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"Our Path to Common Sense": An interview on health, benefits, work and disability with Alana Theriault
"Our Path to Common Sense" is an interview on health, benefits, work and disability with businesswoman Alana Theriault
Report on April Employment Summit in the Great Recession
On April 7 and 8, 2011, the World Institute on Disability, Mathematica Policy Research, and the National Council on Independent Living convened an invitational summit at the Mathematica offices in Washington, D.C. Participants known to hold a wide range of policy perspectives were invited, including policy analysts, advocates, government and private sector researchers, insurance representatives, along with Congressional and Administration staff. Former and current senior Social Security Administration staff from the 1980s to the present joined the dialogue, as well as officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
A DIALOGUE ON REFORMING DISABILITY INSURANCE: Supporting Economic Freedom for People with Disabilities
SYNOPSIS In 2006, the World Institute on Disability (WID) put forward a variety of policy proposals to improve the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) system, aimed at ensuring that people with disabilities have the opportunity to fully participate in the workforce and be economically self-sufficient. A central proposal that came out of this project is the creation of a work support and supplemental income insurance program that would help to decrease attachment to the SSDI system and increase attachments to the workforce. In 2010, the Center for American Progress (CAP) and The Hamilton Project (THP) jointly released a paper outlining a similar policy proposal, with key differences in approach. What follows is WID’s response to the CAP/THP paper, written with the intention of furthering the public discussion on this important issue.
Veterans’ Benefits Online Tools Project Phase II Boundaries Report
The recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have brought with them a marked increase in the number of troops returning from combat with physical and mental disabilities. Those who apply for various veterans’ benefits report their encounters with a complicated system with a maze of interactions, bureaucratic barriers, and limited outreach. Given these circumstances, it is not surprising that veterans are experiencing high rates of unemployment, poverty, and homelessness. Our troops deserve better. In fact, they deserve nothing less than the same opportunities to pursue the American dream that they’ve fought so hard to protect for their fellow citizens. To address this unacceptable and near chronic situation, the World Institute on Disability met six times in the fall of 2008 with veterans and disability organizations. Their goal was to identify specific barriers that veterans face when trying to access the benefits systems and transition to civilian employment. They found daunting sets of rules, intricate interactions between programs, a lack of a single place to turn to for information and resources, and service providers struggling to navigate complex programs with handheld calculators and self-designed worksheets.
Download Veterans’ Benefits Online Tools Findings Project Final Report (PDF)
 
WID Launches The Veterans' Benefits Online Tools Project
The California Work Incentives Initiative at WID spent last fall working with six national veterans and disability organizations to produce a Veterans' Benefits Online Tools Findings Report. WID is very proud to share that we are using this report to start the planning to build a national online benefits tools and information services web site, so veterans can better navigate benefit programs and secure available employment as they transition to civilian life.
Download Work Incentives Information Services: Developing a State-Focused Training and Technical Assistance Center PDF
 
