The purpose of this projerct is to increase access of homeless people to SSI/SSDI benefits and to enhance recovery during and after the application process. It is funded in part by the United Way, CAPP and the Alachua County Coalition for the Homeless and Hungry.
Nationwide, only about 10% of disability applications for homeless individuals are approved for benefits by the Social Security Administration, compared to a rate of more than three times that figure for the general public. The system is designed to rely heavily on mailing addresses or telephone contact, and the process itself requires the applicant to supply a great deal of information, be available for interviews and evaluations and wait patiently for a response. People who are struggling with homelessness, mental illness and/or physical pain or fatigue can find these to be overwhelming obstacles.
By providing intensive “hands-on” assistance through the application process, Three Rivers hopes to help homeless individuals receive benefits without the necessity of a hearing. Similar programs around the country have shown that with consistent medical care and even limited income, many of these individuals can begin the road to recovery and eventual return to the workforce.
How Can We Help?
Persons who are struggling with both homelessness and disability in Alachua County may schedule an appointment for an initial interview by calling TRLS at 372-0519. The TRLS disability case coordinator can also interview applicants at another more convenient location if that is needed. Applicants must fill out an application for services and meet TRLS eligibility criteria.
How Can You Help?
The goal of this project is to implement and coordinate a county-wide program of cooperating community resources. Based on the SOAR model (SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery), this program will emphasize the preparation of a thorough disability application by outreach workers who will sign on as representatives. Three Rivers will spearhead the implementation of the project, offer training programs for service providers, and ultimately, act as the project clearinghouse and legal expertise.
If you or your organization would like to be a part of this project, call Three Rivers to get more information. Donations of time and money are always welcome.