Refreshing your SAMHSA SOAR Toolbox with new and enhanced resources from the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center is a great way to ensure that your SOAR-assisted disability benefit applications and SOAR initiative are robust. Download these tools today and get ready to SOAR!
Resources to Strengthen Your SAMHSA SOAR-assisted SSI/SSDI Applications
Successful SAMHSA SOAR-assisted SSI/SSDI benefit applications are ones that employ all five of the SOAR model's critical components. These SAMHSA SOAR TA Center resources will help you use the critical components and develop robust, high-quality SSI/SSDI applications:
Sample SOAR Referral Tool
Steps to Completing an SSI/SSDI Application Using the SOAR Model
Medical Summary Report (MSR) Interview Guide and Template
Updated in January 2020, the referral tool is a brief assessment of an individual's living situation, previous applications for Social Security disability benefits, physical and mental health diagnoses, and information about past or current employment. Programs can use this tool to identify potential applicants for SOAR assistance.
This tool helps you gather all the information you will need to write a Medical Summary Report and compile the information in the form of a narrative letter to the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Disability Determination Services (DDS).
Resources to Enhance Your SOAR Initiative
Comprehensive SSI/SSDI applications are just one piece of the SOAR puzzle. Strong collaborative partnerships between community providers, state agencies, and local SSA and DDS offices are essential to ensuring that all eligible individuals can have their SOAR-assisted SSI/SSDI applications processed efficiently. These SAMHSA SOAR TA Center resources can help enhance your SOAR initiative:
The SOAR Overview describes the importance of income supports for individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness who have a serious mental illness, medical impairment, and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder. This one-page document is helpful in providing an overview of the SOAR model's impact and national outcomes for new stakeholders.
Assisting individuals with complete and quality applications requires commitment, but it is well worth the effort! This document outlines the training process of the SOAR Online Course, the time commitment for application assistance, follow up and outcome tracking, involvement with local steering committees, and the benefits of participating in the SOAR initiative.
A key component of the SOAR model is developing strong collaborations with SSA and DDS. The SAMHSA SOAR TA Center has created a guide to help! This document provides examples of how successful relationships benefit SOAR-trained case managers, SSA, and DDS.
Sharing Our Successes
Multi-state Collaboration Leads to Incredible SOAR Success in Kansas
Robyn Nienstedt-Whitaker from Crosswinds Counseling and Wellness in Emporia, Kansas, wrote in to share an inspiring SOAR success story:
Jennifer* was referred to me for our transitional living program after she was released from jail. I had previous experience working with her and knew that she had been denied SSA benefits a couple of times. Jennifer struggled to open up due to her traumatic history and paranoia, making finding accurate history and hospitalizations for her difficult. However, we were able to obtain records that verified her treatment and housing in multiple states. Records were able to verify numerous hospital and jail stays.
During the waiting stage, Jennifer absconded from probation, walked away from the transitional living program, and had a warrant out from her arrest. Several months later, we were contacted by a psychiatric hospital in another state stating that she was inpatient there. Jennifer returned to Kansas to resolve her legal matters while waiting on an SSA determination. In September, Jennifer was approved for SSA benefits. Due to being able to verify that Jennifer was experiencing homelessness and in a psychiatric hospital at the time of the previous denial, SSA determined her onset date to be in 2015. She was awarded over $30,000 in back payment and now has a reliable income for the first time in her life. Without a SOAR worker, Jennifer would have been unable to complete the SSA process again. This is why SOAR works!
Thank you so much for sharing this SOAR success, Robyn! What an incredible story of collaboration and persistence!
The next SOARing Over Lunch Conference Call will take place on February 11, 2020, 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.
On January 22, 2020, the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center hosted the webinar Completing Quality SOAR Applications: SSA's Sequential Evaluation—Understanding Step 3 (The Listings) and Step 5 (The Grids). In this webinar, presenters shared guidance on SSA's 5-step Sequential Evaluation, the Listings, and the Grids. In addition, SOAR practitioners shared tips on how to reference the Listings and Grids in Medical Summary Reports. The materials and recording from this webinar are now available for download.
Partner Opportunity: SAMHSA's GAINS Center Seeks Experienced Trainers to Participate in Trauma-Informed Responses Train-the-Trainer Event
SAMHSA's GAINS Center is offering experienced trainers the opportunity to apply to become the local expert in providing their How Being Trauma-Informed Improves Criminal Justice System Responses training program. The GAINS Center is currently soliciting applications from experienced individual trainers who are interested in developing their capacity to provide this training to their agency or community. The target audiences for the training program are primarily community-based criminal justice system professionals, including law enforcement, community corrections (probation, parole, and pre-trial services), court personnel, as well as human service providers that serve adult justice-involved populations. Selected applicants will learn to facilitate the training via a centralized Train-the-Trainer event and subsequently deliver the training program in their local communities across the country. While not a requirement to apply for this opportunity, this year's training events will place a special emphasis during the selection process on applicants who provide training to drug courts and/or reentry programs.
SAMHSA's GAINS Center is offering this event to those who successfully complete the application process at no cost to the participant. While participants must cover their own travel expenses, there are no fees for registration, tuition, materials, or follow-up technical assistance and support associated with the event. There are three TTT events scheduled for June 10-11, July 22-23, and August 12-13, 2020, at the Sage Colleges in Albany, NY, so please note the dates before applying. You will be expected to attend one of these full 2-day trainings. If this TTT event for individuals is of interest to you, please review the solicitation and submit your completed application form to the GAINS Center no later than February 21, 2020.
Applicants must be masters, doctoral, or post-doctoral-level part-time or full-time graduate students pursuing studies in accredited programs at the time of the award (Fall Semester of 2020). Selected students will receive a stipend of $10,000 for the 1-year program.