Benefits Advisement and Work Incentives Practitioners at the Arc of Chemung
Understanding how benefits are impacted by earnings is an important step in making an informed decision about work.
We recognize employment as a valued outcome for many individuals and want to ensure that we assist them with making the best-informed decisions possible. To accomplish this, we selected two staff persons to participate in an intensive certification program through the YangTan Institute on Employment and Disability at Cornell University.
Lindsey Baranyk and Orenda Bachert participated in 17 webinars over the course of several months and completed a provisional certification through an online examination. Next, they each completed an intensive file review which was reviewed by Cornell faculty to ensure they could effectively use the information obtained through the training program.
Both Lindsey and Orenda have obtained full certification which will be maintained as they secure 60 hours of continuing education units (CEU) over a 5-year period. We are also researching membership in a professional organization of Benefits Advisement and Work Incentive Practitioners. Lindsey and Orenda are actively engaging in providing Benefits Advisement and Work Incentive guidance to individuals with disabilities within our organization and to individuals in the community being referred to us for this specific service.
Benefits advisement services can assist an individual with managing existing benefits, seek others, and understand the impact earned income will have on cash benefits and entitlement programs such as: Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Medicaid, and Medicare, Medicaid-Buy-In, Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE), private insurance coverage, food stamps, PASS plans, public assistance benefits (i.e., Family Assistance or Safety Net benefits), student loans, and financial aid (e.g., TAP and PELL grants). These programs have criteria for initial or continued coverage; many are based on financial need and have specific rules governing how work and wages affect eligibility or benefit amounts.
Work Incentives include rules that make it possible for individuals to work while receiving SSI and/or SSDI. With work incentives, essential financial and health care supports can stay in place or resume quickly when needed, even though the individual may have earnings from work.
We are confident that we are building capacity and expertise and that we can provide an individual with a disability with accurate information to make an informed choice about work and financial independence.
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