What is the SOAR Ohio Project?
The SOAR Ohio project helps move Ohio’s most vulnerable populations into better housing opportunities. We work on behalf of disabled individuals who are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless, preparing to exit institutions and/or a diagnosis of a severe and persistent mental illness by helping them expedite the federal Supplemental Security Income/Social Security Disability Insurance (SSI/SSDI) application process to access safe, decent, affordable housing.
The application process for SSI/SSDI is very complicated and difficult to navigate and requires extensive documentation. For people struggling with homelessness or exiting jails, prisons, or hospitals, access to these programs can be extremely challenging. Approval on initial application for people who experiencing or at-risk of homelessness and who have no one to assist them is about 10-15 percent. For those who have a mental illness, substance use issues, or co-occurring disorders that impair cognition, the application process is even more difficult – yet accessing these benefits is often a critical first step toward recovery, housing and stability.
COHHIO has adopted the SOAR (SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery) model developed by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to address this critical need in Ohio. SOAR-trained case managers submit complete and quality applications that are approved quickly.
How does the Project Work? Clients work with SOAR Ohio Specialists in agencies around Ohio. These are highly trained caseworkers who use the evidenced-based SOAR methodology (SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery) to complete expedited disability applications on behalf of clients.
Through a strong partnership with the Social Security Administration and the Division of Disabilities Determination, SOAR Ohio Specialists represent clients during the application process from start to finish. To locate a SOAR Ohio Specialist, click on the “Locate a SOAR Ohio Specialist” button above.
Who is eligible to work with a specialist? Individuals who are homeless meeting the SSA/SOAR definition of homelessness (living on the streets, “couch surfing,” etc.), at risk of homelessness (e.g. home in foreclosure) or exiting a prison, hospital, nursing home, or other institution, and who present with a mental illness and/or physical disability that interferes with their ability to work may be eligible to work with a Specialist.
What are the outcomes? The SOAR Ohio Project has helped thousands of Ohioans access the disability benefits they need to help maintain their housing, health, and financial stability. Ohio’s program stood out as first in the nation for applications submitted and a close second for approvals granted, according to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s 2016 SOAR Outcomes Report. The SOAR Ohio team has also helped clients get results much faster than the national average. From July 2016 to March 2017, communities across Ohio have seen the impact of $1.8 million in financial support and medical coverage for clients approved through the SOAR program. Click here for the 2017 SOAR Outcome Report.
For more information: Contact Amy Lamerson, SOAR State Lead with COHHIO, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at: 614-280-1984 x.128.