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Employment Services and Supports - Understanding the Role of the CWIC

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Presentation on theme: "Employment Services and Supports - Understanding the Role of the CWIC"— Presentation transcript:

1 Employment Services and Supports - Understanding the Role of the CWIC
September 2014

2 Learning Objectives After this training, CWICs should be able to:
Identify the 5 main roles CWICs play to promote employment with disability beneficiaries. Describe strategies for helping beneficiaries clarify their employment/earnings goals. Describe strategies for helping beneficiaries determine what specific services, supports or accommodations may be necessary to achieve the employment goal.

3 Learnings Objectives Continued…
Clearly explain the TTW program, state VR agency services, and other vocational services and supports to beneficiaries. Describe strategies to connect beneficiaries with the specific services and supports needed to achieve the employment goal. Describe strategies for assisting beneficiaries to resolve common problems related to work.

4 What is the CWIC’s role in promoting employment with disability beneficiaries?
CWICs promote employment by performing 5 major roles: Helping beneficiaries identify, select or clarify their career goals; Helping beneficiaries determine what services, supports or accommodations are needed to achieve the career goal; Explaining Social Security’s Ticket to Work program and other vocational services and supports available to individuals with disabilities in the local service area;

5 CWIC’s Role Continued…
Connecting beneficiaries with the specific services and supports needed to obtain and maintain paid employment; and Assisting beneficiaries with disabilities to resolve problems related to work, higher education, occupational skills training and work attainment or continuation of work.

6 Role 1: Helping Beneficiaries Identify, Select or Clarify their Career Goals
Does the beneficiary already have a clear employment goal? ASK! Some beneficiaries have substantial work histories and know what type of work they want to do. If the beneficiary is working with the State VR agency, there will be an IPE. Request permission to get a copy of the plan or speak with the VR counselor. Check for involvement with an EN, job placement agency or supported employment provider. Ask for permission to get a copy of the employment plan or to speak with the assigned staff person.

7 Role 1 Continued… What if the beneficiary has no idea what they are able to do or what types of jobs are even available? Social Security does NOT expect CWICs to provide career exploration, career counseling, vocational assessment or exploration services. CWICs do need to know what type of career exploration and vocational assessment services are available within the community. CWICs must be prepared to directly refer beneficiaries to the various agencies based upon need. CWICs must take the time to conduct research to gather this information.

8 Where to Get Help with Career Counseling and Vocational Assessment
The State VR agency will offer (or pay for) these services, but they are NOT the only source. Other places to check include: Employment Networks (ENs) Goodwill Industries One-Stop Career Centers Look for vocational services offered by faith-based groups (Catholic Charities, Jewish Family & Vocational Services, etc.) Veteran’s services (VR&E, Vet Reps at State Employment Agency) Private-for-profit groups such as staffing agencies, private rehabilitation providers, etc. Online resources

9 Making Referrals for Career Counseling
Investigate local agencies to find out what is available, how to make referrals and how to apply for services. Make sure you know the cost of the services, what potential payment sources are available and the eligibility criteria. Provide specific information to beneficiaries about how to request services. Follow-up to make sure the beneficiary made contact. Provide assistance if problems arise.

10 Employment Goals that May Require Extra Probing & Counseling
CWICs should watch for these situations: Employment/earnings goals that are extremely low – below the TWP guideline or low enough that the SSI payment is barely reduced or not reduced at all. Employment/earnings goals that are right at or below the SGA level. Employment/earnings goals that would result in the beneficiary being worse off financially than remaining on benefits alone. Employment/earnings goals that would result in the loss of critical Medicaid waiver services. The reason CWICs should watch for people with really low earnings goals is that it may be an indicator that the person is really afraid of benefits loss. The CWIC should provide information about how higher wages might be possible to make certain that a fully informed choice is being made. We don’t want people to choose very low employment goals if they have the capacity to earn more but are afraid of how it would affect benefits. The object is to show beneficiaries the positive possibilities. It is perfectly fine if the beneficiary just can’t work more than a very small amount of if they simply choose to do this. However, we want to make sure that the decision is based on having complete information. The same is true for people who set earnings goals right below SGA. CWICs should gently probe a bit to find out how the goal was determined. CWICs should show the beneficiary how working at a higher level above SGA would affect benefits and make sure the decision is a fully informed one. The intent is not to judge, merely to inform. We don’t want people to remain on beenfits out of fear. We want to show them the options and the possibilities.

