Case Managers Increase Approval Rating Three Times the Average

ATLANTA – A state program that helps the homeless sign up for social security benefits is among the most effective in the nation, according to an outcome report released by the Policy Research Associated, Inc. For homeless individuals, the average approval rate for Supplemental Security Income/ Social Security Disability Income (SSI/SSDI) is less than 20 percent. Case managers trained by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery Program (SOAR) increased the approval rate for those they assisted to 76 percent, more than three times the average.

“Our agency is committed to recovery and ending the homeless cycle for the consumers we serve,” says Kristin Lupfer, SOAR Project Specialist. “By helping individuals gain access to income and health insurance (via SSI and Medicaid) we are helping them on the first stepping stone to recovery.”

The SOAR initiative is designed to increase access to SSI/SSDI for individuals who are homeless and disabled due to mental illness/or co-occurring disorders. Having the income to pay for housing and Medicaid to pay for healthcare helps individuals who are homeless and mentally ill to live in Georgia’s communities with far fewer hospitalizations and incarcerations.

DBHDD has expanded the SOAR initiative statewide, training nearly 250 agencies and 679 individual case managers in Georgia. DBHDD has been able to collect data on 425 cases that were submitted and of those, 322 were approved. The SOAR program has also improved the appeals process. The average wait time in Georgia for a hearing when an applicant is appealing a denial is 2 -3 years. SOAR submitted applications are being decided in an average of 83 days.

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