SOAR Helps NJ Improve Capacity on SSI/SSD Outreach, Access and Recovery

SOAR in NJ Assisted SSI/SSDI Applications had a 66% Approval Rate

SOAR – the SSI/SSD Outreach, Access, and Recovery – training increases the access to SSI/SSD income supports and helps to end homelessness.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), has released the national outcomes of 2016 for SSI/SSD Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR).

SAMSHA estimates that in 2016 alone, SSI/SSDI for the individuals served by SOAR brought over $300 million into the economies of participating states and localities.

The SOAR program assistance has increased benefits approval tremendously.

Since the program’s inception, SSI/SSD Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) has assisted people experiencing homeless or who are at risk who have a mental illness, medical impairment, and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder.

The program has assisted individuals with applying for Social Security’s disability benefits programs, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

New Jersey was one of seven states acknowledged for having the most improved capacity. This improved capacity reflects the total decisions and approvals from 2015 to 2016.

  • Based on the 2016 outcomes, New Jersey’s SOAR assisted initial SSI/SSDI applications had a 66% approval rate, with an average of 115 days for a decision.
  • Overall for the past 8 years, New Jersey has a cumulative approval rate of 60%. Compared to the overall years, New Jersey’s 2016 approval rate is up 6%-a huge improvement.
  • National outcomes of SOAR for 2016 show a 67% benefits approval rate with an average of 101 days for a decision.
  • This 67% rate is compared to the initial benefits approval rate of 28% for those who applied for SSI or SSDI in 2014 (ages from 18-64.)

Even those who were denied the initial application for 2016 had a 60% approval rate on reconsideration or appeal, with an average of 196 days on a decision, compared to the national average processing time of 570 days.

For many people, accessing SSI/SSDI benefits is an important first step toward recovery. In addition to connecting individuals with benefits, SOAR encourages employment to increase income and to promote recovery. In the fifteen states that collaborated with employment and/or work incentive programs, 103 individuals were working at the time of their SSI/SSDI application and reported a total of $40,973 in additional earnings.

The implementation of SOAR has led to tremendous cost savings.

  • This cost savings in 2016, was over $1.15 million in Medicaid Reimbursement for 132 individuals, an average of $8,746 per person, in 8 states.
  • And seven states reported having a reimbursement of $168,643 in General Assistance, in 2016.

The program has proved to be effective in creating accessibility and providing positive incentives to provide expansion help of those who have a mental illness, medical impairment, and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder. SOAR has become an essential program to assisting those who struggle with homelessness to reach a better quality of life.

With the current proposed budget by President Trump slashing investment from HUD and Medicaid, it may put in danger millions of American that depend on these programs for affordable homes and healthcare.

Please oppose President Trump’s proposed budget, with our action alert.

Many people, like those who depend on the SOAR program, depend on Medicaid for their basic healthcare needs.

SOAR has proven to be cost saving for Medicaid, and an economic boost for participating states and localities.

Slashes to Medicaid will hurt local communities and state and moreover, those who are the most vulnerable.

2016 SOAR Report

What is SOAR?

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