One of the outstanding informational segments of the conference is awareness of SOAR. A program that should be on the lips of ANY service provider in any field.
Another Breakout session I missed while attending others was entitled "Expediting SSI/SSDI Applications". The CD provided by the conference facilitators again proves it's worth many times over!
*Note to my partner in debriefing: There are two excellent PowerPoints regarding SOAR (Expediting SSI/SSDI Applications) and (SOAR Implementation in a Transitional Housing Setting), I have to share with you. Also a fistful of printed information. Along with the business card of a Senior Project Associate with SOAR, she is a part of the TA Center and SOAR State Team Lead Contacts, whom I had the luck to meet briefly during the Outreach Breakout session. But I can't find any of them online, so again, it will need to be on a flash drive I bring to our next meeting.
For now, I am hellbent on bringing awareness of the SOAR website to everyone's attention.
SOAR: SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery for people who are homeless
SOAR Outcomes 2010 -- look at the average days to decision.
In accordance with the precedent I've set in sharing this information about the conference, a bit more of my story now:
I'm an SSDI recipient.
Had the SSDI come through in a reasonable amount of time, I could have averted being homeless entirely in this episode.
My process began in April 2010. It could have begun in February 2010 if the agencies and individuals I was approaching had intimate knowledge of SOAR. I knew I was going to be homeless starting in August of 2010.
I say "reasonable". What's reasonable to one person is often off-the scale for another.
When I was homeless, I had an ersatz virtual case-worker -- this was the person I trusted-in and counted-on the most. The people I was involved with in-person were less than forthcoming with me, either through strictures placed on them at their workplaces or through the limitations of their own experience and knowledge portals.
My virtual case-worker (never officially designated my caseworker by any agency, but this person spent countless hours of blood, sweat and tears as a catalyst for paths out of my situation) expressed honest verbal surprise when I did actually receive my SSDI, December of 2010. The process had been less than a year from my application to my notification of award, yet long enough that I was homeless and unable to find safe low-income housing when it did come through. It was through that person's honest response to me that I was able to deal with many of the shaded answers I was receiving from others.
Anyone in the field apparently is aware that from application to award *standard* waits have been anywhere from 2 to 7 years (or longer) with numerous battles after initial rejection for SSDI.
If you look at the outcome rates SOAR is documenting (evidence-based) you'll see that response times have been as low as 39 days, and average out to around 90-ish days. THIS IS AMAZING! And it needs to be talked about, shared and disseminated.
SOAR is a fully viable, exciting, and successful means to keep people from languishing in shelters and on the streets because the only income they may be receiving is the $210 a month from GR and $200 in food stamps if they are lucky.
You want to bring a ray of hope to the eyes of someone? Learn about SOAR, keep it on the tip of your tongue, and above all, learn how to use the processes they are putting forth -- because the processes can be used in any number of fields. Collaboration, Communication, Champions.
All SOAR TA Center services are available on a limited basis at no cost to states or communities participating in SOAR. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
I don't understand why so many of the people in the field of help care are not willing to state what is real rather than couching responses and replies in shaded terms that ultimately wind up having no meaning. It destroys the trust relationship between themselves and their clients. I can only guess that it may represent some form of defensive posture -- due to the litigious bent of our society. It could also be burnout, unrealized prejudice or any number of things.
The worst thing a help care worker can do is set the stage for destruction of trust in the relationship with themselves and their clients by shading answers.
It doesn't make the relationship effective to fog the situation (from either side, provider or consumer) -- People Know When We Believe In Them.
SSI/SSDI is a life saving factor.
What if instead of making our processes complicated and difficult to navigate we made them simple and efficacious?