11 Role 2: Helping Beneficiaries Determine what Services, Supports or Accommodations they Need to Achieve their Career Goal Beneficiaries often require assistance to prepare for employment and then secure a job. Common indicators of need for employment services/supports include: No work since entitlement to benefits or many years since last work effort.  Multiple brief work attempts.  Lack of marketable job skills or outdated job skills. Low educational attainment. Lengthy job search (more than 1 year) with few interviews and no offers.

12 Role 2 Continued… Start by having a frank discussion about what the person needs to achieve the career goal and what barriers exist that could impede progress. Help the beneficiary conduct online research to find out what various jobs require in terms of skills, training, certifications, education, experience, etc. This may have been done if the beneficiary has an open case with VR or involvement with EN. Don’t forget that conducting a job search also requires skill. Lots of people need help with resume development, learning how to interview, using online job posting services, etc.

13 Role 2 Continued… Beneficiaries who require workplace accommodations may need help arranging and paying for these supports. Start by helping beneficiaries think through what kinds of accommodations might be needed if the employment goal is achieved. If the beneficiary has an open case with the state VR agency, find out what they are able to arrange and pay for. Keep PASS and/or IRWE in mind as possible payment mechanisms. Conduct research in your area to gain information about agencies that help with accommodations, including assistive technology. Make referrals for services as needed and follow-up with the beneficiary to make sure the referral is acted upon.

14 More about Role 2 Not all barriers are related to lack of education & training, inability to conduct a successful job search, or accommodation needs. There are lots of other issues than can also impede progress such as: Lack of reliable transportation Lack of child/elder care Unresolved health issues Criminal record, pending criminal charges, or poor credit history Communication barriers (ESL, deaf beneficiaries) Lack of access to technology or inability to use technology Family or personal crises Unstable housing Poor social skills

15 Remember your Role! CWICs do not provide employment services or supports. Social Security does not expect you to teach beneficiaries how to conduct a job search. It is not your job to provide job development or job placement services. Your job is to help beneficiaries think about what they need to be successful in employment and then CONNECT beneficiaries with agencies that can meet those needs. You are also not the VR counselor. You help connect beneficiaries with VR services and you help them understand and navigate that system. You may even advocate with the VR counselor on behalf of the beneficiary. Your job is to work in collaboration with VR services to help the beneficiary achieve their employment/earnings goals.

16 Role 3: Explaining the TTW Program and Other Vocational Services and Supports
TTW and State VR Agency - If the beneficiary has an open case with VR or is currently working with an EN, don’t assume that the beneficiary understands the TTW program – go over it anyway. Be prepared to explain how the state VR agency works to beneficiaries with open cases and those you plan to refer. Make sure you know what services VR provides or pays for, how eligibility is determined, what the application process entails, etc. The objective is to help the beneficiary have realistic expectations. Remember that customization is key - not every beneficiary is a good ticket candidate. A beneficiary may have unmet needs even if he/she has an open VR.

17 Role 3 Continued… Other Vocational Services and Supports -
Do research to gain an understanding of different vocational services such as sheltered employment, supported employment, transitional employment, traditional job placement, etc. It is important that CWICs understand how the vocational service array works in order to make appropriate referrals. Make sure you have a current list of local ENs and employment services providers. You need to know what services these agencies provide, who is eligible, and how to apply for services. Don’t forget about the ENs that process ticket payments and return a portion of the payment to the beneficiary to pay for items or services needed to achieve or maintain employment. This can be a great option for some beneficiaries.

