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Novel Coronavirus - COVID-19: Information for Community Behavioral Health Providers, Consumers, and Families

Social Security Disability Benefits

SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are disability income benefits administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that also provide Medicaid and/or Medicare health insurance to individuals who are eligible. The application process for SSI/SSDI is complicated and difficult to navigate. Nationally, about 37 percent of individuals who apply for these benefits are approved on initial application and appeals take an average of two years to complete.

For people who are homeless or who are returning to the community from institutions (jails, prisons, or hospitals), access to these programs can be extremely challenging. Approval on initial application for people who are homeless and who have no one to assist them is about 10-15 percent. For those who have a mental illness, substance use issues, or co-occurring disorders that impair cognition, the application process is even more difficult – yet accessing these benefits is often a critical first step in recovery.

Critical components of SOAR include:

  • Serving as the applicant’s representative
  • Collecting medical records
  • Arranging for assessments
  • Writing a medical Summary Report
  • Conducting quality review
  • Tracking outcomes

    Please contact a regional coordinator below to find your nearest SOAR Specialist:
Ashley Blum
Nashville, TN
Ashley.Blum@parkcenternashville.org
Phone: 615-242-3576 x500
Michelle Ahern
Knoxville, TN
Michelle.Ahern@mcnabb.org
(865) 637-9711, ext. 1202
Whitney Malone
Murfreesboro, TN
wmalone@vbhcs.org
615-707-1337
Melinda Jones
Memphis, TN
Melinda.Jones@cmiofmemphis.org 
Phone: 901-261-6179
Tammy  Kosa
Johnson City, TN
Tammy@appalachianhomeless.org 
Phone: 423-218-4093