Kicking off the 10th Year of the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center
The SAMHSA SOAR TA Center is entering its 10th year of service! We have SOARed to new heights in Fiscal Year 2018 through new collaborations, new programs, and thousands of people who have been helped through the SOAR model. All of this success is due to the work of you—our incredible SOAR community. We look forward to SOARing with you in Fiscal Year 2019!
October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month
Organized by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), we honor National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) each October. NDEAM celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities and provides education about the value of a workforce inclusive of their skills and talents. DOL has a number of helpful resources to organize your own disability employment awareness event. We also encourage you to use employment resources from the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center, such as the SOAR Employment Conversation Guide, to help start conversations about working while receiving SSA disability benefits.
Let us know how you helped spread awareness in your community!
Yes, You Can Work! Conversation Starter
SOAR Employment Conversation Guide
SOAR Enhances Recovery by Providing a Pathway to Employment
Springfield, Missouri Veteran Returns Home at Last
By Holly Butler, SSVF Intake Specialist/SOAR Specialist, The Kitchen, Inc., Home At Last in Springfield, Missouri
We will call our client, "John" for confidentiality purposes. John is a Marine Veteran who served for 5 years and received an honorable discharge. John came to Home at Last in March 2017 but did not qualify for our services based on his housing status. In April 2017, he was evicted from his home, which left him on the streets. John was now homeless and had no one to help him or give him shelter. He posted about his situation on Reddit and was referred to Home at Last.
When he first came to Home at Last, he was experiencing financial issues, mental health problems, and physical conditions that prevented him from working any type of job. His anxiety was extremely severe, to the point that he could not be out in a public setting for a long period of time. This is when he reached out to Home at Last's intake and received assistance on his SOAR application. John began the application process with me in March 2018 and was in approved June 2018.
I remember John was sitting in his case manager's office when I walked in, and he was so happy to tell me that he received a call saying that he was approved for SSI. He would receive back pay and have an income next month. That was the first time I had seen him smile so big that eyes lit up. He told me that he did not know how to thank us enough because now he was able to provide for himself and maybe pay off some bills. I have to say that his smile is what got to me and made me think, 'this is why I come to work every day, and this is why I help people apply for SOAR'. One application changed his life and helped him maintain housing stability and improve his well-being.
*Please note, SOAR Success Story submissions have been edited for space and clarity. Beneficiary names have been changed to protect their anonymity.
Tarzana Treatment Centers, Inc. is hiring a full-time Benefits Specialist based in Reseda, California. The successful candidate will assist individuals experiencing homelessness in creating claims for various streams of government benefits, including disability, using the SOAR model.
New Reach is hiring a full-time SOAR Benefit Specialist based in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The successful candidate will be responsible for engaging individuals and families who are homeless in the SOAR process. The SOAR Benefit Specialist is also responsible for becoming a SOAR Local Lead.
New Reach is hiring a full-time SOAR Benefit Specialist based in New Haven, Connecticut. The successful candidate will assist women who are affected by homelessness as well as who present with co-occurring disorders in applying for SSI/SSDI using the SOAR model as well as other needed entitlement mainstream benefits.
Wyandot Center is looking for a full-time, dedicated SOAR Case Manager based in Kansas City, Kansas. The successful candidate will meet with applicants and complete SSI/SSDI applications using the SOAR process.
The Maryland Benefits Counseling Network is hiring a full-time, contractual Benefits Case Manager based in Baltimore, Maryland. The successful candidate will be SOAR trained and will have experience dealing with Social Security entitlements to work within two of Maryland State Psychiatric Hospitals.
MPHI is hiring a SOAR Specialist based in Lansing, Michigan. The successful candidate will be responsible for statewide coordination and implementation of Michigan's SOAR Initiative.
Miriam's Kitchen is hiring a SOAR Advocacy Case Manager based in Washington, DC. The successful candidate will collaborate with individuals to complete SSI/SSDI applications using the SOAR process.
Pathways to Housing DC is hiring a full-time SOAR Outreach Benefits Specialist based in Washington, DC. The successful candidate will provide direct outreach services and high-quality application assistance to individuals applying for disability benefits, using the essential SOAR components.
SOAR: A Reentry Tool for Individuals Involved in the Criminal Justice System
October 24, 2018; 3:00-4:30 p.m. ET
A new webinar, SOAR: A Reentry Tool for Individuals Involved in the Criminal Justice System will be presented by the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center in partnership with SAMHSA's GAINS Center. We will explore how SOAR implementation in criminal justice settings can be a strong reentry tool to increase housing stability and promote post-release success.
On this webinar, you will learn:
Key strategies for introducing SOAR to and engaging with criminal justice systems
SOAR best practices for assisting SSI/SSDI applicants who are involved in the criminal justice system
VA Highlights SOAR at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center
In a new series of white papers on promising practices for ending Veteran homelessness, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently highlighted successful SOAR partnerships at Jesse Brown VA Medical Center (VAMC) in Chicago, Illinois. The paper details how HUD-VASH staff are collaborating with treatment teams within the VAMC and their local SSA office to efficiently assist Veterans with SSI/SSDI applications. Kudos to the Jesse Brown VAMC team for their great SOAR work and VA recognition!
On September 14, 2 weeks ahead of schedule, VA exceeded its goal to deliver 81,000 appeals decisions of disability benefits and services to Veterans in Fiscal Year 2018 — 28,000 more decisions than the previous year. In doing so, VA's Board of Veterans' Appeals provided thousands of Veterans with critical, life-changing decisions.