SSI Outreach Access & Recovery (SOAR) Project

SOAR Project

The Homeless Advocacy Project (HAP) – SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery Project (SOCAR). It is designed to quickly secure Federal Disability Benefits.

The Homeless Advocacy Project – SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, Recovery Project (SOCAR).  It’s been designed to quickly get Federal Disability Benefits. For helpless men, women, and youth who are homeless and at risk of homelessness.  These individuals are too sick to work. They really need their monthly Supplemental Security Income disability benefits to survive.

In 2007, the HAP created the first SOAR Project in Pennsylvania.  The HAP project partnered with the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Pennsylvania Bureau of Disability Determination (BDD).  In order to speed up the disability benefits application process for chronically homeless Philadelphians.  In fact it was copied after a federal initiative of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).  The HAP developed and still continues to operate Philadelphia’s SOAR Project to this day.  It rapidly secures SSI benefits for disabled homeless adults and youth.  A lot of HAP’S SOAR clients are disabled veterans who are either ineligible for VA benefits.  Or without income while navigating through the slow process of VA claims.  That’s when claimants become homeless and living on the streets.

Since the HAP’s first SOAR Project’s SSI application filing was late 2007.  The project has maintained a 98% approval rate.  While rapidly getting SSI benefits for more than 1,800 clients.  With an average of only 52 days from filing date to the determination.  SSI claims for the homeless individuals outside the SOAR Project.  Only have an average approval rate of 10% to 15% of the time. This means most homeless claimants face a difficult and long wait for their appeal case.  Unfortunately, they have to wait two years until a decision is made on their SSI or SSDI claim.  The waiting period is when a person is too sick to work.  Then the claimants become trapped in homelessness, and trying to survive with no income on the streets. On the other hand,  the HAP’s SOAR clients quickly get their SSI or SSDI benefits.

This will enable them to solve their homelessness problems by renting a room. Claimants can apply and qualify for public housing programs.  They are able to move in with a family member.  Or a friend since claimants will have some money to contribute to the household.

The program’s success in clearing up homelessness through its SOAR Project.  However, the HAP has expanded their Project which means preventing homelessness even more.  It can help particularly for the helpless populations.  In 2009, HAP partnered with the Philadelphia Department of Human Services to expand SOAR for disabled youth transitioning from foster care and medical treatment facilities.  This will avoid them from being discharge to the streets.  The HAP Project further their extended scope tool for homelessness prevention when they launched the SOAR re-entry program in 2013.

The generous funding from Sam Fels Fund and Barra Foundation.  This program was created to secure a steady income for disabled prisoners who participate in the Philadelphia’s Mental Health Court.

SOAR representation is offered “behind the walls” so their SSI benefits can be approved upon their prison released. Re-entry SOAR participants are able to obtain stable housing.   SSI and SSDI will provide financial support to decrease the likelihood of re-offending.

For more information about HAP’s SOAR Project. Please contact HAP’s Managing Attorney Michele Levy at melvy@haplegal.org

Call the SAMHSA Headquarters at 877-SAMHSA-7 (877-726-4727) 800-487-4889 (TDD).  Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. to find your local SAMHSA office in your area.

https://www.samhsa.gov/homelessness-programs-resources/grant-programs-services/soar

You can also contact Homeless Advocacy Project at 215-523-9595 or 1800-837-2672. Or via email inof@haplegal.org.  Or write to Homeless Advocacy Project 1429 Walnut Street, 15th Floor, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19102.

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