An Evaluation of SOAR: The Implementation and Outcomes of an Effort to Increase Access to SSI and SSDI

Publisher: Washington, DC: Mathematica Policy Research
Sep 23, 2014
Jacqueline Kauff, Elizabeth Clary, and Julia Lyskawa
The SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) project, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), aims to improve access to SSI and SSDI among individuals who are homeless or who are at risk of becoming homeless, with a specific focus on individuals with mental illness. Communities that implement SOAR do not receive any funding from SAMHSA to do so; rather, the SOAR Technical Assistance (TA) Center provides states and local communities with free TA intended to help them (1) create systems-level change through promoting collaboration among agencies that serve this population, (2) train professionals to assist individuals through the application process, and (3) sustain and strengthen each of these efforts over time. To implement SOAR, states and local communities must train people who work with the target population to provide the assistance and facilitate relationships among various entities that support the assistance process. Each state implementing SOAR must designate an individual (the state lead) to oversee the implementation effort. Local communities are also encouraged to designate an individual to lead local efforts. State and local SOAR leads determine who to train to provide application assistance and how often to provide training. Training is based on the Stepping Stones to Recovery curriculum, which emphasizes 10 practices as critical for improving the quality of SSI and SSDI applications and facilitating timely determinations.