SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery

The process of accessing federal benefits can be long and difficult, even more for people experiencing homelessness. The SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) Program is designed to make the process easier for folks living outside or at risk of losing their housing who have a serious mental illness, medical impairment, and/or co-occurring substance use disorder.


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  • About SOAR

    The SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) Program is an initiative of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The program trains SOAR case managers to help people get and file documents, medical evaluations, and other paperwork needed to file for benefits. SOAR not only cuts down the amount of time it typically takes to apply, it increases the likelihood people will be approved. Nationally, in 2022, about 7 in 10 people who applied for benefits through SOAR received initial approval, compared to just 3 in 10 for everyone aged 18-64 who applied in 2019.

    Since 2017, SOAR case managers in Austin and Travis County have helped around 300 people get access to federal benefits they’re entitled to.

  • Become a SOAR case manager

    If you’re interested in becoming a SOAR case manager, the first step is to complete the SAMHSA’s SOAR Online Course (link below).

    ECHO will be automatically notified when you register for the online course in Austin or Travis County and will contact you for next steps.

    In addition to the SAMHSA training, ECHO offers weekly technical assistance calls to support SOAR case managers in completing their first application. This training includes:

    • Applicants’ Buy-in Agreement
    • Pre-screening on first set of applications, including Head-to-Toe Assessment
    • Setting the Protective Filing Date
    • Necessary SSA & DDS forms
    • Review of application package before submitting
    • Next steps after application package is submitted
    • Necessary SSA & DDS forms


  • Accessing Benefits Training from Social Security Administration Office

  • SAMHSA Presentation of the SOAR Model and Outcomes for Austin/Travis Co.

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