Benefits Planning Sessions
Disability Benefits tools provide service providers and consumers with accurate planning and explanation of programs through public trainings and online benefits calculators. Learning power is provided in both Spanish and English to increase cultural competency of all materials on the DB 101 website.
Disability Benefits Circle Syndrome
Disability Benefits 101 Information Services has met some of the needs for consumers, benefits planners, and county services staff. We provide a single place to navigate the complex nature of the interaction between public and private disability benefits, health care choices, employment situations and asset planning using plain language explanations and innovative benefits planning calculators.
Being American: the Way Out of Poverty, Poverty and Disability in the U.S.
This policy analysis is a collection of discussions, topical areas and recommendations that seek a deeper inquiry into what Americans with disabilities expect of social insurance roles in the 21st Century, with focus on health care coverage and employment. The paper calls for an expanded national dialogue to transform Social Security, Medicare and disability tax policies, as needed to increase employment rates of people with disabilities.
Work Incentives Information Services: Developing a State-Focused Training and Technical Assistance Center
State and federal rules on access to health coverage and benefits can bewilder even a Ph.D. Some programs, like Social Security disability benefits, have thousands of pages of laws and regulations governing them. Every program has its own unique set of rules on interaction with other programs. The resulting confusion can have a devastating impact on people using more than one program or contemplating a return to work. What can state agencies and other organizations do to help people with disabilities navigate this network and improve their lives? In a groundbreaking new manual—Work Incentives Information Services: Developing a State-Focused Training and Technical Assistance Center—the California Work Incentives Initiative (CWII) at the World Institute on Disability (WID) presents a clear blueprint on how to establish a technical assistance and training center (“TA Center”) addressing these issues. With a focus on improving employment outcomes for people with disabilities, the manual offers detailed information on providing training and other direct services, web based services, and benefits calculators. Based on eight years of practical experience and lessons learned at CWII, the manual offers integrated approaches to solving stubborn benefits information and work incentives problems. “The goal of the manual, and ultimately the TA Center, is clear,” says CWII Director Bryon MacDonald. “Get the right information into the right hands at the right time. That is what consumers need to make important decisions affecting their lives. And that’s what we hope to facilitate with this publication. State agencies, employers, disability community advocates, and employment support planners will find real value in a review of the materials in this manual.” The manual is a product of Contract: SS00-05-60088 between the World Institute on Disability and the Social Security Administration, Office of Program Development and Research.
Work Incentives Information Services, Developing a Sate-Focused Training and Technical Assistance Center
All states and state agency partners work with diverse populations of people with disabilities, complex and confusing health and benefit program rules, and limited resources to provide clear, comprehensive, accurate, and accessible benefits and employment planning information. A state-focused Training and Technical Assistance Center (“TA Center”) on work incentives and benefits is a viable solution. The TA Center integrates state, federal, and private rules on work incentives and benefits for residents of a particular state. This manual presents concrete strategies on how to set up and design such a center.
Summary: Being American: the Way Out of Poverty, Poverty and Disability in the U.S.
This Summary seeks a deeper inquiry into what Americans with disabilities expect of social insurance roles in the 21st Century, with focus on health care coverage and employment. The paper calls for an expanded national discussion to transform Social Security, Medicare and disability tax policies, as needed to increase employment rates of people with disabilities.
California’s Comprehensive Workforce Development System: A Disability Access Policy Framework Coming of Age
Whether one grows up with a disability, becomes newly diagnosed while employed, experiences a sudden onset of disability from an accident or is entering the workforce with a disability, the level of support must be based upon assessment of the person to the program(s), not the reverse. By expanding collaboration between the human resource departments of employers, providers of public and private health care services, and generic employment programs such as One-Stop Career Centers, the policies and grants described in this brief will have a greater likelihood for success.
The California Working Disabled Program: Lessons Learned, Looking Ahead
The California Working Disabled Medi-Cal Buy-In Program (CWD) was implemented in April 2000 to enable disabled individuals to participate in the workforce without the threat of losing their Medi-Cal coverage. Although a relatively new program, policymakers and advocates have already begun considering programmatic and policy changes that would build on the existing program, expand eligibility, and broaden access to certain services.
The 250% California Working Disabled Program Question and Answer Sheet
A guide for workers with disabilities about the new Medi-Cal 250% California Working Disabled Program. A publication of the California Work Incentives Initiative.
AB 925 Signed into Law!
Many people with disabilities who want to work are dissuaded from doing so by the risk of losing eligibility for Medicare and Medi-Cal, which pays for essentials such as wheelchairs, ventilators and personal care services. AB 925 joins the 1999 Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act and the 250% California Working Disabled Program as part of a continuing effort to address these and other work disincentives.
AB 925 Content Summary
This law, referred to as the Workforce Inclusion Act, requires the California Health and Human Services Agency and the Labor and Workforce Development Agency, using existing resources, to create a sustainable, comprehensive strategy to accomplish various goals aimed at bringing persons with disabilities into gainful employment at a rate that is as close as possible to that of the general adult population.
The AB 925 Questionnaire: Summary Responses from 140 Returned Questionnaires
Summary Responses from 140 Returned Questionnaires, an analysis by Devva Kasnitz, Ph.D. for The California Work Group on Work Incentives and Health Care. Staffed by The California Work Incentives Initiative, A Collaborative of The Center for Independent Living and World Institute on Disability.
NCIL Statement and Recommendations on The SSA Ticket to Work Program
NATIONAL COUNCIL ON INDEPENDENT LIVING STATEMENT AND RECOMMENDATIONS to NCIL Members for Public Comment on The SSA Ticket to Work program Notice of Public Rule Making - NPRM Public Comment Period ending February 26, 2001 of The Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act TWWIIA

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