billing Code Success
Bary Kramer from the Missouri Department of Mental Health (DMH) wrote in to share great news from the Truman Medical Centers (TMC), which has successfully billed over $10,000 this past fiscal year for completing Supplemental Security Income (SSI)/Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applications using the SOAR model! Community health centers that are designated as Administrative Agents are able to use billing codes developed by the Missouri DMH when providing SOAR assistance.
From Bary: "This is a helpful tool in offsetting the cost of assisting clients through the SOAR process. At the end of the day, the SOAR process is helpful not only to the consumers [in establishing] SSI and SSDI benefits, but [to] all of our agencies that rely on clients having Medicaid and Social Security benefits to help pay for services. Hopefully in the coming year we will see other Administrative Agents being able to use this tool to assist them in providing this valuable service to their clients and communities. Again, congratulations to TMC."
A Mother and Son SOAR to Safe Housing
Janet Lupher of Life Management Center in Bonifay, Florida wrote in to share this success story:
"Jordan* was experiencing homelessness and was trying to stay at his mother's home surreptitiously. She lived in public housing and was not allowed to have anyone living with her. Jordan and his mother were evicted [once] the housing authority found he was living there.
Jordan was 24 years old and had no work history. His mental health diagnosis was attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and intellectual development disorder. It was difficult to get him in for SOAR, psychiatric, and medication management appointments as he had a phone that had no service unless he was at a fast food restaurant or the library. It was imperative to get a communication strategy in place to create a successful SOAR application. Jordan generally minimized his difficulties and presented to others that his life was "Great!" Getting past records and ensuring current mental health treatment and records were key in getting a favorable decision.
Jordan received a favorable decision and selected his mother as his payee. Life Management Center assisted them in getting safe housing and some furnishings so they would no longer be experiencing homelessness. They are frequently walking in the community and report they are functioning very well. They relayed they feel confident they will be able to maintain their current housing and stated they are 'content.'"
Finding Family and SOAR Support in Michigan
Christopher Wooding, Community Resource Coordinator of the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi wrote in to share this success story:
"One of the greatest success stories that I had was an individual who was nomadic and came back to Michigan from Iowa looking for family. This person needed assistance, which we were able to provide in securing benefits for them. They actually qualified for SSDI rather than SSI once we figured out the right Social Security number. Tracking down the correct information was quite challenging, but I was able to find an old employer who had the correct information. This took some detective work, but the SOAR training I received helped me identify how to find information from an area where the person might have some memory issues."
*Please note, SOAR Success Story submissions have been edited for space and clarity. Beneficiary names have been changed to protect their anonymity.
Reminder! Submit Your Feedback on the New VA Income and Benefits Calculator!
As we announced on July 20, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released a new tool for Social Security disability beneficiaries, which helps demonstrate how income from employment and/or VA disability benefits will affect SSI and SSDI. Read our announcement of the new resource and submit your feedback to us! We can't wait to hear how you are using this new tool to help SSI/SSDI beneficiaries explore employment!
SOAR Job Postings
Lake County Coalition for the Homeless is hiring a full-time VISTA based in Libertyville, Illinois. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to facilitate collaborations with service providers throughout the county on the local SOAR initiative.
The next SOARing Over Lunch Conference Call will take place August 21 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 join to ask about any SOAR-related question they may have.
Effective August 1, SSA revised the rules of conduct and standards of responsibility for representatives and updated the procedures used when bringing charges against a representative for violating these rules and standards. These changes are intended to further clarify representatives' existing responsibilities in their conduct with SSA and ensure that the rules of conduct and standards of responsibility are clearer as a whole and directly address a broader range of inappropriate conduct. View the updated rules!
The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) released an updated Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, which focuses on identifying and describing essential federal strategies that will help states, communities, and public and private partners build effective, lasting systems that will be able to respond quickly and efficiently when housing instability and homelessness occur.
Increasing access to Social Security disability benefits is a key feature of the revised plan, specifically in terms of incorporating referrals for SSI/SSDI assistance into coordinated entry systems, connecting those in permanent supportive housing with SSI/SSDI, and preventing a return to homelessness by improving access to income supports, such as disability benefits and employment.
To help end youth homelessness, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is awarding $43 million to 11 local communities, including 5 rural areas, through its Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP). This program supports a wide range of housing interventions, including rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing, transitional housing, and host homes. Learn more about incorporating SOAR into YHDP on the SOARWorks website.
National Wellness Week 2018
Mark your calendars! SAMHSA's next National Wellness Week (NWW) will be from September 16-22, 2018. NWW is an annual health observance dedicated to help promote prevention and wellness for people with mental and/or substance use disorders.
Each year around this observance, communities and organizations across the country engage in activities from hosting 5K walks/runs to coordinating health fairs, organizing conferences, and dialoguing on social media to raise awareness about the importance of substance use prevention and positive mental health.
Get ready to kick off National Wellness Week by promoting wellness and the importance of "Connecting All Aspects of Behavioral Health" with a NWW Social Media Toolkit developed by SAMHSA's Program to Achieve Wellness (PAW). In this toolkit, you will find suggested social media copy and links that you can promote via your own social media channels, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages. This quick-guide will help you leverage social media to #ShareWellness.
PAW has also created Snapchat filters for your use during NWW. The filters are available as .PNG files that you can upload to Snapchat and use as geofilters throughout the week—Snap away! Join PAW and highlight one of the Eight Dimensions of Wellness each day.