SOAR Outreach Benefits Specialist

Job Title:  SOAR Outreach Benefits Specialist

FLSA Status:  Exempt

OSHA Category:  80/83

Last Revision: November 2018

Reports to: Outreach Director

The SOAR Outreach Benefits Specialist is part of a larger homeless outreach program at Pathways to Housing DC. The homeless outreach program is comprised of public and private partnerships to operate various street outreach teams throughout the city whose goals are to engage, support, and combat homelessness for individuals living in DC. Our outreach staff work to build trust with those experiencing homelessness first by helping to meet basic needs (including food, clothing, showers, laundry, transportation, identification, etc.). Then, they partner with each individual to access housing, employment, benefits, medical care, mental health care, substance abuse treatment, and other services.

SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) is a national model that helps improve outcomes for individuals experiencing or at-risk for homelessness who have mental illness and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder or other medical impairments as they apply for Social Security disability benefits. The outreach program uses this model to assist people with disabilities who would have difficulty applying independently for SSI/SSDI benefits in order to increase economic security, support recovery, as well as enhance access to housing and resources.

The SOAR Outreach Benefits Specialist provides direct outreach services in a team environment to people experiencing homelessness and high quality application assistance to individuals applying for disability benefits, using the essential SOAR components. S/he represents Pathways DC to community partners, particularly the SOAR community and provider network. Approximately 75% of time will be spent in the community, identifying potential applicants and directly providing benefits assistance to persons living on the streets in DC. While much of the work is independent and self-directed, there is also a strong team dynamic. Shift schedules normally include hours between 7am-7pm, Monday through Friday but schedules will be flexible to accommodate the needs of the community and may include early morning or evening shifts. Successful candidates are committed to ending homelessness and have a fundamental belief that hope and recovery are always possible.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Conduct extensive community outreach to engage individuals who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, or in supportive housing and have a serious mental illness, medical impairment, and/or a co-occuring substance use disorder; identify potential SOAR applicants;

  • Work with a core group of individuals consistently over time in order to create a plan to meet their needs, particularly with those who may not independently seek services;

  • Communicate and implement a comprehensive client screening process to assess for SOAR eligibility;

  • Over the course of a year, provide high quality assistance to individuals applying for disability benefits, using all of the critical SOAR components consistent with SOAR performance standards; complete applications for 20 individuals in the first year, and 30 in subsequent years;

  • Complete interviews with consumers to gather information to complete quality SSI/SSDI applications;

  • Draft bio-psychosocial summaries for all SOAR applicants;

  • Coordinate visits to medical doctors, psychiatrists, and other specialists to obtain evidence for application;

  • Provide case management assistance, particularly around benefits and insurance, and coordinate complex needs of multiple individuals within a larger continuum of care;

  • Coordinate care with other community resources and provide in-depth linkage assistance for housing, medical and mental health services;

  • Support internal colleagues with strategies for applying for benefits;

  • Consult with the broader Continuum of Care network to provide technical expertise in order to expand city-wide SOAR capacity;

  • Actively participate in the DC SOAR Providers team and/or DC SOAR Leadership team;

  • Maintain records in Electronic Medical Record, including progress notes, incident reports, referrals, and psychosocial assessments in timely manner;

  • Track all SOAR applications through completion, including appeals as needed;

  • Ensure data entry into OAT, the national SOAR database;

  • Represent Pathways and the Homeless Outreach Program at community meetings, conferences, and other venues as needed;

  • Complete any SOAR trainings/certifications as required;

  • Perform related work as assigned;

 

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • This position requires a minimum of a 4 year degree in human services or related field;

  • At least 2 years of experience working directly with individuals experiencing homelessness who have mental illness and/or are dually diagnosed;

  • Superior interpersonal, oral communication, writing, and computer skills;

  • Superior organizational skills and attention to detail; ability to prioritize multiple tasks and meet frequent deadlines;

  • Ability to build rapport with a diverse population, developing trust and conducting interviews in non-traditional settings and unstructured environments;

  • Ability to cultivate partnerships and positive relationships with other providers and community stakeholders;

  • Knowledge of mental health and substance abuse clinical skills preferred;

  • Familiarity with federal / state public benefits programs and SOAR a plus;

  • Knowledge of DC social service resources a plus;

  • Driver’s License required.

 

How to Apply: 

To apply, send an email with cover letter and resume to hr@pathwaysdc.org. Please indicate the position in your email's subject line.