WISE Webinar 2017-05: Ticket to Work for People with a Mental Illness

>>So hi, everyone. Good afternoon. My name is Nancy Boutot. Welcome to the Ticket to Work for People with
a Mental Illness Webinar Support on Your Journey to Employment. You can manage your audio today using the
audio portion at the top of your screen. It will look like a microphone or it will
look like a telephone icon. All attendees will be muted and we encourage
you to attend by choosing listen only from the audio menu. This will enable the sound to be broadcast
through your computer so please make sure your speakers are turned on and that your
headphones are plugged in. Continuing with accessing today’s webinar,
if you do not have sound capabilities on your computer or if you prefer to listen by phone,
you can dial toll-free number at 1-800-832-0736 and the access code for that is 8458462#. For
webinar accessibility, we are captioning today. And real-time captioning is provided during
this webinar. The captions can be found in the captioning
pod which appears below the slides. You can also access captioning online by going
to HTPP://www.captionedtext.com/client/event.asps?customerid=846&eventid=3237518. For questions and answers, please use the
Q and A pod to submit any questions you have during the webinar and we will direct the
questions accordingly during the Q and A portion. If you are listening by phone and not logged
into the webinar, you may also ask questions by emailing questions to http://[email protected] Please note the webinar is being recorded
and the archive will be available within two weeks on the Choose Work website at http://www.choosework.net/webinars-tutorials/webinar-archive.html. If you experience any technical difficulties
during the webinar, please use the Q and A pod to send a message or you can also email
us at [email protected] So I want to welcome all of our speakers again. I am your moderator, Nancy Boutot with NDI
Consulting. We have four wonderful presenters today, Michelle
Fassler with Places for People, Keith Heimforth with Employment Resources, Inc., Jessica Reed
also with Employment Resources, Inc. and Michael Roush with National Disability Institute. And before I give them introductions, I just
want to let you know some of the great topics we’re going to be covering today. Include work as a path to recovery, the positive
effect of employment and financial wellbeing on your journey to reach your goals, social
security disability benefits, work incentives, the Ticket to Work Program, other resources
of course, and then questions and answers. We will also try to get to some of your questions
during the webinar but we do have a lot of people on the call today and we certainly
have a good amount of material to cover but we will do our best. So I will first give a brief bio about all
of our speakers and I’m going to start with Michelle Fassler who is the Vocational Services
Team Leader at Places for People in St. Louis, Missouri. Michelle and her team use the individualized
placement and support model, otherwise known as IPS to assist participants to find and
keep jobs. In addition, Michelle is a certified benefits
specialist and has worked in Missouri to provide technical assistance and training to partner
agencies. Michelle is a member of the NDI Real Economic
Impact Network Advisory Committee. Prior to working at Places for People, Michelle
worked in various positions in the higher education industry and she holds a Masters
of Arts degree in School Counseling. Next, we have Keith Heimforth who works at
Employment Resources, Incorporated in Madison, Wisconsin. Keith has been a Work Incentives Benefits
Specialist since 1999 and a WIPA Community Work Incentives Coordinator or CWIC since
2012. In addition to his work as a CWIC, Keith is
the Program Manager for Wisconsin’s WIPA Project. Prior to working at ERI, Keith worked for
more than 20 years at Yahara House, a clubhouse model program for adults with serious and
persistent mental illness. Jess Reed is a certified Rehabilitation Counselor,
Benefits Specialist and certified Peer Specialist. She works in the Comprehensive Community Services
Program at Employment Resources, Incorporated. This program provides employment and benefits
related services to people with mental health conditions in Dane County, Wisconsin. And last, we have Michael Roush. Michael is the Director of the Real Economic
Impact Network at National Disability Institute and serves as a subject matter expert on financial
capability strategies for persons with disabilities. Mr. Roush provides training and technical
assistance across the country on volunteer income tax assistance, financial education
and other asset development strategies to empower individuals, organizations and other
stakeholders on the importance of economic self-sufficiency for persons with disabilities. He is an accredited financial counselor, a
community partner work incentive counselor and has his Master’s degree in Human Behavior. So I want to welcome all of these wonderful
presenters today. And Michelle, I will turn it over to you.>>Oh, thank you, Nancy. I’m so excited to be here today and talk about
one of my favorite topics, employment. Let me get going here. So I think back to one of my classes that
I took during my graduate work thinking about work is more than a job. And we had a guest speaker and he encouraged
us to think about how our society thinks so much about everyone’s identity thinking about
work. So when you think about the last social event
that you went to or family event or when you met a new group of people, and when you met
someone, what did they ask you? Do they ask you your favorite book or favorite
restaurant? Probably not unless it was a book club or
something like that. It’s more likely that they asked you what
you did for a living. In American society, it’s kind of the expectation
that adult people work. We start teaching kids very early about jobs. In preschool, you know, we’re teaching people
toys are leaned towards them and books are leaned towards jobs. So work is really more than a job. Work is our identity. It’s what we do. And in thinking about that, work can really
be a part of our — it’s how we get through the day. It’s what we do. That’s why work is more than a job. And it’s part of recovery for people with
mental illness. The benefits of employment for people with
mental illness is well-documented. There are countless studies of how work can
be recovery. It’s not something that people get after they
are recovered. Jobs aren’t something that people have to
wait for once they do other steps. Work is actually a therapy. Work is an intervention. For those of us that are clinicians, you know,
we think of it as — we hopefully think of it as therapy for people. So if we look at this list here of some of
the benefits of work from a clinician’s side or from a practitioner’s side, many of these
are the same things that people might see from medication, or from going to groups,
or from going to the day treatment program, or from seeing a therapist. Things like symptom management and reduce
anxiety, increase self-esteem. So this is — it’s not just things that we
might think about while you go to a job and you get paid. We have a place to go. These are real, true benefits of things that
people can get as people are working towards recovery, not just something that comes after. Often, I see case managers who were thinking
about referring someone to the program or to another employment program even, and they
say, well work can be really stressful. Of course, work is stressful. My work is stressful. Many people’s work is stressful. And unemployment is really stressful as well. So we do want to think about that. Unemployment is stressful, work can be really
