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Find answers to frequently asked questions.

Question:
How much money can a person make and still receive SSI?

If a person is working while applying for SSI and is earning above the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limit set annually by SSA, they will not be eligible for benefits.

However, SSA has many work incentive programs for SSI beneficiaries to assist their efforts to return to work. These programs exclude some income/resources so that SSI recipients can attempt work, and even earn above SGA, without fear of losing their benefits. We recommend that beneficiaries speak with a work incentives specialist to discuss how work will affects their own benefits. A good place to start to find local resources is SSA's Ticket to Work website.

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Question:
What is the rate of approval for applicants who do not use SOAR? The statistics appear positive but would be more useful if shown in comparison to the overall population of those applying and/or those who do not use SOAR.

Great question! Check out our most up-to-date National Outcomes to see how SOAR-assisted applications compare to those without SOAR assistance.

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Question:
Is an individual trained in the SOAR model able to charge a fee for this service?

The expectation is that providers involved with SOAR do not charge persons applying for SSA disability benefits for their services. We work closely with providers to identify alternative sources of funding for their programs. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have identified various methods to fund SOAR activities that do not involve charging the applicant or collecting a fee from the applicant’s back pay. Resources related to SOAR funding and sustainability can be found in the SOAR Library.

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Question:
What is the PATH Program?

The Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) program is administered by the Center for Mental Health Services, a component of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). PATH is a formula grant to the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. There are nearly 600 local organizations that provide PATH services. PATH provides services to people with serious mental illness, including those with co-occurring substance use disorders, who are experiencing homelessness or at imminent risk of becoming homeless.

PATH and SOAR programs directly complement each other’s work and nearly half of the SOAR State Team Leads are also the State PATH Contacts. The PATH program’s objective to connect individuals to mental health services and stable housing is more easily accomplished when people who are homeless have access to the income and health insurance that comes with Social Security benefits. SOAR provides PATH case managers the tools necessary to expedite access to these benefits, resulting in improved housing and treatment outcomes.

Read more: PATH and SOAR Overview

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Question:
Is the SOAR Online Application Tracking (OAT) Program HIPAA Compliant?

Yes, the SOAR Online Application Tracking (OAT) program is fully HIPAA compliant. The system does not collect any personally identifying information about applicants during any part of the process. When users add a new applicant to the database, they create a unique applicant ID. The use of this ID avoids the need for personally identifiable information and helps prevent case duplication.

The ID is a 10-digit alphanumeric in the following format: xx00xx0000 (2 letters/2numbers/2 letters/4 numbers). It can be any letters and numbers you choose - just be sure to note it in your hard copy records.

Additional demographic information collected about an applicant is limited to age (without birthdate) and gender.

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Question:
I saw SOAR training on our Continuum of Care (CoC) application. Should my CoC get involved with SOAR?

Absolutely! The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Continuum of Care Program (CoC) plays a key role in ending homelessness in communities and states. HUD’s description of the program includes: “The Continuum of Care (CoC) Program is designed to promote communitywide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness; provide funding for efforts by nonprofit providers, and State and local governments to quickly rehouse homeless individuals and families while minimizing the trauma and dislocation caused to homeless individuals, families, and communities by homelessness; promote access to and effect utilization of mainstream programs by homeless individuals and families; and optimize self-sufficiency among individuals and families experiencing homelessness” (emphasis added)

SOAR is critical in HUD’s mission to promote access to Social Security disability benefits for individuals with disabling conditions. This access helps promote housing stability and prevents future homelessness for these individuals. As a result, SOAR should be included in local CoC plans to end homelessness.

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Question:
How can I get our local hospital involved in our SOAR effort?
Question:
Can we get funding from the SOAR TA Center to pay for SOAR in our organization?

The SOAR TA Center does not have funds available to pay for SOAR in local organizations and there is no dedicated source of funding for SOAR programs. And yet, all 50 states participate in SOAR at some level by reallocating existing resources; by securing funding through federal and state grants or foundation funding; or by establishing collaborations with hospitals and criminal justice systems.

To support local organizations, the SOAR TA Center developed resources and tools for funding and sustainability, based on best practices from SOAR programs around the country. The SOAR TA Center also maintains a webpage dedicated to upcoming funding opportunities, which is updated frequently with new resources.

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