About Benefits Counseling

Benefits Counseling is a beneficial service that helps people with disabilities gain a better understanding of the benefits they currently receive through the Social Security Administration and Department of Health Services. More importantly, the person will learn how your benefits and insurance will be affected when they begin working. 


Follow the journey of Ben below to help you understand what services can be provided and why Benefits Counseling is necessary.

Ben is a 17 year old high school student in his junior year who wants find summer work and possibly a part-time job.  He has Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid benefits.  He is enrolled in DVR services and asks his counselor how working will affect his benefits...

Ben's counselor refers him to a benefits specialist for a Benefits Consultation Period.  Ben learns about the Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE) and how his SSI benefits will most likely not be affected by work earnings while he is a student under age 22.  

Ben graduates from high school and has been accepted to technical college...

Ben's DVR counselor refers him to a benefits specialist so that they can complete a Plan to Achieve Self Support (PASS). Ben can now save money for school, keep his most or all of his SSI payment, and save over the $2,000 asset limit!

Ben has just graduated from technical college with his associates degree!  He is now looking for a full-time job in his field...

Although Ben has been working part-time during high school and technical college, his work earnings never affected his SSI payment because of the SEIE and PASS work incentives.  Ben now needs to know how working will affect his benefits so his DVR counselor refers him for a Benefits Analysis.  He will learn how working will affect his SSI benefit based on his work goal.

Ben has successfully found a job in his field of study...

Ben's benefits specialist is called into action to go over a Work Incentives Plan.  Ben will be given more specific examples based on his current employment now that Ben knows how much he will be paid and how many hours per week he will work.  He will also be given an action plan so that he remembers to report wages to prevent an overpayment from occurring.

Ben has been working for a few years and now wants to start his own business...

Ben's benefits are the same, but he needs to know the special rules for self-employment.  Ben contacts DVR and his counselor refers him to a benefits specialist as a post-employment service. The self-employment rules are provided in a Benefits Analysis Update.  He may also want to consider setting up a new PASS to save money for his business. 

Ben's disability causes him to stop working.  Social Security tells him that he now qualified for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits...

Ben now needs to learn the work rules for his new benefit and other changes that will occur to his health care benefits.  Ben uses the WIPA service to do a new Benefits Analysis and find out more!

Ben's Journey through Benefits Counseling
Accessing Services

If you have a disability, you should contact a WIBS when:

  • You are considering work for the first time or re-entering the workforce.

  • Your earnings change or increase.

  • You are developing a career plan or actively job seeking.

  • You have questions, concerns, or problems with current benefits.


How to access services:


For more information about contacting a WIBS:

  • Talk to Your DVR counselor

  • Ask Your School Transition Coordinator

  • Contact Your Local WIPA Provider

  • Contact Your Local Independent Living Center