Policy Brief: Building State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency Benefits Planning Capacities

This policy brief describes how State VR agencies are using and can use benefits planning services, as a VR agency-funded service, to help SSDI and SSI beneficiaries address concerns and fears about the potential loss of cash benefits and healthcare benefits (i.e., Medicaid and/or Medicare) as they move into jobs paying substantial wages. The brief highlights a range of definitions for benefits planning services and the scope of services that may be provided through a benefits planner; describes common elements of a quality benefits planning program (including initial training, continuing education, and available technical assistance); provides examples of existing state VR agency models for delivering benefits planning services; and explains why state VR agencies should fund benefits planning services. This policy brief is directed at a primary audience of state VR agency staff – administrators, VR counselors, and other staff. 

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