Homelessness, Supportive Housing

Brief Examines Use of SOAR Program to Connect Vets to Benefits

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

A September 2014 brief from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – Connecting Veterans to Social Security Benefits: A Key Component in Ending Veteran Homelessness – takes a closer look at the SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR) program and how it assists Veterans in gaining access to key income supports.

The brief describes various benefits that Veterans are eligible for, the impact that Social Security benefits have on VA benefits along with health insurance programs for which Veterans may be eligible. The brief goes on to describe how access to benefits can be improved through the SOAR program. The SOAR model expedites the application and decision process for benefits – case managers help individuals obtain benefits in an average of 100 days.

Improving access to mainstream benefit programs, like Social Security disability benefits, has been identified by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness identified as a key objective in the effort to end homelessness among Veterans by 2015. The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development estimated that during the January 2013 Point-in-Time count 57,849 Veterans were experiencing homelessness. By January 2014, that number had dropped to 49,933. To ensure that number continues to drop as more Veterans secure housing, it is crucial to help Veterans maintain stable incomes.

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