stressful. So for all of these benefits, we do want to
recognize that work can be really stressful. And I have support that help me get through
work. I have friends and family, people I rely on
to deal with the stress of work. I have that at my workplace, outside of the
workplace. So I want to recognize that there are programs
available to help people living with mental illness, find jobs that match their interests
and provide those follow-on supports to work. And Ticket to Work is a perfect example of
that. There are a lot of programs out there and
Ticket to Work is a great one. People can get connected to unemployment networks
to help them find a job, to help them get the benefits counseling that they need to
plan the future that they want based on their needs, get access to benefits counseling,
learn about the work incentives that are available to them. So as I mentioned, work can be therapeutic. And I have a lot of anecdotal evidence to
this, and here’s just one really great example. If you have not seen Ellyn Saks — I’ve talked
about this. Ellyn Saks is a professor and an expert in
mental health law and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship winner. And she and from this example here, she did
a — some research. And from this research, one of the people
on the group said this quote. “Work has been an important part of who I
am, said an educator in our group. When you become useful to an organization
and feel respected in that organization, there is a certain value in belonging there.” And this is from the New York Times . And
this is not something that’s unique to people living with mental illness. This is true of myself or anyone else that
I know in their job. When we feel that sense of belonging then
we feel value. I have a very recent example of this. In my work, due to some changes in laws here
in St. Louis, our minimum wage was going to change. And someone was going to lose their job because
of that. And he actually was in my office and talking
about how his job had been so beneficial to him in dealing with his feelings of suicide
over — he had worked his job for 10 years so this loss of this job was very important
to him. And so thankfully actually, because of the
changes in the laws, he’s actually not going to lose his job. So that’s a very clear example how work was
very therapeutic for him. And of course, there’s studies and there’s
research but it’s people that have chosen work that are able to really give us that
information. And here’s just some examples from participants. And this is just one work program that have
told us some very simple things that they have done from choosing work. So money — obviously money is what drives
a lot of people to go to work. Money, short term and long term, so people
sometimes, they just want a little bit of money to be able to go to the movies, buy
some stuff for their grandchildren. But then also that long-term financial stability
would also be driving people. People who depend on you, having a routine,
being able to know what you’re doing from day to day. That is also really important for people. Identity which is how I started on that first
slide, really being able to say when people ask them what do you do, having a specific
thing that they’re able to say. Someone told me, you know, when I was in high
school, I didn’t want to say, well, I’m going to grow up and have a case manager. They really had — wanted to be able to say
I do this thing. Increased sense of hopefulness and that’s
really what we all want is to be hopeful about the future. A place to meet friends, skills, independence,
community and fulfillment. That one fulfillment was really important
to me when someone told me that I think a lot of us no matter what our jobs are, we
always are striving to be fulfilled in what we do. And so really having something that we can
be fulfilled about is really important. So the four dimensions of recovery is what
we use as a framework at my agency and if you’re not familiar with that, I’m going to
go through that here. So home which obviously is a stable and safe
place to live. Purpose — meaningful daily activities such
as jobs, school, volunteering that provides you with income and resources to participate
in society. So employment is very clearly that purpose
there. Community — so relationships, social networks
that provide support, friendship, love and hope. And health — overcoming or managing one’s
condition as well as living in a physically and emotionally healthy way. So employment is clearly number two in these
four dimensions of the recovery process. But employment, I’ve really seen help people
work through all four of these. So as I mentioned earlier, employment isn’t
something that we get at the end of recovery. Hopefully, people are using this to work through
this entire recovery process. I’m going to share with you some — a couple
of examples of people who have really used employment to work through the recovery process
and how their job or just the job search process has helped them achieve these other dimensions
of recovery — or work towards these other dimensions of recovery. Here are some successful employment for people
living with a mental illness. So this is a story about Sarah. And Sarah has been unemployed for several
years. She had a young daughter and she was able
to work with the employment program to get a job as a maintenance worker at a baseball
stadium. She also was living with diabetes and her
blood sugar levels were very high and out of range. So once she got her job, she didn’t do a lot
to change her activity. All that she did was start going to work. So she was very active as a maintenance worker
in a baseball stadium because it was large. And start walking to the bus stop and eating
a little bit healthier just because she was more active and she didn’t have time to snack
as much as home. So she was very surprised when her doctor
called her to let her know that her A1C had dropped from 12 to six in about six weeks. So she was so thrilled and of course, all
of her healthcare team was really thrilled as well. The other really huge part that she was so
excited about and just she would light up when she would tell us that now that she had
extra money and she was able to pay for the things that she needed. But also she was able to go with her daughter
for a girl’s day for the first time ever. They had never been able to do that before. And then after working for a while, she no
longer needed public benefit which was a really important thing for her because she just felt
very proud of herself. So here this was Sarah being able to get that
job, improve her health, and do many things that she really wanted to. So this is, I think, just a great example
of someone making a lot of steps towards recovery. So she already has that home. She did have that. There were some other things but then she
was able to achieve those other parts of her recovery which was really important for her. And it’s a great story too. Ben is also an incredible story. Ben had been receiving services for 30 years. And then he decided he wanted to work. And his employment specialist was able to
find him a job working just three hours a week at first. And that’s another really important part,
I think of employment, is that employment doesn’t have to start with 20 hours a week
or 40 hours a week. You can work with programs to find jobs that
really fit you. And so for him, he started with three hours
a week and he really made sure that he was able to do it first. And he got benefits counseling to learn what
was going to happen to his benefits and then he, with the benefits counselor which in this
