Online Program

Utilizing Social Security disability benefits to end Veteran homelessness: Results from the field

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 8:50 a.m. - 9:10 a.m.

Jen Elder, MSc, SAMHSA SOAR Technical Assistance Center, Policy Research Associates, Inc., Delmar, NY
SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR), is a federal program sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to increase access to disability benefits among people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.  Approval rates for initial applications for SSI/SSDI among adults who are homeless can be as low as 10 percent. Since 2006, states report 22,863 approvals on initial SSI/SSDI applications, with an approval rate of 65 percent in an average of 94 days using the SOAR model.

Social Security disability benefits are critical sources of income for Veterans with disabling mental or physical health conditions, and lead to increased housing stability and improved healthcare outcomes. In the fall of 2014, the Veterans Administration (VA) implemented a SOAR pilot in four VA Medical Centers with staff from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program and the VA Homeless Patient Aligned Care Team (H-PACT). This presentation will present outcomes from the pilot, as well as lessons learned for expanding SOAR to other HUD-VASH and H-PACT programs.

This presentation will also feature qualitative and quantitative results from SOAR collaborations with Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) grantees. Over half of the SSVF provider organizations utilize SOAR as a key component in increasing access to SSI/SSDI and promoting housing stability. Participants will receive materials with guidance on implementing SOAR, a detailed issue brief on SSI/SSDI for Veterans with examples of successful models, and will be linked with their state or local SOAR programs.

Learning Areas:

Other professions or practice related to public health
Program planning
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss lessons learned from using SOAR in HUD-VASH, H-PACT, and SSVF programs. Analyze best practices for using SOAR with Veterans who have disabling conditions.

Keyword(s): Homelessness, Veterans' Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a Senior Project Associate at the SAMHSA SOAR Technical Assistance Center and am responsible for facilitating strategic planning forums to implement SOAR, and providing SOAR technical assistance and subject matter expertise on SSI/SSDI for Veterans. I lead our national collaborations with the Department of Veterans Affairs and deliver TA to VHA Homeless Programs. I have presented as a subject matter expert on this topic at numerous national conferences and webinars.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.