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Work Incentives

Specialist Advocate (WISA) Services

Trained WISA staff are authorized by the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI), and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS) to provide clear explanations about those benefits to individuals who receive disability benefits, and, as authorized to their advocates and referring DARS Counselors, DBVI Counselors, and Case Managers, the effects earned income will have on them, the availability of work incentives to help the individual transition to self-sufficiency, and how to protect health benefits. Once these issues have been addressed, individuals can make informed decisions about going to work.

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Social Security disability benefits include:

  • SSI (Supplemental Security Income)

  • SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance)

  • CDB (Child Disability Benefits), formerly DAC (Disabled Adult Child)

WISAs provide services to Social Security disability beneficiaries as authorized by the following agencies:

  • DARS - Department for Aging & Rehabilitative Services – vocational services

  • DBVI – Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired – vocational services

  • DBHDS – Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Services – Medicaid Waiver

  • SSA – Social Security Administration – Ticket to Work Program

What are WISA Services?
  • WISA meets individually with beneficiaries and family members/advocates to explain benefits and work incentives.

  • A WorkWORLD benefits analysis with the Benefits Planning Query (BPQY) is the starting place for all WISA services.  It is used to explain all relevant benefits/work incentives so beneficiaries can make informed choices.

  • WISAs serve as the primary initial contact for the Ticket to Work program.

  • WISAs help beneficiaries gather and organize information, and as authorized assist beneficiaries in applying to the appropriate agency for work incentives, then follow up until those work incentives are approved and implemented.

  • Beneficiary and DARS/DBVI Counselor are updated throughout the process.

The WISA explains the following to both SSDI and SSI beneficiaries:
  • Calculating earnings

  • Effects of earned income on benefits

  • Reporting earnings

  • Expedited reinstatement

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