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April/May 2011

Sharing Our Successes

SOAR News and Accomplishments

Las Cruces, New Mexico. Pamela Angel, the Director of Messilla Valley Community of Hope in Las Cruces, NM successfully advocated for $20,000 in funding for a dedicated SOAR position. The city of Las Cruces provided funding for 1 year and will review the outcomes of applications at the end of the funding cycle. Sue Campbell, SOAR specialist, has already had 8 of her first 10 applications approved. Way to go, Sue!

Prince George's County, Maryland. The Department of Social Services in Prince George's County, MD has recently received funding for a part-time SOAR Outreach Benefits Specialist. Congratulations to Kathryn Blevins and the SOAR team in MD!

Wilmington, North Carolina. Due to the hard work and advocacy of the New Hanover SOAR Project in Wilmington, NC, the community hospital, New Hanover Regional Medical Center, has agreed to fund the continuing efforts of their community's SOAR case worker.  NHRMC will designate a portion of their Medicaid reimbursement back to the program that secured that reimbursement... the SOAR case worker.  To date, the SOAR case worker has helped bring $178,000 in retroactive SSI/SSDI benefits to 45 chronically homeless and/or at-risk clients, approximately $123,000 in indigent care reimbursement to New Hanover Regional Medical Center and $413,000 annually in projected monthly benefits payments.

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

Great New Resource!

What States Provide Online

Almost every state now makes basic information on the five main state-administered low-income benefit programs (SNAP, TANF, Child Care Assistance, Medicaid and CHIP) available on-line. Many states also provide application forms, data on the number of participants, and/or the ability to conduct business online such as applying for or renewing benefits or checking application status. Go to to learn about the online services each state offers. You'll want to make this one of your "favorites"!

Practical Tips...

Use Your Tools!

Remember that big binder you got at your Stepping Stones to Recovery training? Find it on your bookshelf, wipe off that layer of dust and revisit the worksheets at the ends of the modules! The curriculum is full of tools to help support you in your work. Check out the Applicant Assessment Worksheet in Module X, the Substance Use Worksheet in Module VII and the Functional Assessment Worksheet in Module XI. These tools can help you collect and organize information to support a person's application. Can't find your binder? You can also find these worksheets on the SOAR website in Word format.

National SOAR Webinar Series

Strengthening Applications

The third webinar in the Strengthening Applications Series, Diving In: A SOAR Application Walk Through, was held on May 10. Presenters shared strategies for organizing applications, being proactive and following through for more successful outcomes.

The fourth webinar in this series, Quality Review, will be held on July 7, 3:00-4:30 PM (EDT).  Registration information will be sent out soon.

Recordings of SOAR webinars are now available on the SOAR website at

Social Security Information

Electronic Payments for New Applicants - May 1, 2011

Starting on May 1, 2011, individuals who apply for federal benefits (including SSI and SSDI) will receive their payments electronically - paper checks will no longer be an option. When individuals apply, they need to be ready to choose one of the two electronic payment methods recommended by the U.S. Department of the Treasury:

  • Direct deposit - the money will go straight into their bank or credit union checking or savings account on payment day each month.
  • Direct Express® Debit MasterCard® card. For individuals who prefer a prepaid debit card or who don't have a bank account, money is posted to the card account on payment day each month, so they can make purchases, pay bills and get cash immediately. There are no sign-up fees, monthly fees or overdraft charges. Fees for optional services may apply. For information, visit

Click here for more information and a toolkit to share information with providers and consumers in your community.

Train-the-Trainer News

For of the 24 new trainers.

The latest SOAR Train-the-Trainer program was held on April 5-8, 2011 in Columbus, OH. We want to welcome all 24 new trainers from 15 states to the SOAR family and wish you well on your first trainings!


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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