SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) is an evidence-based method of assisting people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness to apply for Social Security Disability benefits (SSI/SSDI). SOAR helps communities increase access to disability benefits by providing a streamlined process to complete applications and communicating critical knowledge about SSI/SSDI.
- SOAR Online Course
Interested in learning more and getting trained in the SOAR process? You can complete this free SOAR Online Course. The course generally takes about 20 hours to complete, and the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) will provide 20 CEUs to service providers who successfully complete the course.
- SOAR Trainings by All Chicago
All Chicago periodically provides SOAR-focused trainings. Please check the All Chicago Training Portal for current offerings.
SOAR-Trained Service Providers
- SOAR Local Process
Shows the Chicago-specific process for completing a SOAR application
- SSA Contact List
Contact list when determining how to reach out to the Social Security Administration (SSA)
- OAT User Guide
Guide for tracking outcomes using the Online Application Tracking (OAT) system
- Medical Records Guide
Evolving reference document for assistance with requesting medical records for SOAR claims
SOAR Provider Call
The SOAR team hosts a monthly provider call as an opportunity for SOAR providers to bring their questions about the process, share resources, discuss and seek advice on current SOAR cases without identifying participants, and hear updates about SOAR at the CoC level. The monthly call takes place the last Thursday of each month, at 11:00 AM. Email Margaret Smith to register.
Agencies have various methods for identifying SOAR applicants. A report is available in HMIS (in the Advanced Reporting tool) to assist with this need. This report pulls all clients currently enrolled in a given program that have 1) one or more self-reported disabilities, and 2) zero income. In the Advanced Reporting tool browser, the report’s name is “SOAR Eligible Clients” and is accessible through the following path: Public Folder/Chicago CoC Reports (Secure)/CES/SOAR Eligible Clients.
SOAR in the Continuum of Care
The Chicago CoC has identified SOAR as a powerful tool to increase income of those experiencing homelessness and housing instability in our system. To increase our system’s capacity to deliver SOAR services, we have two SOAR workgroups:
SOAR Applications & Trainings Workgroup
The purpose of this group is to oversee SOAR community mobilization and training, and provide support and oversight to a community of SOAR providers. The goals of this group are to develop and execute a plan to mobilize the community around SOAR and train enough providers to complete 100 applications per year, and to develop and execute a plan to provide support and oversight to a community of SOAR providers.
Expertise needed: Anyone with interest and/or experience with SOAR or SSI/SSDI, especially with a particular expertise or interest in quality improvement and training, is welcome to join this group.
Meeting details: The group meetings occur at All Chicago on the second Wednesday of every month from 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM. Contact Margaret Smith for more information.
SOAR Collaborations & Sustainability Workgroup
The purpose of this group is to oversee SOAR outcomes tracking and incorporate and sustain three dedicated SOAR providers in Chicago’s SOAR landscape. It will also oversee the maintenance and enhancement of SOAR collaborations with SSA, DDS, the medical community, and other relevant areas of the community. The group’s goals are to develop and execute a plans to monitor outcomes tracking, sustain at least three dedicated SOAR providers, and ensure an ongoing positive relationship with SSA and DDS. It will also develop and execute a plan to work alongside the medical community in enhancing and sustaining SOAR services, including developing shared outcomes, and develop and execute a plan to collaborate with other community groups/stakeholders that have a stake in SOAR’s success.
Expertise needed: Anyone with interest and/or experience with SOAR or SSI/SSDI, especially with particular expertise or interest in tracking and monitoring outcomes, or with particular expertise or interest in collaborating with SSA, DDS, the medical and behavioral health sector, and/or the justice system, is welcome to join this group.
Meeting details: The group meetings occur at All Chicago on the last Tuesday of every month from 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM. Contact Margaret Smith for more information.