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June 28 -- The Social Security Administration (SSA) invites comments to OMB by August 18, 2023 regarding the proposed State of Georgia's Criminal Justice Coordinating Council's (CJCC) Evaluation of the Implementation of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI)/Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) Model in County Jails.

SSA is requesting clearance to collect data necessary to evaluate an intervention under the Interventional Cooperative Agreement Program (ICAP) with the State of Georgia's Criminal Justice Coordinating Council (CJCC). ICAP allows SSA to partner with various non-federal groups and organizations to advance interventional research connected to the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) programs. SSA awarded CJCC a cooperative agreement to conduct an intervention and evaluation of Supplemental Security Income (SSI)/Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) model in county jails with inmates with serious and persistent mental illness (SPMI) across the state. In addition to SSA, CJCC has partnered with the following: (1) Applied Research Services (ARS); (2) the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD); and (3) four county jails to implement the program.

Investigators hypothesize that untreated mental illness and repeated psychiatric crises may be a factor in jail recidivism. Connection to SSI/SSDI and attendant insurance benefits may help a person with SPMI obtain treatment and interrupt criminogenic behavior. The intervention will connect respondents in four county jails identified as having SPMI to Medicaid Eligibility Specialists (MES) hired and trained by the Georgia DBHDD, who will help them apply for SSI and SSDI. Respondents in two of the four counties (Fulton County Jail and Cobb County Jail) will also have the option of working with a Forensic Peer Mentor (FPM), a formerly incarcerated individual who is familiar with resources that may help participants increase their quality-of-life post incarceration and avoid recidivism. SSA anticipates the two DBHDD MESs will each serve 45 participants per year, for a total of 90 participants per year.

To maximize the likelihood of the SSI/SSDI application approval, the MES will employ the SOAR method, which uses in-depth medical and personal summaries of disability to facilitate the SSI/SSDI application process. Researchers will collect data from participant surveys to evaluate and study the impact of the intervention. Through the data collected through these surveys, along with administrative data from SSA, the State of Georgia, participating counties, and DBHDD, SSA hopes to address the following research questions:

-- Does connection to a SOAR-trained specialist increase the likelihood that a person with SPMI in jail will be approved for SSI/SSDI benefits?
-- If a person with SPMI receives SSI/SSDI benefits, are they able to connect to treatment resources that they may not have been able to obtain before?
-- If a person with SPMI connects to treatment resources and successfully engages with them, are they able to achieve mental health recovery and stay out of jail?

The respondents are individuals with serious and persistent mental illness incarcerated in county jails in the state of Georgia.
SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) is funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and is a national program designed to increase access to the disability income benefi t programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for eligible adults and children who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and have a serious mental illness, medical impairment, and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder.
SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR): https://soarworks.samhsa.gov/
SSA submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202303-0960-001 Click on IC List for questionnaire, View Supporting Statement for technical documentation. Submit comments through this site.
FR notice inviting public comment: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-13782
For AEA members wishing to submit comments, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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