SAMHSA SOAR 2019 Outcomes: You OAT it to Yourself

Plus, a new SSA ruling!
Plus, a new SSA ruling!
2019 SAMHSA SOAR July e-News

SOAR 2019 Outcomes: Enter Your Data in OAT!

Every Person Counts! SOAR OUtcomes Collection
The SAMHSA SOAR TA Center is working with SOAR providers across the country to collect 2019 SOAR outcomes! We are counting SOAR-assisted Supplemental Security Income (SSI)/Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) applications with decisions between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019. Report your outcomes in the SOAR Online Application Tracking (OAT) system to help us demonstrate the power of the SOAR model. If you have questions, please reach out to your SOAR Liaison to help you through the process!
Enter Your Outcomes Today
Want to learn more about OAT? The SAMHSA SOAR TA Center recently hosted the SOAR webinar, Maximizing OAT Utilization for SOAR Outcome Tracking. This webinar, held on June 6, 2019, taught attendees how to access and use the SAMHSA SOAR OAT system, why it is beneficial to track your SOAR-assisted SSI/SSDI application decisions and how to run reports to highlight SOAR success and promote quality work. The webinar slides and supplementary resources from this webinar are now available for download. Review the slides, OAT user guide, and OAT reports guide as you enter in your SOAR-assisted applications into OAT!

Working with Justice-involved Persons: Frequently Asked Questions

The SAMHSA SOAR TA Center is excited to release a new resource for SOAR providers, Working with Justice-involved Persons: Frequently Asked Questions! This document answers frequently asked questions and offers resources for providers working with people in the criminal justice system to help them through the SSI/SSDI application process. Answers to questions surrounding applying for SSI and SSDI, suspension and reinstatement of benefits, and other common issues are provided. 
Download the FAQ Document

2019 SOAR CJ Implementation Meetings Recap

Beginning January 11, 2019, the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center has been working alongside local criminal justice (CJ) leaders to plan and prepare SOAR CJ implementation meetings for the six sites that were awarded a 2019 SAMHSA SOAR CJ Technical Assistance Opportunity. The SOAR CJ implementation meeting is a full-day, on-site meeting with key stakeholders and agency leads to review existing barriers, assess community resources, and identify opportunities to strengthen SOAR efforts to complete SSI and SSDI applications for eligible individuals. Over 120 partners from state, federal, and local criminal justice, behavioral health, and community service agencies met to strategically plan how to implement SOAR in programs that provide services to people with serious mental illness who are justice-involved.

Each awardee believes in the possibilities that Social Security disability benefits can bring to the people that they serve. Each organization plans to include SOAR as part of the great work they do to enhance post-release success and expand access to housing and treatment opportunities. 
2019 Criminal Justice TA Awards

California Department of State Hospitals—Coalinga, California

Coalinga's social work department, in collaboration with sister clinical departments, has developed a SOAR pilot program approved by the medical executive team, clinical administrators, and executive leaders. There are five SOAR-trained case managers, overseen by the Chief of Social Work and Supervising Psychiatric Social Workers, who will begin assisting with SSI/SSDI applications. 

Riverside University Health System in collaboration with Riverside County Jail—Riverside, California

The Riverside University Health System and Detention Behavioral Health's approach to SOAR implementation is to leverage the clinical staff already working inside of Riverside County's five adult detention facilities to become SOAR program clinicians. They will begin completing SOAR-assisted SSI/SSDI applications as part of their customary workflow.

Legal Council for Health Justice in collaboration with Cook County Department of Corrections—Chicago, Illinois

The Legal Council for Health Justice will work to provide direct legal services to assist offenders nearing release and in need of strategic disability benefits advocacy. The goal is to provide trauma-informed disability advocacy and explore how to integrate SSI/SSDI advocacy into existing processes at Cook County jail.

Volunteers of America Southeast Louisiana—New Orleans, Louisiana

Through its commitment to the "mission of rehabilitating offenders and preparing them to successfully reenter and reintegrate into society," Volunteers of America Southeast Louisiana intends to use the SOAR model to assist eligible program participants and is currently planning a SOAR training cohort for staff who provide services to returning citizens.

Second Chance Reentry—Hempstead, New York

In collaboration with community partners in the areas of reentry, mental health, and homeless services, Second Chance Reentry will expand the services of peer educators who will assist individuals upon release with benefits acquisition using the SOAR model.

