What is SOAR?
SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) is a national project funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that is designed to increase access to SSI/SSDI for eligible Individuals who are able to apply for benefits as an adult under SSA rules. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are disability income benefit programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that also provide Medicaid and/or Medicare health insurance to individuals who are eligible.
SOAR encourages collaboration among human service agencies to improve access to SSI/SSDI by facilitating strategic planning at the state and local levels. SOAR is implemented through local human service agencies such as shelters, Community Mental Health Agencies, Department of Human Services, community action agencies, and other nonprofit agencies.
Individuals who are disabled and experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness may be helped by SOAR. SOAR uses the same definition of homelessness as the Federal program Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) program: persons who are “homeless or at imminent risk of becoming homeless” and have a mental illness and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder. All PATH teams across the State of Michigan are equipped to assist people who are experiencing homelessness and disability via the SOAR process. Michigan PATH information can be found here.
The SSI/SSDI application process is complicated and can be difficult to navigate, particularly for people who are experiencing homelessness or who are returning to the community from institutions (jails, prisons or hospitals). For those who have a mental illness, substance use issues, or co-occurring disorders that impair cognition, the application process poses an even greater challenge. SOAR can help!
Providers assisting people with SOAR do not charge persons applying for Social Security benefits for their SOAR services.
In the six years that SOAR has operated in Michigan, over 1,800 people have been trained to complete applications and at latest count, there were over 2,870 applications completed, with a combined success rate of 66% on first time applications and appeals.
If you are interested in assisting people to apply for SSI and SSDI using SOAR or would like more information about SOAR in Michigan, contact Tara Truax, Michigan SOAR Coordinator at TruaxT1@michigan.gov or visit soarworks.prainc.com.
To learn who is trained in completing SOAR applications in your community, contact Tara Truax (313-456-4360 | firstname.lastname@example.org) or Wayne Kennerly (313-456-0533 | email@example.com).