SOAR Assists Adults Living With Disabilities Receive Approval for SSI/SSDI Benefits

Since 2006, over 39,213 SOAR SSI/SSDI Applications Approved Across U.S.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) developed the SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) model to address a critical need.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are disability income benefits administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that also provide Medicaid and/or Medicare health insurance to eligible children and adults. The application process for SSI/SSDI is complicated and difficult to navigate. Nationally, about 29 percent of adults who apply for these benefits are approved on initial application and appeals take an average of over 1.5 years to complete.

But the SOAR program has seen success:

  • Since 2006, over 39,213 initial SOAR SSI/SSDI applications have been approved,
  • The 2018 approval rate on initial SOAR applications averages 65 percent in 100 days, and
  • In 2018 alone, SSI/SSDI brought at least $406 million into the economies of the participating localities.

For people who are experiencing or at-risk of homelessness or who are returning to the community from institutions (jails, prisons, or hospitals), access to these programs can be extremely challenging. Approval on initial application for people who are experiencing or at-risk of homelessness and who have no one to assist them is about 10-15 percent.

For those who have a serious mental illness, substance use issues, or co-occurring disorders that impair cognition, the application process is even more difficult. But accessing SSI and SSDI benefits is often a critical first step in building resiliency and supporting recovery.

SOAR-trained case managers submit complete and quality applications that are approved quickly. By maximizing income supports through benefits access and employment support, individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness can achieve housing stability. 

Click here for key infographics from Policy Research Associates that can help your agency communicate the success and reach of SOAR.

The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) also provides SOAR resources.