18 Role 4: Connecting Beneficiaries with the Services and Supports Needed to Obtain and Maintain Paid Employment. Simply providing beneficiaries with a list of agency names and phone numbers is not sufficient to promote employment outcomes. CWICs may need to make written referrals to agencies, call contact persons in other agencies to resolve problems, support the beneficiary with arranging the initial appointment, and be available to answer any questions posed by the provider agency or the beneficiary. If the beneficiary is capable of making all arrangements independently, the CWIC should still follow-up to make certain the contacts are made and no assistance is required.

19 Role 5: Assisting Beneficiaries to Resolve Problems Related to Work
No matter how carefully we plan, problems invariably arise. CWICs should remain available to the beneficiaries they serve to help with solving problems that impede progress toward employment. The CWIC role generally consists of: A friendly or sympathetic ear. Help processing or thinking through the problem - exactly what is the issue and how was it caused? Brainstorming on possible solutions. Providing information and referral services targeted at problem resolution. Providing support and encouragement.

20 Role 5 Continued… Common problems that CWICs should help with include:
Problem: Denial of service or termination of service by state VR agency, EN or other provider agency. Solution: CWIC explains appeals process and provides support in making an appeal and/or connects the beneficiary with advocacy services. Problem: Beneficiary is dissatisfied with the type, quality or quantity of services provided by state VR agency, EN or other provider agency. Solution: CWIC helps beneficiary clarify what the complaint is and provides information about lodging complaints or acquiring advocacy services.

21 More Common Problems Problem: Beneficiary needs help requesting, arranging or paying for an accommodation. Solution: CWIC assists beneficiary to problem-solve, possibly assists with PASS or IRWE, or refers to Protection & Advocacy. If there is VR involvement, the CWIC should refer the beneficiary to the VR counselor. Problem: Beneficiary is struggling to complete an educational or training program. Solution: CWIC helps beneficiary investigate supports available to students with disabilities. If there is VR involvement, the CWIC should refer the beneficiary to the VR counselor.

22 Employment Services and Supports and the BS&A
BS&As are required to contain a section that addresses employment services and supports the beneficiary needs in order to achieve the employment/earnings goal. This section should contain the following information: Description of any employment related services the beneficiary is already receiving. Identification of any unmet needs related to achieving the employment goal with information about where/how to access services designed to meet these needs. Brief explanations of services or supports you are suggesting to the beneficiary with instructions for accessing these services.

23 Employment Services and Supports and the WIP
Make sure to add any action steps related to accessing appropriate employment services and supports to the WIP. Action steps in this section should address ANY employment barrier or unmet need. Action steps should be developed based on the results of your survey of employment barriers and should correspond with the information provided in the BS&A section on employment services and supports. Follow-up to make sure the beneficiary follow-up on referrals and any problems are resolved. Revise the WIP as needed when action steps are completed and new actions steps arise.

24 Customization is Key! Each beneficiary is unique and will have a different set of employment barriers or unmet needs. The CWIC’s job is to ask questions, help the beneficiary think about employment support needs and offer assistance with getting needs met. Your job is to connect beneficiaries with appropriate services! If you are only using template language in all of your BS&As and WIPs about employment services and supports, you are missing things. Remember that the TTW program does not make sense for all beneficiaries. Don’t go into detail about Ticket unless it is a good fit. Ask about unmet needs even if the beneficiary has an open case with the state VR agency.

25 Remember the questions that should be driving the WIPA services you provide!
What is the next step along the road to employment for this person and what can I do to help him/her commit to taking that step? What information do I need to provide to this beneficiary at this juncture in order to facilitate progression along the employment continuum? What specific services or supports can I provide at this point in time to help this beneficiary move forward down the road to employment or at least not lose ground? What community partners do I need to coordinate with to enhance the effectiveness of my efforts to promote employment with this person?

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