SOAR November eNews

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Contact Us Trainings SSA Webinars

New SOAR Website!

The SOAR TA Center's website has a new and improved look! In addition to a refreshed look and enhanced user experience, the new SOAR TA Center website has the following features:
  • SOAR Online Course, which trains case managers to assist individuals who are experiencing homelessness to apply for SSI/SSDI via the SOAR method
  • State Pages, with descriptions of SOAR programs in every state, lists of local leads and trainers, and relevant documents
  • Ask a Question, where SOAR community members can ask questions about SSI/SSDI requirements, the online course, outcomes, or anything related to the SOAR process
  • Password-protected SOAR Leaders section to access training materials and resources
Bookmark the new website: and please update the links on your agency websites! If you have questions about the new website, please contact

Community Partners

On August 5, 2014, SOAR TA Center team member, Jen Elder, Senior Project Associate, presented on the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans' webinar, "Connection to Income: Benefits Payments through VA and SSA." Participants in the webinar learned how local VSOs can help rapidly connect homeless Veterans to their benefits and services and how to incorporate SSA benefits acquisition efforts into programs serving Veterans using the SOAR model. 

SOAR News and Accomplishments

North Carolina: Emily Carmody of the North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness, shared some amazing news with the SOAR TA Center: "Local Access to Coordinated Healthcare (LATCH) is a program of the Division of Community Health within Duke University School of Medicine that provides services to the uninsured and underinsured population in Durham, NC. LATCH hired their first full-time dedicated SOAR case manager, Elizabeth McDermott, in 2010 after community stakeholders met and assessed the need for SOAR work in Durham County.  Elizabeth McDermott serves as the Disability Services Coordinator completing SOAR applications, the chair of the Durham County disability workgroup, and conducts community outreach and education to medical and social providers. With a 95 percent approval on initial applications, Duke University Health System has recouped over 1.75 million dollars from 60 applications.  An additional full time SOAR case manager, Candice Chilton, was brought on in early 2014 as a result of the high demand for services." Way to go, North Carolina!
Oregon: Central City Concern's B.E.S.T. Program received its 1,000th SOAR approval this September! Congratulations, Oregon!

If you have a SOAR-related success story to share, e-mail

Job Announcements

The Bert Nash Center in Lawrence, KS is seeking a Benefits & Entitlement Case Manager.
The Colorado Disability Benefits Support Program in Denver, CO is seeking 3.5 Disability Benefits Advocates.
Visit for more details on these two postings.

Upcoming Events

Webinar: SOAR Representation with Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs)

Join us for our next webinar on Wednesday, November 19, 3:00-4:30 p.m. (EST).

A very common "post entitlement" issue that SOAR providers will encounter are Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs). CDRs are periodic reviews to determine that SSI and SSDI recipients continue to be eligible for disability benefits. This is a genuine threat to a SOAR applicant's continued receipt of benefits, and many applicants will receive notice of CDR in the coming year.  SOAR providers are not expected to represent their applicants indefinitely. However, if you have worked well with an applicant and know his or her SSI/SSDI situation, it may be easy for you to help with problems that may arise with their benefits.   Presenters will provide an in-depth description of CDRs, paying close attention to "triggers for review," and will cover the SOAR providers role in assisting with CDRs.
This webinar is recommended for SOAR Coordinators, SOAR Trainers, SOAR Leaders, and for individuals who would like more information on how CDR's can affect disability benefits.
  • Alexander Balaban, Chief, External Contacts Region at New Jersey Division of Disability Determination Services in Newark, NJ, will provide a description of the CDR process, triggers for review, medical improvement standard, and the sequential evaluation for CDRs.
  • Gai Lorenzen, Managing Attorney at LAW (Legal Action of Wisconsin) in Racine, WI, will discuss practice tips on how to assist with CDRs.
Click here to register for this webinar.

Federal Updates

Social Security 2015 Cost-of-Living Adjustments Announced 

2015 Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) Announced: The Social Security Administration has announced a 1.7 percent COLA increase for 2015. "Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 64 million Americans will increase 1.7 percent in 2015...Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2014." The SSI Federal Payment Standard for an individual will increase to $733 per month in 2015.  Read the press release. Read the 2015 Social Security Changes fact sheet.

HHS Releases Two New Reports on Using Medicaid to Cover Services for People in Permanent Supportive Housing 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) released two new reports: a primer on Using Medicaid for People Experiencing Chronic Homelessness and Tenants of Permanent Supportive Housing, and a companion document, Medicaid and Permanent Supportive Housing for Chronically Homeless Individuals: Emerging Practices from the Field. Read the full press release.

Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program Funding Notification 

The Supportive Services for Veteran Families Program has released a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA).  The NOFA will make approximately $93 million available over a 3-year period for non-renewable grants to eligible entities proposing services for one of the 28 high-need Continuums of Care (CoCs) listed in the NOFA. From the NOFA: "Grantees are expected to access the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) program either though community linkages or by training staff to deliver SOAR services."  You may hear from applicants in your community.  Please contact us if you have any questions about integrating SOAR and SSVF. The application deadline is December 5, 2014. 

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