Health & Disability Advocates

 

INNOVATIVE PROGRAM & POLICY WORK > WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT

REGIONAL: WORK INCENTIVES ADVISORY GROUP (WIAG)

The Regional Work Incentives Advisory Group (WIAG) was created by SSA Region V Commissioner James Martin to identify and reduce problems at SSA offices in providing services to people with disabilities who want to work. Region V includes the states of Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana and Wisconsin. The group is composed of advocates and SSA staff from all six states, as well as representatives from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) (which administers the Medicaid program) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Since its inception, WIAG has been meeting on a quarterly basis.

The first issue identified by WIAG was the 1619 Medicaid program. The 1619 Medicaid program allows SSI beneficiaries to receive free Medicaid (without spenddown) when they return to work. Many SSI beneficiaries however, do not receive 1619 Medicaid because of problems at both the local SSA offices and the local Medicaid offices (the Illinois Department of Human Services - IDHS). We recommended that both SSA and the Medicaid agencies meet to discuss ways to better communicate information between the two agencies. In addition, HDA has developed a fact sheet on 1619 Medicaid to help consumers as well as SSA employees and IDHS employees. CMS has also agreed to monitor the states’ 1619 Medicaid rolls.

The second set of issues identified by WIAG, were service delivery problems at the local SSA offices, specifically around return to work. WIAG recommended, and Regional Commissioner Martin agreed, that the local SSA field offices should devote more attention to return to work issues. As a result of our recommendations, more SSA employees will be trained on work incentives, and importantly, there will be better tracking of earnings reporting when a consumer reports work to a local office. These changes will be especially helpful when the Community Work Incentives Coordinators of the SSA funded Work Incentives Planning & Assistance Projects are working with individual consumers.

Another WIAG accomplishment was a national policy change on transportation and Impairment Related Work Expenses (IRWEs). SSA has decided that a consumer may use disability related transportation expenses as IRWEs even when public transportation is not available. This is a major change in policy.

The WIAG is now focused on the Ticket to Work implementation. If you have any questions, or suggestions for WIAG issues, please contact HDA at 312-223-9600.

Online Library

HDA has a wide variety of documents related to workforce development in our online Materials Library.

Here are some of the valuable resources you'll find there:

SSI and Medicaid for Transition Age Youth

This fact sheet describes the Medicaid and SSI programs for children who are approaching transition age and starting to think about moving from school into the adult service world. It offers short descriptions of the SSI, SSDI, Medicaid and Medicare programs and their eligibility criteria. It also lists resources on work incentives and the Health Benefits for Workers with Disabilities program.

2010 Work Incentives Training DRS Application

This is the application for DRS Representatives interested in participating in the 2010 Work Incentives Trainings.

2010 Work Incentives Training Flyer

This Flyer describes the 2010 Work Incentives Trainings.

Web Resources

HDA also maintains a list of Links with many other websites and online resources on workforce development.