An Overview of SOAR in the U.S.
What is SOAR?
SOAR stands for SSI/SSDI Outreach Access & Recovery. SOAR is a process sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in collaboration with the Social Security Administration (SSA) since 2005.
What does SOAR do?
SOAR is a process expressly designed to increase access to SSA disability benefits for those eligible people who are either currently experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness.
What has SOAR done?
The SOAR TA Center has tracked outcomes from the beginning. In the ten years from 2005 to 2015 SOAR has helped 31,247 persons experiencing or at risk of homelessness get approved for their disability benefits on the initial application. All these successful SOAR applications led to an astonishing sum of nearly $275 million brought into the economies of participating states and localities.
An Overview of SOAR in Illinois
A Brief History of IL SOAR
Every state in the U.S. currently participates in the SOAR Process. Although there were SOAR efforts from the beginning, Illinois didn’t become an official SOAR state until 2010.
IL SOAR has spent years training individuals and organizations in the SOAR Process. Thanks to these efforts there are now many people in Illinois with a working knowledge of the SOAR.
IL SOAR Outcomes
This training and knowledge has resulted in a high initial application approval rating for IL SOAR. In Illinois, the 2015 approval rate for SOAR initial applications was strong 72%. This 72% rating is exceedingly impressive when comparing the approval rates for non-SOAR initial application. The approval rate for a non-SOAR initial application prepared for persons experiencing homelessness was only 10% to 15 %. Meanwhile all non-SOAR initial applications only had a 28% approval rate.
What’s Next for IL SOAR?
Currently IL SOAR is in the process of revitalizing existing SOAR communities throughout the state and strategically planning which communities to approach to create new SOAR communities.
Your IL SOAR Team
What is the IL SOAR Team?
The IL SOAR Team currently consists of a IL SOAR Lead and a IL SOAR Coordinator that are housed at the DuPage Federation in Lombard. Although we are located in Lombard, IL we travel extensively throughout the state.
The IL SOAR Team works to make sure that the SOAR Process in Illinois functions smoothly and efforts to expand progress seamlessly. We work with all stakeholders including providers, clients, SSA staff, hospitals, the SOAR TA Center, and many others to ensure that barriers to the SOAR Process are dealt with in a timely and appropriate manner.
What can the IL SOAR Team do for me?
I’m an Illinois SOAR Provider
We provide certain supports directly to Illinois SOAR Providers. Some of these supports include:
- Help with specific questions on SSA-forms related to the SOAR Process.
- The option to look over a redacted version of a Medical Summary Review.
- Help connecting with the National SOAR TA Center.
- Help connecting to other SOAR Providers.
We provide other supports directly to Illinois SOAR Providers. If you are an Illinois SOAR Provider with a SOAR-related question or concern that doesn’t fall under the above list, then feel free to contact the Illinois SOAR Coordinator.
I’m an Illinois Resident Who is Eligible for SOAR Services
The IL SOAR Team doesn’t take on individual SOAR cases. However, we can try to connect you to SOAR Providers near you. To request a connection to local SOAR Providers contact the Illinois SOAR Coordinator.
I’m a Stakeholder in an Illinois Community Interested in SOAR
If you are interested in bringing SOAR to your community or organization, then the IL SOAR Team can help you discuss everything from special training options to strategic planning efforts.
I’m Looking for Funding for SOAR Efforts in Illinois
There are currently no direct funding sources for SOAR. However, many individual organizations and local collaboratives in Illinois have secured funding for their own SOAR efforts. We can talk to you about some potential funding sources and connect you with experts on the issue.