The following SOAR success story was submitted by Evan Jones, SOAR Local Lead, Rhode Island.
We began working with a client who was currently homeless and had been dropped by her lawyer after a second appeal. Our SOAR advocates were able to obtain new records and submit testimony at the ALJ hearing. As the appointed 1696 representative, I was also able to represent the client during her hearing and speak to the judge about what I had observed as her SOAR representative. After nearly two years of delays and roadblocks, the judge awarded disability to our client. Since coming to our agency this client has found sustainable housing, been connected to local benefits, and now has an income she can use to help support herself. What a great win for this Rhode Island SOAR team!
My advice to other SOAR practitioners is to always see the case through. Even though we picked this case up at a very difficult point in the procedure, we were still able to use the SOAR model to secure new records, obtain important collateral evidence, and ensure the client did not have to face a judge alone. All of these things helped bolster her claim and led to a favorable decision.