Chattanooga/Hamilton County Mental Health Court—Chattanooga, Tennessee

The Hamilton County Mental Health Court's focus is to utilize SOAR to assist mental health court participants with increasing access to needed resources and reducing recidivism and county costs. The court operates in-reach services to local jails and will continue to do so alongside two staff members of Hamilton Sheriff's Office who are committed to providing SOAR assistance.

We are excited to continue to support these organizations in their effort to include SOAR as a tool to promote reentry success! Want to learn more about the 2019 SAMHSA SOAR CJ TA awards and the six awardees? Read a recent blog post written by SOAR Liaison Dazara Ware.

Sharing Our Successes

SOAR Ohio Secures Funding for Training

The SOAR Ohio Project, led by Amy Lamerson, M.S.W., Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio, has secured $100,000 in funding for SOAR Ohio technical assistance, training, and capacity building from the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services for State Fiscal Year 2020. This funding will help sustain ongoing efforts to expand and support SOAR providers across Ohio.

Pennsylvania Holds SOAR Leaders' Summit

In May 2019, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania held the inaugural Pennsylvania SOAR Leaders' Summit in State College, Pennsylvania. The summit brought together SOAR Local Leads from across the state; Michelle Baxter, SOAR State Team Lead; Abigail Kirkman, SAMHSA SOAR TA Center liaison to Pennsylvania; and John Johnston, Social Security Administration Public Affairs Specialist, to learn, share, network, and plan for SOAR growth in Pennsylvania! The Summit was unique and energizing; each person left with new ideas, contacts, and a renewed commitment to SOAR in Pennsylvania!  
Submit Your SOAR Success!
*Sharing Our Successes stories have been edited for brevity and clarity. All client names have been changed to protect anonymity.


SOAR Webinar: MSR Summer Camp

SOAR MSR Summer Writing Camp

August 28, 2019; 3:00-4:30 p.m. ET
Please come in out of the heat during these dog days of summer, grab a cold glass of lemonade, and join our SOAR Medical Summary Report (MSR) Summer Writing Camp webinar! We'll cool you off with plenty of tips and tools on how to write quality MSRs. During this webinar, you will hear from SOAR providers and others on why the MSR is a critical component of the SOAR model. Panelists will share case studies that illustrate how the MSR was instrumental with their successful outcomes. Learn how MSRs can strengthen a SOAR-assisted SSI/SSDI claim when medical documentation is limited.  You'll also learn how to strengthen key sections, which you may find difficult to write about, such as Personal History, Substance Use History, Work History, and others. We invite you to come into the shade for some relief on making the MSR writing process a breezier one!


  • Dan Coladonato, SAMHSA SOAR TA Center Liaison, Policy Research Associates, Inc., Delmar, New York
  • Shaun Kostiuk, SOAR Local Lead, Pittsburgh Mercy, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Learning Objectives

  • Why it's important to include an MSR with your SOAR-assisted SSI/SSDI application.
  • What information is relevant to key sections of the MSR.
  • How to write quality MSRs and get them reviewed with feedback prior to SSA submission.


SOAR State and Local Leads, SOAR Agency Leads, and SOAR Providers
Register for the Webinar

SOARing Over Lunch Conference Calls

August 6, 2019; 1:00 p.m. ET

The next SOARing Over Lunch Conference Call will take place August 6, 2019, 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. 
Add SOARing Over Lunch to Your Calendar

SOAR Job Postings

North Carolina

NC Coalition to End Homelessness is seeking four full-time Project Specialists based in Raleigh, North Carolina. The four Project Specialists will work on one of three distinct work plans. One work plan available is to manage the state implementation of the NC SOAR program. This position is an opportunity to collaborate with a team that is engaging with policymakers, state and local leaders, and housing and service providers to build capacity, develop the workforce, strengthen partnerships, and create innovative programs to alleviate homelessness.

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 SAMHSA SOAR TA Center!

Federal Updates

Social Security Ruling: Evaluating Cases Involving Obesity

The Social Security Administration has issued a notice of Social Security Ruling 19-2p. This ruling provides guidance on how SSA establishes that a person has a medically determinable impairment of obesity and how it evaluates obesity in disability claims under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act. This ruling was applied on May 20, 2019. 
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The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) Technical Assistance (TA) Center is sponsored by SAMHSA, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Disclaimer: The SAMHSA SOAR Technical Assistance Center is sending this eNews 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.