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

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Publication Date: September 2009

Author(s): Jacqueline Kauff; Jacqueline Kauff; Norma Altshuler; Noelle Denny-Brown; Emily Sama Martin

Topic: Health (Mental health)

Keywords: Social Security Benefits; SSI; Homeless; mental health

Coverage: United States


Although social security disability benefits can provide critical income support as well as job assistance and access to medical services for individuals who are homeless, the benefit application process can be challenging. Many homeless people have no consistent source of medical care, lack a stable address, have fragile social support networks, and have mental health and substance abuse disorders limiting their physical and cognitive functioning. This study found that the SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) initiative can help homeless people access benefits more successfully by encouraging states to bring together social service providers and other agencies to devise strategies on improving the application process. When implemented effectively, SOAR can help prevent chronic homelessness and reduce state and local spending on other assistance programs and health services.


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