Findings from a Study of the SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) Initiative. Ongoing Technical Assistance

12/15/2009

The TA contractor works with SOAR states after the strategic planning forum for up to 18 months to support their implementation efforts. In addition to observations of the first in-state training and provision of feedback to trainers to ensure adherence to the SSTR curriculum, the TA contractor provides a minimum of three activities for all states: (1) regular teleconferences to share resources and information on important SOAR issues; (2) periodic communication with SOAR state leads to check in and assist in addressing any challenges encountered; and (3) dissemination of information and resources (through a website and written material) on promising practices and SOAR outcomes.

The TA contractor is available and eager to provide additional tailored services to SOAR states as needed, but many states have not reached out to take advantage of this opportunity. For example, one state lead admittedly could have used, but did not request, TA on how to reengage state partners to assist local communities that were struggling with implementing SOAR. Reasons for states' reluctance to request assistance are unclear. It could be that states are not aware of the potential for ongoing TA or do not have the time or motivation to seek it out. Also, some states may not have requested assistance from the TA contractor because they felt they had sufficient supports in place at the local level.

States that are proactive in accessing TA have found that assistance very useful in helping them implement SOAR and progress toward effecting systematic changes. One state has had quarterly teleconference calls with the TA contractor to assist in their efforts to obtain a waiver so that state hospital staff can submit SSI/SSDI applications more than 30 days prior to release from the facility. In another state, the TA contractor has provided feedback on how the SOAR model can be used with the TANF population. In yet another state, follow-up contact between the TA contractor, the state lead, and other stakeholders was instrumental in addressing early implementation issues and simply getting the initiative off the ground.

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