Resources for DVR and Long Term Care Providers
Benefits counseling is a valuable service for your consumers so that they can learn about their benefits and how working will affect them so that they can make an educated decision about whether they want to work and how much they should work. But what service does your consumer need? When should you refer your consumer for a service? Where should you refer them? Find out below!
Benefits Specialists by Workforce Development Area (WDA)
Benefits Consultation Period
When consumer has a few basic questions about their benefits, applying for benefits, or has an issue with one of their benefits, a Benefits Consultation may be the proper service for them. The consumer and benefits specialist must have at least three meetings by phone and/or in person over a three month period.
Work Incentives Benefits Analysis Meeting
Once a consumer has made the decision to work while receiving disability benefits, they should be referred for a Benefits Analysis. This service provides the consumer with the eligibility requirements for each program, work incentives that are available, benefits they should apply for, and specific examples of how working will affect their benefits. The benefits specialist will meet with the consumer to go over this report and the consumer may ask for additional assistance throughout the following year, as necessary. A consumer may need a brand new benefits analysis if they begin receiving a new Social Security benefit. For example, if a consumer originally receives SSI benefits, but later qualifies for SSDI or DAC benefits, a new Benefits Analysis should be requested.
Work Incentives Benefits Analysis Meeting Update
A year after the initial benefits analysis may require an update to the consumers report. Their job goal may have changed or they are interested in finding out the new income limits for various Social Security and state programs. This service would provide that information in an in-person meeting. This service should be submitted to the benefits specialist (or organization) who originally completed the Benefits Analysis.
Work Incentives Benefits Plan and Meeting
After a consumer begins employment, they may have additional questions, want updated information and examples, or see what steps they will have to complete next with benefits and reporting wages. This service should only be done AFTER a consumer receives a full Work Incentives Benefits Analysis Meeting.
Plan to Achieve Self Support (PASS)
Some consumers may wish to work off of their Social Security and other benefits. A PASS allows a beneficiary to save money towards a good or service that would help them achieve this goal. Some examples might include saving money towards their education or equipment for a small business. Any money saved in a PASS would not count towards SSI or Medicaid asset limit. With this service, a benefits specialist will work with the consumer to create a PASS, complete the required paperwork, and submit the plan to Social Security for approval.
What Service Would Be Best for My Consumer?
For Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) counselors, the process is simple. Have your consumer choose an approved vendor in your WDA and issue a purchase order for the appropriate service.
For Long Term Care case managers, the process is a little more complicated as you will have to reach out to benefits specialists in your county to see if they are an approved provider or make other arrangements for payment.
How Do I Refer My Consumer for Benefits Counseling?
For people who are NOT working with DVR or Long Term Care, you should contact the WIPA program since it is a free service for people with disabilities who are considering work. These services are prioritized based on a person's need so people who are working or have a job offer will be considered first. You may also contact other benefits specialists in your area as long as you can arrange payment.