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November-December 2013

SOAR and Veterans

In October, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) released a memorandum encouraging VA employees to assist with SSI/SSDI applications through the SOAR process. VA personnel are encouraged to be trained in and utilize the SOAR process with veterans they serve who are at-risk for or experiencing homelessness. While VA personnel are not allowed to be an applicant’s SSA-1696 representative or representative payee, they are encouraged to assist with SSI and SSDI applications, gather required medical evidence, and submit documentation to the Social Security Administration, as established by the SOAR process in their community. To view the VA memorandum, please visit: http://soarworks.prainc.com/sites/soarworks.prainc.com/files/Memo_VA_SOAR.pdf


Important OAT News Flash

We’re excited to announce the newly revised Online Application Tracking: https://soartrack.prainc.com. In response to feedback we’ve received, registration is simplified and summary reports updated. For those who have been using OAT, the changes will hopefully make it easier for you to use. Read more here.

Sharing Our Successes

We’d like to share a few of our success stories of individuals who have benefitted from the SOAR process.

McHenry, IL: A Veterans Day Success Story is reported from Illinois.Ted Anderson, a SOAR-certified case worker from Transitional Living Services (TLS) for Veterans in McHenry, IL (about 55 miles northeast of Chicago), met a veteran who had been sleeping under a tree. He had no identification or other documentation. Working together with the other SOAR community partners, they got him an identification card, found him a place to stay, and accompanied him to the Social Security office. Because his wife died many years ago, he was eligible for survivor benefits. He is now at the Lovell VA Health Center in Chicago waiting to hear about the amount of benefits he will receive. Betty Hartwig, TLS Veterans Director of Operations, wanted us to know that SOAR really brought the whole community together and is saving lives. Thank you, Betty! We salute you and everyone at TLS Veterans for your involvement in SOAR. Submitted by Beth Orchard, AmeriCorps VISTA, State SOAR Coordinator, Prairie State Legal Services, Inc., St. Charles, IL

Oklahoma, OK: Recently released from prison in Oklahoma, Murphy explains how SOAR helped him: “There was no way I would’ve made it out [of prison], no way. People want to work, just sometimes they’re not ready to work. They may not have the skills, the knowledge, or the self-confidence that they can work. Having SSI to fall back on is what helped me take care of my basic needs so I could get into this job training program. Now I’m working part time and may move to full-time in the near future. I couldn’t have done that without SSI benefits.” Submitted with permission by Bob Mann, RN, LSW, Administrator of Mental Health Operations, Oklahoma Department of Corrections, Oklahoma City, OK

Grand Rapids, MI: When I first met Dan, he was homeless, in the beginning stages of dementia, and very depressed when I met him. With SOAR’s help, we got him approved for both SSI and SSDI. He now is living in a great adult care facility of his choice and volunteers at God’s Kitchen to help “other people like me.” He has his own spending money and is living well.” Bill Phelps, Network180, Grand Rapids, MI

Nashville, TN: A Successful housing partnership between Park Center’s SOAR program and How’s Nashville, the city’s 100,000 Homes Campaign, enables individuals in the SOAR program to access safe, permanent housing while their SSI/SSDI application is in process. How’s Nashville successfully places almost 65 individuals in permanent housing each month. To learn more visit: http://howsnashville.org/

 

If you have a SOAR-related success story to share, email pheine@prainc.com.

Social Security Updates

2014 Cost of Living Adjustment

The Social Security Administration announced that SSI beneficiaries will receive a 1.5% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2014. Beginning in January, the federal benefit rate for SSI will increase to $721/month. The SSI resource limit will remain at $2,000. The level of substantial gainful activity (SGA) will rise to $1,070/month and a trial work period month will now be $770/month. For additional details about the COLA adjustments, please see our updated 2014 Benefits Threshold Worksheet: http://soarworks.prainc.com/sites/soarworks.prainc.com/files/2014_SSABenefits_and_Thresholds.doc

Upcoming Events

National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day

The National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day will be on December 21, 2013, the first day of winter. Communities throughout the country organize events to honor the lives of individuals who died this year while living on our streets. The National Healthcare for the Homeless Council is a co-sponsor of the event and has resources for communities looking to host a Memorial Day event. Information, including an organizing manual, can be found here: http://www.nhchc.org/resources/consumer/homeless-persons-memorial-day


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The SOAR TA Center is sponsored by the
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Disclaimer: The SOAR Technical Assistance Center develops and distributes E-News with support from SAMHSA, HHS. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official view of HHS or SAMHSA.


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