Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are disability income benefits administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). For people who are homeless with mental health problems that impair cognition or who are returning to the community from institutions (jails, prisons or hospitals), access to these programs can be extremely challenging. The application process for SSI/SSDI is complicated, detailed, and often difficult to navigate.

SOAR stands for SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery. The project is designed to increase access to the disability income benefit programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for eligible adults who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and have a mental illness and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder. SOAR allows community case managers to submit SSI/SSDI application for an expedited review by SSA. While this process has resulted in shorter approval times, SOAR workers agree to provider intensive case management to make sure the application is accurate and complete.

How to Become SOAR Certified

If you are interested in using the SOAR process, please email Kelly at She will work with you to determine if your agency is a good fit for SOAR. If your agency is a good fit, you must sign the community SOAR Agreement and workers must complete the SOAR training process explained below.

To become SOAR certified, workers must:
1. complete the web based curriculum for the Stepping Stones to Recovery manual
2. complete the SOAR practice application (also online)
3. attend a in-person session to learn about the local process

Other requirements for SOAR agencies:

1. Be employed by or represent an organization that provides services to homeless adults diagnosed with a severe mental illness, intellectual impairment, or major medical condition that prevents them from working.
2. Be actively involved in the local SOAR Project planning process for their communities and maintain an active role as the project continues.
4. Be willing to submit SOAR data to the Richmond SOAR Coordinator each year on July 15th for the previous July 1st-June 30th. The SOAR Data Collection Formis due to on

5. Adhere to the expectations of the state SOAR project as outlined by the local process in collaboration with our partners at Social Security Administration and Disability Determination Services.

For additional information on the SOAR program, please visit the SOAR technical assistance website at

If you have additional questions about SOAR, please email Gabrielle at


If you are homeless or will lose housing in the next three days, call the Homeless Crisis Line at 804-972-0813.