Here are some of the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) we receive here at ERI.
ERI also offers training and technical assistance to professionals, community partners, and the public regarding disability and employment issues.
- Employment Counseling: We provide counseling around employment planning and career directions for individuals considering work.
- Employment and Benefits Counseling: We provide information and resources about how work may impact public benefits and healthcare coverage. We can provide information on work incentives to help individuals return to work. We can connect individuals to information and resources to improve their financial situation.
- Career Advancement and Benefits Counseling: Through our Ticket to Work Employment Network, we help people with disabilities already working advance their employment and career goals and provide benefits counseling to assist people transitioning off of public benefits.
National Resources: Department of Labor Employment Resources | Disability and Work Benefits Programs
Wisconsin Resources: Wisconsin Job Centers | Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)
If you live outside Wisconsin, find your local Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) by choosing your state.
ERI can assist with applications for a limited number of people living in Dane County through our Community Benefits Specialist program.
Related Resource: How will working affect my Social Security Disability Benefits?
For the majority of people we counsel at ERI, the positives of work and the additional income typically outweighs the potential reduction in benefits. Any decrease in benefits needs to be weighed in comparison to the financial gains and quality of life that work offers.
- Continued cash benefits for a period of time while you work;
- Continued Medicare or Medicaid for a period of time while you work;
- Help with education, training, and vocational rehabilitation to increase your ability to earn.
For more information about Social Security’s work incentives (Trial Work Period, Impairment Related Work Expense, Subsidy), read “The Red Book – a Guide to Work Incentives” or “Working While Disabled – How We Can Help.”
Social Security’s Ticket to Work program helps people who receive SSDI or SSI return to work, or begin working if they have never done so. Anyone ages 18 to 64 who receives SSDI or SSI benefits because of his or her disability is eligible to participate. For more information about the Ticket to Work program, call 1-866-968-7842 (TTY: 1-866-833-2967) Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Eastern Time, or search for help in your state on the ChooseWork website.
If you are currently working, our Ticket To Work Employment Network, ERI PLUS, supports workers with disabilities (Ticket holders) to maintain long-term employment and confidently leave Social Security benefits. Find out more ERI PLUS – Ticket to Work Employment Network.
Many different decisions can be made with help from a Work Incentive Benefits Specialist. These include deciding…
- to work;
- to increase work and earnings;
- to get the training or resources needed for a new career;
- to hold off on such changes for the time being.
It is important to understand the effects of these decisions. “Knowledge is power” and knowledge about benefits and available work incentives gives people with disabilities the power to make good choices about work and their future.
- Considering working for the first time;
- Considering re-entering the workforce;
- Developing a career plan;
- Actively job seeking;
- Considering a job change;
- Considering increasing earnings;
- Having problems with current benefits.
Work Incentive Benefit Specialists cannot change or get around program rules. But they can help to solve current problems and avoid future problems by communicating with the various benefit programs and agencies such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, County Economic Support, Housing Assistance, Energy Assistance, etc.
ERI produces high quality educational resources and trainings focused on advancing employment opportunities and independence for individuals with disabilities. We have partnered with a variety of organizations to create training content and resources focused on employment, benefits, and promoting independence for people with disabilities. Contact us if you are interested in finding out more about our training and resource development projects and capabilities. More about our training development and design services.
At this time, we are not planning to hold an Intersections Conference. However, we may schedule some Intersections training events. Find out more information about Intersections-related events.
If you have a question about training for Benefits Specialists, please contact Stephanie Drum, Benefits Education Director, for more information or send her a message: Contact Us About Training Services.
- benefits application process;
- benefits and employment;
- topics related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) such as Disclosure, Workplace Accommodations.
To request a speaker for your event or training, please send us a message with details about your event:
Request a Speaker.