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Social Security Administration Announces National Native American Office

For November's Native American Heritage Month, we’re highlighting the recent formation of SSA’s Office of Native American Partnerships and sharing resources focused on serving Native communities.

SSA's Office of Native American Partnerships

SSA announced the establishment of the Office of Native American Partnerships within the Office of the Commissioner on October 4, 2022. Instituting the Office of Native American Partnerships supports President Biden’s 2021 Executive Order 13985: Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities. The new office seeks to enhance SSA’s relationships with tribes by elevating and centralizing American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) programs and policies and will serve as the primary point of contact on tribal affairs.  

The Office of Native American Partnerships will seek to improve services for communities through the following activities: 

  • Engaging in meaningful national and regional policy consultations, roundtable discussions, and seminars with tribal and federal experts 
  • Coordinating internal agency Native American efforts and increasing external program awareness among tribal communities 
  • Helping recruit a diverse candidate pool for hiring at all levels of Social Security and serving as the primary point of contact for tribal government offices to foster transparency and collaboration  
  • Conducting ongoing data collection and analysis to improve outreach to tribal communities 

SOAR Resources for Native American Communities

The SOAR model’s culturally sensitive engagement process and holistic approach to SSI/SSDI application assistance can be critical support for AI/AN community members, whether residing on or off reservations. The first step in the engagement process includes understanding which Native communities and organizations are in your service area and reaching out to providers, such as tribal social workers, case managers, family service and behavioral health providers, Indian child welfare representatives, or substance use prevention staff.  

The SAMHSA SOAR TA Center has published several culturally tailored resources to facilitate working with Native communities and serving Native people seeking SSI/SSDI benefits. Below you will find links to resources and directories for providers to support engagement and outreach with Native communities:  

To learn more about SSA’s Office of Native American Partnerships and their AI/AN programs, please visit their AI/AN page