The Workforce Development System, U.S. Department of Labor. Disability not required for assistance. Operates the expansive national network of American Job Centers, serving as community hubs of workforce development information, services, and resources. Search online for a job center near you. Said Misrok: “It distributes large sums of money to states and communities for services to address needs of jobseekers, workers, and employers.”
State vocational rehabilitation agencies, and the U.S. Department of Education. For individuals with disabilities and chronic health conditions impacting their ability to work, whether or not—but especially if they are—receiving disability-related benefits, such as SSI and SSDI. Visit individual state websites for contact information. “This $13 billion system distributes money to all 50 states and each of the territories and the District of Columbia,” said Misrok. “They each have at least one state vocational rehabilitation agency and sometimes two, and those have local offices throughout the state or territory. Individuals in some rural areas can obtain services through technology instead of an office visit, or may receive transportation support for travel to the nearest office.”
The Work Incentive Planning and Assistance (WIPA) program, U.S. Social Security Administration. Information on interactions between work earning and benefits, including how to preserve cash assets, health coverage, and/or housing benefits while working or transitioning to work. Go to ssa.gov/work/WIPA.html.
Choosework.ssa.gov. A listing of independent agencies that can help with the process of obtaining benefits and returning to work. “Even the Social Security Administration recognizes that its staff in local Social Security Administration offices is too often ill-equipped to understand and communicate the rules governing disability benefits, Ticket to Work, and other transition-to-work policies and initiatives,” Misrok said, “including those that allow a return to full benefits if working proves too difficult or is otherwise not sustained.”
DB101.org. An informational website for individuals with disabilities about available benefits, accessing them, and their policies related to work earning and benefits. Covers nine states at press time: Alaska, Arizona, California, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, and Ohio.