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District of Columbia

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Please select your state to view information and contacts for SOAR in your state. While there is SOAR activity in every state, there are not SOAR services available in every community.

State Information

District of Columbia SOAR State Team

State Team Lead(s):

  • Kate Baasch

  • Ashley Moore
    Phone: 202-386-7605

TA Center Liaison:

  • Kristin Lupfer
    Phone: (518) 439-7415 x5262

SOARing in Washington, DC

The SOAR effort in Washington, DC is an initiative designed to increase access to SSI/SSDI for eligible adults who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and have serious mental illness, medical impairment, and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder that prevents them from working.

Individuals interested in training are encouraged to contact the SOAR State Lead or the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center using the contact information above for more information about SOAR.

Expectations of Participation in SOAR

Individuals may become eligible to utilize the SOAR model by completing the SOAR Online Course. Before beginning the online curriculum, individuals are encouraged to contact the State Team Lead or SAMHSA SOAR TA Center to discuss their training needs and expectations. After completing and passing the SOAR online course, newly trained individuals must meet with one of the DC SOAR State Co-leads to review how to use the process in DC and will then gain access to a shared online toolkit for active DC SOAR Providers. We recommend that individuals get trained in SOAR only if they intend to use it regularly to complete at least one SOAR-assisted claim per month and have the time built into their work schedule to do so (at least 20 hours a month, 5 hours/week available to dedicate to SOAR focused work).

Expectations of SOAR-trained Caseworkers

  • If new to SOAR in DC, coordinate with the DDS Medical Relations Officer to set up a secure email server so you can email directly and securely about cases with SSA/DDS. 
  • Develop the referrals received by meeting the individual referred to discuss physical/mental health barriers to work, complete the SOAR Initial Meeting Worksheet, and collect medical records (or supporting links to care) before taking on a case- all to develop a strategy for trying to meet step 3 or step 5 in SSA’s sequential evaluation. 
  • Serve as appointed representative for the purpose of applying for SSI/SSDI. Representation includes proactive and direct coordination with SSA and DDS on behalf of the applicant, responding to questions from SSA/DDS about the claimant, receiving copies of all mail sent to the applicant, and submitting application materials to SSA and medical records and required information to DDS using Electronic Records Express.
  • Complete the applications for both SSI and SSDI.
  • Continue to collect medical records from providers who have treated the applicant over the last two years.
  • Write a comprehensive SOAR Medical Summary Report that includes psychosocial, treatment, and functional information that is co-signed, if possible, by a physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, or nurse practitioner who has seen the individual. SOAR caseworkers are encouraged to send redacted versions of their first three Medical Summary Reports to the SAMHSA SOAR TA Center for quality review before submission to DDS.
  • Conduct ongoing outreach and engagement with the individual to stay connected throughout the process and to work with the individual to identify and link with meaningful resources to obtain other needed services and treatment such as housing, physical and mental health care, other support services, food, and clothing.
  • Track applications and outcomes, including number of applications completed, approvals/denials, and time to decision from application submission to receipt of SSA’s decision in SAMHSA’s Online Application Tracking (OAT) tool.
  • Report outcomes on at least an annual basis within the stated timeframes as requested.
  • SOAR case workers do not charge participants a fee- no fees will be collected from the participant or participant’s SSA benefits for completion or decision of the application.
  • Actively collaborate with local SOAR Leads. Participation in the monthly virtual SOAR Providers Meeting is strongly encouraged.
  • Participate in refresher courses and quality reviews of applications. The ability to submit SOAR applications is contingent upon following the local SOAR process (which can be obtained from the DC SOAR Leadership Team). 

SOAR-trained individuals will also be connected with the State Team Lead, the SOAR TA Center Liaison, and Local SOAR Leads. Any of these persons may be contacted for information or questions at any time about SOAR, and they are available to assist with connections to SSA and DDS offices in the state.

Outcomes Tracking

Training in the use of the Online Application Tracking (OAT) is available, and the SOAR TA Center can answer questions about the OAT system. SOAR-trained caseworkers are expected to enter data about their SSI/SSDI applications using the SOAR model as they complete each application. The SOAR TA Center will review data periodically and follow up with SOAR case workers regarding this data and quality review of applications.

Local Leads:

  • Kate Baasch
    Washington, DC

  • Nykkira Cain
    Washington, DC
    Phone: 240-725-2543

  • Juanita Driver
    Washington, DC
    Phone: 202-809-2856

  • Jennifer MacLean
    Washington, DC
    Phone: 202-830-6158

  • Jaztina Somerville
    Washington, DC
    Phone: 202-603-1414

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