Description of Project

Maryland’s SOAR Initiative is led by Maryland Department of Health’s Behavioral Health Administration (BHA). It aims to increase access to the disability income benefit programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for eligible adults who are homeless or who are at risk of homelessness and have a mental illness and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder.
Strong partnerships are a crucial aspect of the SOAR process within Maryland and we are very fortunate to have such committed partnerships with SSA and Disability Determination Services (DDS), many community providers and other state agencies. Without these many partnerships, we would not be able to implement the SOAR Initiative so effectively. 

Expectations of Participation in SOAR

Only individuals who have completed Maryland’s SOAR training are eligible to submit SOAR applications. Additionally, individuals seeking to use SOAR must also meet the following criteria:
  • Work with adults (18 +) experiencing or at risk of homelessness AND diagnosed with a severe mental illness
  • Be willing and able to undertake the key components of the SOAR process, including becoming the applicant’s representative, obtaining medical records, writing medical summary reports, participating in local quality review processes, maintaining communication with SSA/DDS and the local SOAR lead, and collecting and submitting data
  • Have approval from the local SOAR lead to attend the Maryland virtual SOAR training, SOAR Works!
  • Participate in ongoing SOAR related learning events
Online Curriculum and virtual training components
Maryland’s SOAR training consists of two components, namely the online curriculum and a virtual training.
 Individuals who wish to submit SOAR applications must:
  1. Complete modules 1 to 5 of the SOAR online training course, including completing all the ‘Try It’ quizzes  (Undertaking the practice case study is highly recommended but is optional as is completing modules 6 and 7)
  2. Obtain approval from their local lead to attend the virtual training
  3. Complete a virtual training
The online practice case study is optional as are modules 6 and 7.
Virtual SOAR Works! training sessions will be held throughout the year. Please note that undertaking this virtual training is required even if an individual has successfully completed the online curriculum. The virtual training provides crucial state specific material, including forms and contact information, and gives details of policies and procedures that need to be followed when submitting SOAR claims in Maryland.
Prior to commencing the online curriculum, it is strongly recommended that individuals first contact either their local SOAR lead or Caroline Bolas, Director: SOAR Initiative at or 240-314-0331 to discuss their training needs and expectations. To aid this process, PRA will forward the contact details of all providers based in Maryland who register for the online curriculum to the Maryland SOAR State TA team. A member of the TA team will contact providers to ensure they fully understand the training requirements. 
For more information about participating in the SOAR Initiative in Maryland please contact Caroline Bolas, Director: SOAR Initiative, at or 240-314-0331.