Fear of losing disability health and financial benefits stops many people with disabilities from pursuing their career goals and achieving quality, competitive employment. While disability beneficiaries report wanting to return to work or feel they need to work, they often find the SSA return-to-work rules too complex or confusing, or fear that working will lead to a loss of their benefits. (Taylor & Blackburn, 2018)
Work incentives benefits counseling is a free service offered by many Ticket to Work program service providers to explain how working will affect federal and state benefits, including:
- SSDI and SSI
- Housing assistance
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)/food stamps
- Healthcare benefits, including Medicare and Medicaid
How Work Incentives Benefits Counselors Help Job Seekers with Disabilities
During work incentives benefits counseling, benefits Counselors explain how earnings from work affect Social Security benefits and how Social Security Work Incentives can ease the transition to work without fear of losing benefits. They can also make referrals for additional resources that may be needed. (Source: Social Security Administration)
Research shows that job-seekers with disabilities who receive work-incentive benefits counseling services have improved employment outcomes and higher incomes. (Schegelmilch et al., 2019). Fortunately, there are many resources available to vocational rehabilitation professionals for support in using work incentive benefits counseling as an employment strategy.
Recommended Resources from TACQE and Partners
TACQE provides expert technical assistance and consultation to support the efforts of vocational rehabilitation agencies, community service providers, and other stakeholders to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities. Work incentive benefits counseling is one of the focus areas critical to achieving our goals.
Use these resources to learn how work incentives benefits counseling can improve quality employment outcomes for people with disabilities.
- Ticket to Work – TACQE
Learn how the Ticket to Work program gives “ticket” holders access to free pre-employment and post-employment support services.
- Podcast: Work Incentives Counseling: A Success Story – VRTAC-QM
In this episode of Manager Minute, David Leon discusses the projects he has led and how their results are shaping the approach Virginia is taking in relation to work incentives counseling.
- Innovative Practices: Improving Outcomes for People with Disabilities Who Receive SSDI – TACQE
Learn about innovative job placement practices that may improve VR service delivery and employment outcomes for people with disabilities who receive SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance).