Important WIPA update!

It’s the beginning of a new era. We are pleased to announce that the Work incentives planning and assistance (WIPA) Project will continue under Disability Rights Iowa.

Disability Rights IOWA (DRI) staff members who provide WIPA services are called Community Work Incentives Coordinators (CWICs). They focus on beneficiary’s choices, future, and especially work goals.

WIPA has gone to a distance learning technology model:

  • The emphasis on distance technology reflects Social Security’s recognition that resources and staff time are limited.
  • The new WIPA service design does NOT prohibit face-to-face contact with beneficiaries.
  • High quality WIPA services are not dependent on face-to-face interaction.

What does this mean to you?

Outreach: WIPA projects are limited to 15% of the projects total time in the outreach capacity. Due to the new distance based outreach directive from the Social Security Administration, WIPA needs to find efficiencies that minimize staff time and expense, and that maximizes access to high priority clients.

How you can assist and support WIPA?

  • Supporting remote/distance based trainings and conferencing
  • Connecting us with your social media and other marketing currently being used by your agency
  • Reimbursing WIPA staff for travel expenses to present to or train your staff in a classroom/  face to face format
  • Understanding that due to limited funding, we are unable to take advantage of every outreach opportunity we are presented

Who are high priority beneficiaries?

We prioritize beneficiaries via a screening process that we would like your help to implement. Your help will make benefits planning timely for the people you serve.

***Please direct all possible WIPA eligible beneficiaries to the Ticket Helpline 1-866-968-7842.

When an individual calls the Ticket helpline, the Help Line will evaluate their appropriateness for WIPA Initial Services.  The process looks like this:

Step 1: Begins with determining that the referral is eligible for WIPA services. Questions that will be asked: Are you receiving SSI and/or SSDI? Are you working? Are you actively preparing? (No change is eligibility requirements from previous years.)

Step 2: Is this individual a high priority for WIPA services based on the NEW prioritization?

Priority Group 1:  Individuals who are currently working or engaging in self-employment and have both a need and interest in receiving individualized work incentives planning and assistance services.

Working beneficiaries considering a promotion, a second part-time job, a job or career change, or becoming self-employed.

Priority Group 2:  Beneficiaries who are actively pursuing employment or self-employment and who are interested in receiving work related benefits counseling. This group includes:

(1)   Beneficiaries with a clear employment goal who are conducting an active and regular job search; and

(2)   Beneficiaries with a clear employment goal who have taken active steps to prepare for achieving that goal.

While of course we encourage you to refer all eligible beneficiaries to WIPA through the Ticket to Work Helpline, we especially encourage you to refer beneficiaries within the two above groups. This allows us to work with individual beneficiaries at a time most crucial for their professional development, while avoiding any possible issues as they make an important transition. Your support of the WIPA program through referrals is greatly appreciated, as we all work to support beneficiaries in their employment goals.

Sincerely,

Mistie Johnson

Emmanuel Smith

Kelly Gibbs

Jane Hudson

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