Apart from all the physical, mental, and emotional problems a person struggling with addiction can face, there remains the unavoidable fact that all people require food and shelter, and drug abuse can make finding and retaining the means to acquire those things difficult. Luckily, a program called SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) can help.

People often lose their jobs while they’re abusing drugs, either because they repeatedly fail to show up or because their performance begins suffering. Some workplaces, particularly those with ties to the government, have zero-tolerance drug policies. Even some people who have gone through recovery can find it difficult to obtain employment, especially if they have spotty work histories and little education or training.

Homelessness is also common among people with substance use disorders. Part of that, of course, comes from the difficulty in finding and maintaining employment. Buying drugs and alcohol can be expensive, especially if you’ve built up a tolerance and need large quantities of the substance to feel its effects. Many homeless shelters don’t allow people who are currently using drugs or alcohol to stay there, and so people struggling with substance abuse end up on the streets. It might be hard to find friends or family to stay with if your addiction has caused rifts in your relationships. There are no current statistics on the number of homeless people with substance use disorders, but according to a 2003 the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimation, 38% of homeless people were dependent on alcohol and 26% abused other drugs.

SOAR is a national program that is designed to increase access to the disability income benefit programs administered by the Social Security Administration. There are actually two programs: the Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) program and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. Benefits are only available to people who can’t work because they have a medical condition that’s expected to last at least one year or result in death. People who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and have a mental illness, medical impairment, and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder are eligible for help.


Social security disability has a fairly limited reach, and it can be hard to get. This is why you see so many advertisements for lawyers saying they can help you get the benefits you deserve, but if you qualify for SOAR, their cases workers can help without you having to pay for an attorney. Only about 28 percent of people who apply for SSI/SSDI are approved on their initial application. For people who are homeless and have no one to assist them with the process, those chances are cut in half.

If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504 to get started.