case was me, we worked up to getting him to this point. But then he started working 35 hours a week
and made sure that it worked for him. And so because he was in a situation that
he had certain benefits, he was able to double his income. And he started making new friends because
now he was in all these different neighborhoods. Then he started dating which had been a really
long-term goal for him which was incredible. And it really shocked people that somebody
who had been nearly isolated in his apartment for a long time was now out doing these things. And because he had all this money, he was
able to move to a new apartment. So now here, he was getting home. He was getting a sense of community. He had this employment and he always had these
really important health goals to improve his health. But he wasn’t really to do those in a meaningful
way because he didn’t have the money to really buy the healthier ingredients and to do those
things that his nurses were suggesting for him. But now, he was able to do that. He was able to do the healthier shopping that
he was really trying to do. So he was really able to hit on four — those
four dimensions just from getting this job which was really important. So Ben had a great story that worked — really
made a lot of changes to his life. And Joy, another great example. Joy was in a group home. She got into the employment program. She had three different jobs before she found
really her dream job where she was able to use the computer. She had to check some different stuff. She was able to learn how to ride a bus. Before she did this, her case managers drove
her everywhere. Now that she has the extra income, she is
able to ride the bus. She is able to use Uber when she doesn’t want
to ride the bus, which is, you know, a luxury and something that you know, we all want to
do. She was able to move out of the group home
and move to her own apartment close to her family which was — it was always hard for
them to get to and from her before. So here she is now. She has this office job which was the very
first thing she told her employment specialist when she first started working. And she had to go through three jobs to get
there. And so that’s the other thing. You don’t always get the first job that you
might want. But it is the process to get there which I
think is just a great story because she, you know, she got that new home. She got her sense of community. She got the thing that she wanted and the
money. So I think that it’s a really important thing
to remember that it’s a process as well. And people get to recovery from it so it’s
not just about the job. It’s about learning those things about yourself
and finding what you need. So that’s the stories that we have and how
important work can be for recovery. And I think from there, I’m going to hand
it off.>>Wonderful, Michelle. Thank you so very much.>>Yeah, thank you.>>Great information, loved hearing the stories
about Ben and Sarah and Joy. And great connection there between mental
wellness and employment. So thank you very much. And I am going to — we’re now going to talk
about the positive effect of employment and financial well-being. And that is going to be Michael Roush. We’re going to talk about employment and financial
well-being being the key to maintaining a person’s basic psychosocial which is pretty
much psychological and social needs including things such as inclusion in a group, meaningful
work, and maintaining self-esteem. So Michael, I would like to turn it over to
you.>>Great, thank you, Nancy. And thank you for giving me the opportunity
to be here today to present on this webinar. I always appreciate the opportunities when
I get to talk about a topic that I love which is financial well-being. And as an advocate in this space, I see firsthand
on how employment and financial well-being have been and continue to be key in my personal
recovery plan but also in the lives of so many others who have a mental health diagnosis. I think it’s very fitting that we’re having
this conversation about employment and financial well-being together and to really show how
the two play together as we do make that journey towards employment but also that journey towards
recovery as well as resiliency. So today, I’m here to talk to you about financial
well-being. So financial well-being is the condition of
having stable income or other resources to support a standard of living now, but also
in the future. It’s important to note as we look at this
definition of financial well-being to understand standard of living and to recognize that standard
of living has a different definition for each of us. It’s what we each need to be able to pay our
bills on time, to have the income or other resources to do things that we want to do
and often to really help positively impact our quality of life. And what the standard of living might be for
me when it comes to financial well-being may be different for you or someone else. So we get to personalize what financial well-being
and that standard of living means for us. So why financial well-being is so important? In fact, it has the potential to help individuals
improve their economic or financial status. It can help create that standard of living
that we want as well as that vision for ourselves. Financial well-being also has the potential
to decrease financial stress in an individual’s life. Financial well-being creates an opportunity
to focus on maintaining a positive quality of life without the financial stress that
it might cause. Financial well-being also has the potential
to help people — help people feel like they’re part of the community. And I think this goes back to what Michelle
was sharing but also the previous slide that Nancy showed is the impact on how it works
on a psychosocial need and how inclusion in a group helps us to enhance those basic needs. So an example is we have additional resources,
additional money and a friend calls us up and says I want to go bowling or I want to
go out to dinner. Having those financial resources allows us
the opportunity to participate and be a part of the community. Financial well-being also has the potential
to positively impact an individual’s quality of life experience. So having the financial resources allows us
to do the things that we enjoy doing like a hobby, traveling, or splurging on an item
that we really enjoy but may not be able to afford all the time due to the high cost. The condition of financial well-being has
the potential to positively impact so many areas of our lives. So to help us achieve financial well-being,
we need to increase our knowledge and our skills about our finances and our money. And employment is a key tool for us to access
to achieve financial well-being but the other tool is also understanding and accessing financial
education. And I’m going to stop for just a minute. [Inaudible] might be having a technical difficulty. The slides are not appearing.>>Michael, this is Nancy. While that’s — while that’s happening, I
apologize for that. But we had a question that I was going to
ask when you’re done. It was actually going back to something Michelle
said. So just to make sure that we’ve got our AV
back, if you don’t mind, I’d like to ask Michelle — the phone went [inaudible]. Oh, can you hear me?>>I hope — I can. This — did you set the telephone ringing? Okay, ask the question. Sorry about that.>>Right, no problem. I’m not quite sure what happened there either. We apologize. So my question is for Michelle and the question
that I have for you, Michelle, that came in is, in the examples that you gave of Ben and
Joy, in those examples, did the person no longer have their mental health condition?>>They still have their mental health condition. But it can, you know, we never know what’s
going to happen. They may — they’re still receiving treatment
from our community mental health center. I’m trying to think — sort of quickly think
of what’s going on with them, not that I don’t see or hear but — they still are receiving
treatment from our community mental health center and working with, you know, they may
be working with the therapist. They may be working with case managers but
you know, they’ve just gotten to a point where they may need less of that. But that’s the — for different people, work
can really help them need more or less of that. You know, different people just are different. So and people come to us at different points. Some people are still getting a lot of help
and some people are getting less. But they definitely still have their mental
health condition. They just start at a point where they are
able to go out and work, yeah. I hope that answered that. That was hopefully clear. I’m thinking [inaudible].>>That was [inaudible]. It does [inaudible].>>A lot of what it [inaudible] in my head
right now. I’m beginning to [inaudible] these different
people flooding my head where you know, some people — some people are still — are doing
really well when they go to work and some people are not doing as well but when they
go to work, they’re able to do okay. And work just really helps them with it, yeah.>>Great, thank you very much.>>I’m just very glad it’s [inaudible]. Yeah, it’s very good. It’s like any health condition. Some people have diabetes and go to work and,
you know, so — yeah.>>Great. Thank you very much. And with that, Michael, I’ll turn it back
over to you.>>Great, perfect. Can you hear me okay, to make sure we’re all
back to normal.>>Yes.>>Great, okay, excellent. So as I mentioned, when we look at the tools
to help build financial well-being, employment is a key piece. We need employment. We need wages. We need the income, right, to help us achieve
that. Another tool — another strategy that we need
to understand is financial execution. And we’re — what are the pieces of financial
education? So financial education is the gaining of knowledge
and skills to understand one’s financial matters or to understand how much money we have to
spend each month to build that standard of living that we want? So you might be wondering what are key topics
covered in financial education programs? So here are some sample topics covered in
financial education. So budgeting and spending plans — it is important
for us to create a spending plan. A spending plan allows us to know how much
money I have coming in and do I have enough money to cover all of my expenses at the end
of the month as well as do I have the resources, the money available to build the life that
we want? Creating a spending plan also allows us the
opportunity to possibly decrease the monthly expenses but it also provides us with insight
where we might want to increase or enhance our employment status so we can cover all
of our expenses so we can also create that life that we want. Thinking of another key topic in financial
education, the idea with banking is am I using a checking or savings account effectively
to keep my money safe? Savings is another key topic. Having the resources that allow me to pay
for an unexpected emergency or to save money to purchase an item that I might want, or
that I might need. Credit is another topic of financial education. And credit is important because it’s the ability
for an individual to attain goods or services before the payment. So this likely is based on the idea that the
payment will be made in the future. Debt management is another key topic and understanding
how to successfully pay our debts and strategies on how to get out of debt if we have substantial
debt. Investing is another topic, the opportunity
for my money to grow — or what I like to say is that it’s an opportunity for my money
to hopefully make a profit. And rent versus home ownership is another
key topic within financial education. And really understanding which situation is
right for me and which situation can I afford and being able to put my money to work to
potentially build — to build assets. These are only a sample of topics covered
in financial education. And each are important for us to understand
and put the information we learn into positive action. Once we learn the information, it’s important
for us to put it into action to help us achieve financial well-being. Later in this presentation, I’m going to share
with you some free resources including a financial education program that you can access online
for free. For free — so stay tuned for that. My final thought to share with you is that
when we increase our knowledge and skills around our money, whether it be income from
a job or other resources, and we put that knowledge and skills into positive action. Financial well-being can be achieved and help
play an important role in our journey towards recovery and really resiliency but also to
help us build new opportunities towards a life of work, a life of savings, and a life
of asset development. Thank you and Nancy, I’ll now turn it back
over to you.>>Thank you, Michael. That was great information. And we look forward to you coming back on
and talking about some of the resources that you have for us. Okay, so with that, we are going to move on
to slide 26 and I am going to turn it over to Keith and Jess who will be taking us through
the next several slides.>>Thanks, Nancy. And thanks also for the opportunity to be
a part of this WISE event. So I’m going to talk very briefly about the
disability benefit programs that are administered by the Social Security Administration. And I’m going to stay very general because
pretty quickly, these can get quite complicated. So next slide, social security disability
benefits — people with disabilities, as most of you on the call know, have to go through
a very involved and often very long process to be found eligible for disability benefits. Sometimes, this takes a year, or two years,
or even longer. And a [inaudible] part of the process is proving
to Social Security that you cannot work or at least you cannot work or earn more than
a very small amount. Then once you’re approved for benefits, a
benefits specialist like me comes along and says, hey, want to go to work? You can do that, you know. Well, that’s a bit of a mixed message and
the first response is often, no. I finally got the benefits I need and I’m
afraid if I work, I’ll lose the payments and the medical insurance that I depend on. But I know and all the research shows that
the vast majority of people with disabilities do, in fact, want to work. And in 30 years, I have not met one person
with a disability who is not capable of competitive meaningful and well-paid work, if given the
right job and supports. So [inaudible] just a glimpse that you can,
in fact, work and be better off financially but you can keep your medical insurance and
even your disability payments until you are ready to end them. So first, a brief explanation of these programs. The next slide — social security disability
insurance. These are SSDI. These are payments based on work, on past
work either yours or a parent’s when FICA taxes were paid. FICA stands for Federal Insurance Contribution
Act taxes. People who get SSDI have earned that benefit. Like any other insurance, you pay, and pay,
and pay and when you need it, it’s there for you. It doesn’t matter what assets you have or
what other non-work income you might get. And notice that I’m stressing the word insurance
for SSDI and the reason for that will become clear soon. SSDI comes with Medicare health insurance
