Findings from a Study of the SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery Initiative

Jacqueline Kauff, Jonathan Brown, Norma Altshuler, Noelle Denny-Brown, and Emily Sama Martin

September 2009

"The Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) programs provide critical income support for those who meet eligibility requirements. For individuals or families who are homeless, receiving SSI or SSDI is often an important first step in improving their life circumstances. However, the combination of disabilities that often include mental health and/or substance abuse problems, and the precariousness of the living situations of individuals who are homeless make it difficult for them to successfully complete the SSI/SSDI application process. The SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) initiative aims to improve access to SSI/SSDI benefits for individuals who are homeless through a multi-pronged strategy designed to mitigate the challenges this population faces when navigating the SSI/SSDI application process. One main aspect of the SOAR initiative is the provision of technical and strategic planning assistance to help states develop policies and procedures that will aid individuals who are homeless obtain SSI/SSDI. To determine how and the extent to which SOAR is achieving its goals, the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the Department of Health and Human Services contracted with Mathematica Policy Research (Mathematica) in 2007 to conduct an evaluation of SOAR. This report summarizes the findings from the evaluation."

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