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This is a review of practices used in homeless services programs to assist in the expedition of disability benefits. (HRC)

The process of applying for SSA disability benefits is difficult for anyone to navigate, regardless of whether they are homeless or housed. Nationally, the success rate on initial application for all applicants is 37 percent. 2 However, successful programs cited in this report, serving people who are homeless, have achieved approval rates on initial determinations, of between 65 and 95 percent. What does it take to make a difference? While the specifics of their programs vary, successful SSI initiatives have several qualities that contribute to their success. In particular, they:

  • Use promising practices
  • Ensure adequate staffing
  • Provide staff training
  • Collaborate with other key stakeholders
  • Collect and report on outcomes

These approaches are examined in the following pages in an effort to help others identify strategies they may wish to adopt or adapt for use in their own agencies or communities.

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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services