after two years for most people. And this is the same Medicare that people
get when they turn 65 years old. Next slide — a benefit that sounds very similar
but could hardly be more different is SSI or Supplemental Security Income. This is for people with disabilities who have
not worked enough or not recently enough who have paid enough in FICA taxes to be insured
for SSDI. And notice that I’m stressing the other words
supplemental and income. This is a needs-based program. The more — the lower your income is, the
more that SSI will supplement it. And the more income you have then the less
SSI you’re going to receive. You can only have $2000 in counted assets
to stay eligible for SSI. And in most states, SSI comes with Medicaid
health insurance. And this is also called Medical Assistance
or MA. So the next — a person can have just SSDI,
Social Security Disability Insurance or just SSI, Supplemental Security Income or both. And these programs and the health insurance
that come with them sound so much alike but they have very different rules and aspects
because SSDI is an insurance payment while SSI is a payment to supplement your income. It’s very important to know which of these
benefits you receive, SSDI or SSI or both, because earnings from work will affect them
differently. If you don’t know which of these you get and
many people don’t or they’re not sure, contact your Social Security Office to find out. Next — both the SSDI and SSI programs have
social work incentives built into them. And these are special rules that Social Security
has for people with disabilities to encourage them to try work or to do what they need to
prepare for work. And to be able to do those things without
the financial and health insurance rug being pulled out from under them. Next — these work incentives can help you
do a number of things. They can help you receive training for new
skills. They can help you improve the skills you already
have. They can help you pursue an education perhaps
with an eye to trying a different jobs or to starting a career. They can also help you gain confidence in
your ability to work and move ahead with life. Next — some of the most commonly used work
incentives include the earned income exclusion. This is an SSI work incentive where Social
Security will only count half of your earnings when deciding how much of a payment you get. So as you earn more, your SSI payment goes
down but it doesn’t go down by as much as you earn. And you end up with more income by working. Protection from medical reviews, everyone
with a disability benefit is required from time to time to have their medical condition
reviewed to see if it’s still disabling. Jess is going to talk about Ticket to Work
which is a Social Security program that can put those reviews on hold for a person in
either the SSI or the SSDI program. Trial work period — this is an SSDI work
incentive and it’s nine months where you can earn any amount and still receive your payment. And as I said, this only comes with the SSDI
benefit. Continuation of Medicare coverage — this
also is an SSDI benefit because that’s the benefit that Medicare comes with is SSDI. When you earn enough to stop your SSDI payments,
the health insurance that comes with SSDI, Medicare, will continue for some period of
time. It could be quite a number of years. Continued Medicaid eligibility that’s sometimes
referred to by the legal name in the law that was passed, 1619(b) — this is an SSI work
incentive such that when you earn enough so that your SSI payment goes to zero, you still
get to keep your Medicaid. And you can keep it until your earnings are
quite high. It varies from state to state but I think
in all states at this point, it’s more than $30 or $33,000 per year before you could lose
your Medicaid eligibility. And the final one, I just want to mention
here is expedited reinstatement. This is a work incentive that can allow you
to get back on benefits within five years if the benefit ended due to earnings and you
have the same disability. So all of these together can help a person
to have the confidence that they can move forward with employment, without losing the
safety net that they had to go through so much to get in the first place. There’s a lot more work incentives available. To find out more about them, you can get a
Social Security Red Book and it literally is a red book that you can access either at
the Social Security website which is ssa.gov and you can get a hard copy. You can order a hard copy from there or you
can get a person to download an electronic version. And another way to find out about benefits
specialists as was mentioned before is to contact the benefits specialist. I think anyone going to work with a Social
Security disability benefit needs to consult with a benefits specialist so that you can
go to work smart and be better off by working and not worse off. There’s a lot of ways to find one but every
state at least has a work incentives planning and assistance or WIPA program that provides
a benefits specialist. You can find out about the one in your state
by calling 1-866-968-7842 or for teaching live, it’s 866-833-2967 and this is a Ticket
to Work help line that will connect you with someone in the WIPA program, if you want and
there’s other information about Ticket to Work as well. And you can also find out about the WIPA project
in your state online at www.choosework, C-H-O-O-S-E-W-O-R-K.net. So next slides — sorry, I forgot to keep
mentioning my own going to different slides. Sorry, Nancy. I’m going to turn it over to Jess now to talk
more about why choosing work can be so important in recovery and resilience and about another
way that Social Security [inaudible] work about the Ticket to Work program.>>Okay, thanks Keith. So hopefully, we’re on the why choose work
slide 33. There are a lot of different reasons that
people with any type of disability or without disability at all choose work. As was mentioned before, financial security
is a big part of that. There’s also gaining independence and increased
social circle, learning new skills, and increasing self-esteem. All of these are meaningful things and part
of an adult role in our society. I certainly am a person who identifies as
having a mental health condition and have had my own experience in recovery and work. And it’s been a really positive thing for
me. I now work full time and I’m financially independent. I terminated all benefits many years ago. I have a lot of really great co-workers that
I do social stuff with. Along my path that I’ll talk more about later,
I’ve learned a lot of new skills and I feel better about myself. Everybody needs a place to go and something
to do and a purpose. And work really makes a difference for me. So next slide — is the next step is the Ticket
to Work program. So next slide, starting the journey. You’re the only one who can decide if work
is the right choice for you. I definitely always encourage people to consider
paid work for all its benefits that increase self-esteem, financial security, just having
that meaningful work in your life that helps you both have that purpose and then to enjoy
the time you have to yourself as well. So next slide. What is the Ticket to Work program? It’s a free voluntary Social Security program
that offers career development for people aged 18 through 64 who receive Social Security
disability benefits either SSI or SSDI. And it offers other social — other services
and supports including benefits counseling that can be through the WIPA project that
Keith mentioned, through another agency or sometimes employment networks offer benefits
counseling that’s associated with the Ticket to Work program. And you can find more information about employment
networks at the Ticket to Work website which is www.choosework — C-H-O-O-S-E-W-O-R-K.net. Next slide. So the next step is gathering information
and resources that are key to planning your journey towards employment. And Ticket to Work and work incentives can
help make your journey a smooth one. For me, when I first got defective health
in my mid-20s, I had always been working. But really needed more support at that point
in my life. And I was able to move forward very quickly,
finished my Master’s in Library Science and go on to work as a librarian for several years. Then and I had had benefits and terminated
from cash payments but kept my health insurance. Then I decided to retrain and I retrained
as a benefits specialist and then as a rehabilitation counselor. I am also a certified peer specialist which
is someone who uses their own mental health recovery to help others move forward with
theirs. I provide a lot of employment benefits counseling
as part of my current job. And I feel really lucky to get to do what
I do. I didn’t do any of this without supportive
planning. I used the clubhouse model for support while
I was working on my recovery. And no longer need that level of support but
it’s there if I need it. There’s also assertive community treatment,
other forms of case management and supportive employment programs. So there are resources out there for people
to get the help they need to be successful. And a good place to find resources, if you
aren’t aware of what is in your particular area is the National Alliance on Mental Illness
or NAMI at NAMI — N-A-M-I.org or the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance at dbsa.org. They have a lot of information about recovery
in general and different types of resources and what might be the right fit for you. As I moved along with my recovery — as I
said, I don’t need anywhere near the level of support but benefits counseling was a huge
piece of moving forward that I knew what was going to happen and I had planned for it and
that’s really where I wanted to go. I was ready to move forward. So next slide. Elements of successful recovery. Recovery involves many different elements
and supports. It’s not linear. It’s not time limited. It has its ups and downs and it’s different
for each person. So you could visit www.choosework.net so www.choosework.net/findhelp/
to search for the right service provider for you. And for many people, they use employment networks
to use that Ticket to Work which, by coincidence, using work incentives over the course of my
recovery, I did use my ticket through vocational rehabilitation which provided some training
which helped me move forward in my career path. And again, know and use the supports that
are available in your community. They’re not always the easiest to find but
they’re out there and there are people who care and will help. Job success is a team effort. None of us exist in a vacuum. That’s true whether you have a mental health
condition or not. I have a husband, and a family and friends,
and co-workers who helped support me just as everybody listening on this call has somebody
important in their life. And employment is often a key element in recovery. I certainly come from the mindset that I wouldn’t
force anyone to work certainly but that it’s such an important part of recovery for all
the different reasons — financial well-being, social supports and making friends, having
a purpose, that adult role in our society. There are all sorts of good reasons to work
and I know that the idea of what happens with my benefits can be scary. But with benefits counseling, you have the
information to make good choices for you. Next slide, for more information, call the
Ticket to Work help line at 1-866-968-7842 or the TTY line at 1-866-833-2967 or you can
visit http://www.ssa.gov/work. Thanks.>>Thank you so much, Keith and Jess. Great information and we have had some questions
that have come in while the two of you have been doing your presentation. The first one goes to you, Jess. Something that you just mentioned was a clubhouse
model. Can you explain what the clubhouse model is?>>The clubhouse model started in New York
City back in the ’40s with some people who had been diagnosed with mental health conditions
who didn’t want to just sit around anymore. I believe they were playing cards. And they got some help from philanthropic
organizations and now it’s this international clubhouse organization that the focus is on
the work ordered days. So the members and they are patients or the
clients, their members come and help do all the work involved in the running of the clubhouse. There are staff workers or resource workers. They sometimes have different names who help
members with their recovery but it’s often very much the members who help each other
and work is always a focus. I began working very, very quickly after joining
a clubhouse. They have some temporary work positions that
they can place people into directly or help people gain independent competitive employment
or support with education.>>Great information, thank you so much. In keeping with Ticket to Work and one of
the questions that we have, either for you, Keith or you, Jess. Are there any employment networks that can
provide me with counseling service to assist with my mental health needs?>>Not that I know.>>Well, I mean, I think the employment networks
provide a variety of different services. There’s really a range of what they provide
and to know what is provided where, you really need to investigate each individual one. But my expectation is that most employment
networks do not directly provide that kind of counseling. Rather, they would serve the function of trying
to connect you with resources in your community that would serve that function. But others may have — I’m not the most experienced
in knowing about the various employment networks. So other people in the call may have better
or certainly more information on that.>>Well, so Keith, thank you for that. There’s another question that’s related and
I think this will be helpful to folks. Are there any tools that can help me find
an employment network that’s right for me?>>In fact, there are. There’s one site Keith is pulling up. Can’t you find the [inaudible]?>>I think so in [inaudible] for this.>>Yeah, W-W-W-.-C-H-O-O-S-E-DOT-W-O-R-K-DOT-N-E-T
— so www.choosework.net. And there’s a phone number too. The Ticket to Work help line at 866-968-7842
or TTY at 866-833-2967.>>And there’s a find help tool located at
that website. Does that answer what you’re looking for,
Nancy?>>Yeah, that’s great. Wonderful, thank you very much. Good answers. We appreciate that. Michael Roush, we also have a couple of questions
that came in regarding financial education. And one of them is counseling. Is there any counseling that is there to assist
people with changing their financial behavior?>>Sure, great. So Nancy, just to make sure I’m clear so it’s
asking how to locate a counselor to help with their finances?>>Well, that would be — so that would be
even better. I think the question was just are those types
of services available? So I guess you’re saying yes, they are. So yeah, that would be wonderful.>>Great, great. Yes, that’s exactly are resources that are
available in the majority of community. And one of the things that’s important to
note is as you’re starting to look at someone who could help you talk about your finances
with you, look at your situation, help you create a spending plan — you could look for
a financial coach because we have financial coaches but they may also have financial counselors. And so financial coaches are usually set up
with a community-based organization and within communities, you get help to find one if there’s
one in your area by contacting United Way and/or contacting 211. A financial coach would be able to assist
you in looking at what is your ultimate goal that you would like to achieve and help coach
you and guide you to achieving those particular financial goals that you have, whether you
want to create a spending plan, reduce debt, enhance your credit score, things like that. So contact 211 in your local area or your
United Way or you can also contact your community action agency within your area and ask them
if they have a financial coach available.>>Thank you so much, Michael. So we’re going to move on to resources but
before that, we’ve got a great question that came in that I’d like to address and it could
be either Michelle or it could go to Jess, or both of you could take a turn answering
it. I think it’s a really great question. The question is, mental illness can be unpredictable. What advice do you have for someone who might
able to work now but might not be able to work sometime in the future? And any thoughts from either –>>This is just — definitely, that is part
of many health conditions, including mental health conditions, that there are going to
be ups and downs. And the key part is having those supports
in place that you need and knowing what resources are available to support you both — you know,
your natural supports like your family and your friends. Or more formal supports like a therapist or
psychiatrist. And doing that work while moving forward with
recovery has those in place, so that when you need them they’re there. And with the benefits counseling piece — you
know, I know and I know other have used it knowing what’s going to happen and that there’s
a wave expedited reinstatement to potentially get back on your benefits quickly. And that’s just one work incentive.>>Thanks Jess. Anything else Michelle, before we go on?>>Yeah. I think there’s that financial piece and then,
there’s, you know, like day to day piece. So we often do a thing — so a lot people
have heard of WRAP plans, Wellness, Recovery, Action, Plans. And we do those actually for work. So people can have those, you know, what’s
going to happen? And that. And then, another piece, thinking about in
supportive employment programs where we work really closely with employers so people thinking
— just thinking like that. So I have people where employers call me a
year or two later when they know something’s happening with someone so we can make plans. You know the employers know people — now
we’re no longer in the picture with the person’s employment journey. But the employer’s there and they now are
providing a lot of those supports that were — the employment specialists were before. And so, they are doing that and they’re — then
they get back in contact with us. So just thinking about employment programs
as well, and how much you might want an employment specialist to be involved with an employer
and creating that plan as well. So sometimes people don’t want to disclose
disabilities to employers. But sometimes it’s really important to think
about you might do that and not wait until you have that time where, oh now there’s a
problem. So thinking very thoughtfully about how you
might do that so that you can flex in and out of those bad times and preserve a job
or things like that. I think that’s just a really important conversation
to have with yourself and people that are helping you with your employment.>>Great. Thank you very much Michelle and Jess. All right. So were going to split up some of our resources
now. We’ve got several to offer you. And that is going to start with Michael Roush,
who has a few really good resources to share with us.>>Great. Thank you Nancy. So as I mentioned in my previous remarks I
have identified some resources here, and tools, that I find to make a positive impact on that
journey to achieve financial wellbeing. The first resource is a suggestion, and I
hope you all are doing this or will do this, is to subscribe to the Choose Work Blog. The series of Choose Work Blog has some great
articles on financial wellbeing, resources, and tools. And I was fortunately asked to write one last
month for National Financial Literacy Month that has additional resources that people
can access. So check out the blog. And you can do that http://bit.ly /SubscribeSW. The next tool resource is spending diary. This simple tool allows us to keep track of
our spending each day. If you have not kept a spending diary, I challenge
you to go out and keep a spending diary. The goal here is to keep a spending diary
for each day for four weeks so that you can see where your money goes and what you’re
spending your money on. And there are certain things that you might
be able to decrease or take out. I do a spending diary on a yearly basis, particularly
when I fell off track with my spending. And this tool can really help you get back
on track and see where your money goes. So you can access the spending diary tool
at www.realeconomicimpact.org/financial-education/financial-education-toolkit. The next resource is MyMoney.gov. This website has several great tools and resources
to help us understand more about our money. The other thing that I like about this website
is it provides quizzes and online assessments that I’m allowed to kind of see where my financial
habits are and how I can improve that. Again this website is at www.mymoney.gov. The other resource to talk about is, earlier
on I mentioned about financial education program that you can access that’s free. And one of my favorites is Money Smart. And Money Smart [inaudible] out by the Federal
Deposit Insurance Corporation or often as FDIC. And Money Smart is a financial education program
that’s designed to help low and moderate income individuals increase their financial skills
and create positive banking relationships. There are a variety of modules that you can
access and activities that you can complete, you can access this online for free or you
can order a CD with the curriculum on it and it’s also free. If you want to learn more about banking, spending
plans, credit, homeownership, or if your employment goal is self-employment guess what? They have a version specific — a version
of many [inaudible] specifically on how to start and manage a small business. Again, all of these resources are free and
on the FDIC’s website, and you can find that at http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/moneysmart/index.html,
a great resource to access, to learn more on different financial education
topics. The last financial wellbeing resource that
I would like to share is through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. CFPB or Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s
mission is make markets for consumer’s financial products and services work for Americans. Whether they are applying for a mortgage,
choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products,
like a bank account or a credit card — a number of other consumer products. And you can access this information that they
have at http://www.consumerfinance.gov. They have great resources and tools that,
again, are free to access. One of my favorite tools to check out is called
Behind On Go, start with one step. This booklet provides tools to help one budget
their money, looks at needs versus wants, and debt management. And it provides the clear steps that individuals
can walk through to enhance their financial wellbeing and to get back on track on paying
their bills. They have many more tools you can access online. And I encourage you to check it out. And again, these are free resources that you
can access and you can order copies of the different tools and they will ship them to
your house. So with that Nancy, I think those were the
key resources, financial education resources. I think I’ll turn it back over to you.>>Thank you so much Michael. Great information. And we are going to continue with our resources. And I’m going to talk about JAN, which is
the Job Accommodation Network. We’ve talked about them before and most likely
we will be having them present some time for us in the summer, about job accommodations. JAN provides free expert confidential guidance
on workplace accommodations and disability issues. JAN helps people with disabilities and enhances
their employability, and JAN shows employers how to capitalize on the value and talent
that disabilities add to the workforce. So to get more information you can go to www.askjan.org
or you can all them at 1-800-526-7234, or TTY 1-877-781-9403. We also have some mental health specific resources
for you today, and the first one that I would like to talk about is the National Suicide
Prevention Hotline. Which the phone number is 1-800-273-TALK,
also 8255. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline has
trained crisis workers that are available to talk 24 hours a day seven days a week. Your confidential and toll-free call goes
to the nearest crisis center in the Lifeline National Network. These centers provide crisis counseling and
mental health referrals. The website is www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org. Or you can also call them, again as I mentioned
at 1-800-273-TALK which translates to 1-800-273-8255. If we have any veterans on the call the call
today — on the webinar today, we have a resource specific to you veterans. And that is the Veterans Crisis Line, which
is 1-800-273-8255 and then, you press one. And then, what the Veterans Crisis Line does
is connect veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified Department of Veterans
Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline as well as online chat or
text. So you might also text 838255 to receive confidential
support. The website for the Veterans Crisis Line is
www.veteranscrisisline.net, that’s veteranscrisisline.net. And again, the phone number is 1-800-273-8255
and then, press one. Another resource that we have is SAMHSA, which
is Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. And the — SAMHSA has a treatment referral
helpline or general help and to locate treatment services in your area. You can call their number; speak to a live
person Monday through Friday, 8:00AM to 8:00PM Eastern Standard Time. Their website is 1-877-SAMHSA7. So again, that’s 1-877-SAMHSA7 which translates
to 1-877-726-4727. We had one of our speakers mention this earlier,
NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. And NAMI is dedicated to building better lives
for millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to support services,
treatment, supports and research, and is committed to raising awareness and building a community
of hope for all of those in need. And you can visit them by going to NAMI’s
website at www.nami, N-A-M-I.org or you can call the NAMI helpline at 1-800-950-6264. And yet another resource that we have for
you is Mental Health America. And Mental Health America is a community-based
network dedicated to helping all Americans live mentally healthier lives. They a century of service and over more than
300 affiliates across the country. And Mental Health America advocates for changes
in policy, educates the public, and delivers urgently needed programs and services. And you can go to their website by going to
www.mentalhealthamerica.net. So
before we move on to our final closing slides, we do have one question that has come in several
times. And Keith or Jess, maybe you could explain
this a little bit. When you talked about expedited reinstatement
before, Keith, could you talk a little bit more about expedited reinstatements?>>Sure. I’ll be real brief. Expedited reinstatement is for someone who
has lost complete eligibility for social security disability programs. They’re no longer in the SSDI orSSI program,
including the extended period of Medicare or the — continuing Medicaid. And you can access this if you’ve been working
along, you worked so well, you earned enough to go off benefits, and went on for a year,
two years, three years. Any time within five years after your benefits
terminated –>>Because of work.>>– because of work. Good point. Yeah. Not because of a medical review but because
of work. If your benefits terminated you can ask social
security to restart your benefits under expedited reinstatement. If you can no longer earn at the substantial
level because of your disability — it doesn’t matter why you lost the job, that matter is
that now because of my disability I can no longer earned the substantial level, which
this year is $1170 of gross earnings per month. Social security will start your benefits back
up and then, they’ll do a medical review to see if you have [inaudible] disability. And if you do then your benefits continue. So that’s the basic outline. There’s lot more to it but I think those are
the essentials that people need to know. If not I guarantee — but my experience it
has worked very, very well for pretty much everyone that I thought was in that circumstance
where they lost benefits due to their earnings, they can’t earn that substantial level anymore,
they have — because of their disability, and they still have the same disability and
their benefits did continue. Could I add one thing? I’m glad to — my mic unmuted because in response
to the Club House question before, Jess and I wanted to give the website for the Club
House International, to see if you’re interested in finding out more or finding out if there’s
a Club House near you. It’s http://clubhouse-intl.org. So it spells out Club House, C-L-U-B H-O-U-S-E-dash-I-N-T-L,
for international, dot O-R-G.>>That’s great. Thank you, Keith. We did have a couple of other questions that
came in that people wanted to know more about the Club House model. So I’m glad that you were able to get that
website to everyone. I appreciate it. Wow, this is so wonderful, I don’t want it
to come to an end. But I am going to start talking about where
everyone on the phone can get more information. And for more information for anything that
you heard today or to get more information on the ticket please call the Ticket to Work
helpline at 1-866-968-7842, or TTY, 1-866-833-2967, TTY. Or you can visit http://www.ssa.gov /work. Please connect with us. You can like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com
/choosework. You can
follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com /chooseworkSSA. We also have a YouTube channel and you can
watch Ticket to Work videos on YouTube by going to http://www.youtube.com/choosework. And you can also follow us on LinkedIn at
https://linkedin.com /company/ticket-to-work. We would certainly love for everyone to join
us next month. We will be having our next Ticket to Work
Wise Webinar on Wednesday, June 28th, 2017 from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. Eastern. You can register online at http://www.choosework.net/wise. That link will be active in the next 15 minutes. Or you can call 1-866-968-7842, or for TTY,
1-866-833-2967. We certainly fit in a lot of questions today. We are sorry that we don’t have time for more. We do appreciate all of your questions. And please remember to tell us what you think,
and take our webinar survey. A link will pop up after the webinar, or you
can visit www.choosework.net /surveys/wise. Thank you very much, and we’ll talk to you
next month. Bye. [Inaudible] with me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *