SOAR is an amazing program that helps people who are homeless or at risk for becoming homeless with their Social Security disability applications.
SOAR is totally free! Totally! Always. SOAR programs exist throughout the country – usually at nonprofit and government agencies.
Unfortunately, SOAR is not available in all areas. If you are able to get help from SOAR, you are very lucky!
Who Can Use SOAR?
Most SOAR programs require a diagnosis of serious mental illness.
SOAR is designed to help people who are homeless or “at risk for homelessness.” You do not need to be sleeping on the street. You may be eligible if you have other circumstances such as:
- an eviction notice or foreclosure notice
- living in a condemned building or other space not intended for sleeping
- being released from prison or a residential facility or institution
- in transitional housing with a time limit
- temporarily staying somewhere you’re being asked to leave
- living in a shelter or supportive housing program
Some SOAR programs will only work with people that have difficulty with filling out forms and attending meetings and would be unable to complete the process on their own.
Does SOAR Work?
SOAR does incredible work in helping people who are disabled and homeless or at risk for homelessness.
Some areas have amazing outcomes. In Philadelphia, the success rate is 96%! In Nashville it is 99%!
People who use SOAR are twice as likely to get approved when they first apply. Also, they often get approved much more quickly. Success rates vary by area. Here’s where you can view SOAR outcomes by state.
When Can I Use SOAR?
New applications: Yes. SOAR specializes in initial applications.
Requests for Reconsideration: Maybe. Contact your local program and ask.
Hearing Appeals: Less likely. Some SOAR programs do hearing appeals, but many do not.
With and Without SOAR
Applications with SOAR:
- Cost = $0
- Average Approval Time = 3 months
- Chances of Approval for Initial Application= 67%
Applications Without SOAR:
- Cost = $0 – $6,000 (depends if you hire a lawyer)
- Typical Approval Time = 2 – 3 years
- Chances of Approval for Initial Application = 33%
What Will SOAR Write About Me?
If you work with SOAR, they will create a Medical Summary Report about you and your medical history. This is a unique service offered by SOAR. A doctor, lawyer or regular caseworker will not typically write this type of report for you. A good Medical Summary Report can be a great help and make a huge difference in your case.
Your SOAR caseworker may ask you a lot of questions. All of your answers may go into the report. They will also observe the way you dress, speak, and act and how well you are able to function, focus, concentrate, interact with people, and remember things. All of these things may also go into your Medical Summary Report. Some SOAR workers may also speak with other people who know you.
Here are some samples of reports written by SOAR workers. They give you an idea of the type of work SOAR does to help your application. Sample Medical Summary Reports.
In addition, your SOAR caseworker will help you collect your medical records and help manage your application and appointments.
Website & Tips
Some of our readers have visited the SOAR website, and gotten scared off or confused and then given up on SOAR. Don’t give up! Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- After looking at the website, some people get the idea that they need to have an addiction to qualify for SOAR. Not true! The website just says the word “addiction” a lot.
- After looking at the website, some people think there is no SOAR program in their area. Maybe not true! Many of the SOAR programs and areas are not listed on the website. You may have to make several phone calls or send several emails to find someone trained in SOAR in your area.
- After looking at the website, some people have reported that they are confused by SOAR and don’t believe it will help them. Not true! SOAR greatly helps people, but the website is designed as a training tool for caseworkers, not for ordinary folks.
How Find SOAR
Here’s where you can find the SOAR Directory along with contact information. Be sure to contact them and ask about your area, even if your area does not appear on the website: https://soarworks.prainc.com/directory
SOAR shares all their tools for free on their website. If SOAR is not available in your area, you may be able to find a local Caseworker or Social Worker in your area to and see if they can assist you: How to Create a Medical Summary Report and How to Get a Social Worker
Don’t Give Up
Some readers report that it was not easy to get into the SOAR program. It may take many calls or tries. The people who work doing SOAR are often overworked trying to save the world! They are doing amazing things to help people. Some of them are volunteers. They may also require that you get a referral or start mental health services at their agency.
Please don’t give up. If you think SOAR can help you, it is worth persisting.
Daisy Gets Help Through SOAR
“I applied for five years, and got turned down over and over again. My daughter and I became homeless. Finally, someone told me about the SOAR program. The caseworker helped me start a new application and it was approved in five months. I am so grateful for their help.”
Bougainvillea Gets Help Through SOAR
“When I first called SOAR, I was told there is no SOAR program in my area. I kept calling. I called nine different people from SOAR, I called and emailed people on the SOAR website, and then waited to be referred multiple times, until I finally found a Social Worker who could help. She does not work for SOAR but she has had “SOAR training.”
“My Social Worker is great. She was trained by the SOAR program and works for a local nonprofit who helps homeless folks get resources. I hope this will help others who are looking for assistance.”
Azalea Gets Help Through SOAR
“Several people told me I’d never win disability benefits the first time around and that I’d definitely never win without a lawyer. Well, I did both!. SOAR connected me to a local social services organization that assigned a social worker to my case. She was phenomenal.
“I learned about SOAR and won my SSI case because of this How to Get On website. I also learned a lot about asking for reasonable accommodations and appealing unfavorable decisions. This site is the best.”
SOAR: SSI/SSDI Outreach Access & Recovery
SAMHSA: Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration