National research has consistently demonstrated that many SSA disability beneficiaries hesitate to participate in return to work efforts due to fear that paid employment will cause a loss of critical cash benefits and health insurance.

Work incentives planning and assistance services provide the single most effective method for communicating correct information to help beneficiaries overcome these fears.  To provide effective counseling, Work Incentives Specialist and Planning Assistants acquire and maintain a complete understanding of SSA disability programs and other Federal public benefits, their various eligibility requirements, their operational details, and all associated work incentive rules or provisions.

The primary objective of the WISA projects are to assist SSA beneficiaries to transition from dependence on public benefits to paid employment and greater economic self-sufficiency.  The WISA projects serve as an integral part of the vocational services system in their local communities to actively promote employment outcomes.  WISA project assistants possess a solid understanding not only of how paid work affects the disability benefits, but also SSA's Ticket-to-Work program and the full array of vocational services available to individuals with disabilities.  Using this knowledge, WISA project assistants work directly with beneficiaries to connect them with the specific services and supports needed to obtain and maintain paid employment.  WISA project services are not provided in isolation, but rather in combination with vocational counseling, job search, job accommodations and numerous other employment-focused services and supports.  It is only through inter-agency collaboration that significant gains are made.

For more information please contact Jessica Harlan or Denise Leftwich at 276-889-0290 or 276-889-1168.

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