Perhaps the most effective element of successful recovery is work. Work offers income, but also purpose, identity, and fulfillment. Experts in psychiatric rehabilitation believe the most important evidence-based practice in mental health is supported employment, which helps loved ones get and keep work.
Many loved ones with psychiatric disabilities receive important benefits like Social Securithy Disability Insurance, Supplemental Support Income, Medicaid, and Medicare. Each program has specific requirements. But one of the most fearsome and perplexing challenges for loved ones seeking to work is this: how to preserve all-important supports and benefits while getting back to work. Regulations relating to such goverment supports are complex and difficult to understand.
Two speciifc resources can help. First is Social Security’s “Red Book”, which describes all the benefits programs available to those with disabilities. Second is the Community Work Incentive Coordinator Training Manual, prepared by Virginia Commonwealth University, which the Social Security Administration has contracted to provide training to service providers. Details for both:
The Red Book serves as a general reference source about the employment-related provisions of Social Security Disability Insurance and the Supplemental Security Income Programs for educators, advocates, rehabilitation professionals, and counselors who serve people with disabilities.
Social Security awarded a contract to Virginia Commonwealth University’s National Training Center to provide initial and ongoing training and technical support on work incentives to the CWICs, Ticket Call Center staff and community partners. To learn more, check out the VCU Manual or at http://www.vcu-ntc.org/resources/cwicmanual.cfm.
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