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  • April 20, 2020 1:54 PM | Deleted user

    By Judy Sanderson, NENA Director
    Director, Vocational Services
    Granite State Independent Living

    We are all being inundated by news stories, articles, emails, and social media posts on the current COVID-19 situation. This includes information on everything that the government, state and federal, are putting in place to try and mitigate the wide-ranging impacts. NENA wants to provide you with some links to information on a variety of these safety nets so you can review them as you need to and have time to absorb it.

    1. Stimulus Check Information

    The stimulus checks (or economic impact checks) will start arriving shortly and there is some confusion as to who is eligible and how to make sure you will get what you should get. Click here for a link to the IRS site that provides an explanation.

    It is important to note that SSDI recipients do not need to file a tax return. To date, SSI recipients will need to do so although the IRS is still looking at ways to bypass that requirement. Also, those who have eligible children will need to file to receive the additional $500/child without waiting. The link for information and the form is here:

    2. Cornell University on the impact of the stimulus check on various benefits.

     In general, this document states who is eligible and that it will not impact either SSDI, SSI or TANF benefits. There is also information on SNAP, Medicare/Medicaid, VA Pensions, unemployement and more. Click here to view the form.

    3. Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)

    On April 1, 2020, the U.S. Department of Labor announced new action regarding how American workers and employers will benefit from the protections and relief offered by the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, both part of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

    Q&A from DOL

    More Q&A

    Wage and Hour Division of DOL posted a recorded webinar on Friday, April 3, 2020, to provide interested parties a more in-depth description and help them learn more about the FFCRA. Click here to watch the webinar.

    WHD offers a number of plain-language compliance assistance materials to explain FFCRA’s benefits and requirements. Tools include a Fact Sheet for Employees and a Fact Sheet for Employers, available in both English and Spanish, and an expansive list of Questions and Answers addressing the questions WHD has most frequently received from stakeholders to date. Available guidance also includes two new posters, one for federal workers and one for all other employees, available in both English and Spanish, that will fulfill notice requirements for employers obligated to inform employees about their rights under this new law, Questions and Answers about posting requirements, and a Field Assistance Bulletin describing WHD’s 30-day non-enforcement policy.

    4. Unemployment Insurance

    This is something that will vary from state to state. Many of us are facing lay-offs, furloughs, reduction in work hours for our staff and ourselves. Click here to help you find information for your state(s).

    5. IRS: Employee Retention Credit for many businesses financially impacted by COVID-19

    The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service today launched the Employee Retention Credit, designed to encourage businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19.

    The credit is available to all employers regardless of size, including tax-exempt organizations. There are only two exceptions: State and local governments and their instrumentalities and small businesses who take small business loans. Click here for more information.

    6. Paid Leave

    The US Department of Labor has just clarified that parents of adult children who have lost their usual source of care due to COVID-19 may receive Paid Leave to stay home to care for their adult children just as parents of children up to age 18 may stay home to care for their child who has lost their usual source of care due to school or childcare closings or inability of childcare providers to come to the home to care for their child. The US Department of Labor has finally determined that the definition of “son or daughter” for the new program should be consistent with that of the existing Family and Medical Leave Act, which “expressly includes children 18 years of age or older and incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.” Find out more here.

    7. The Paycheck Protection Program

    The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.

    Most of us have heard about the problems businesses have had when applying for these loans, but in case you want to look into it, click here for additional information.


  • March 19, 2020 1:57 PM | Deleted user

    By Margo Scoble, NENA Director
    CWIC, Program Director, Managed Career Solutions, Inc.

    It is truly an honor to be back on the National Employment Network Association Board of Directors. I look forward to continuing to work with our members. Partnering with your American Job Center is more important than ever. This partnership will be beneficial to both parties as the Ticket to Work program continues to evolve. Having partner agencies can be a great resource for both you and your job seekers. Partnering can be informal or formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  A local EN might want to partner with an American Job Center (AJC), your local Workforce Development Board (WDB), or the operating agencies of the American Job Centers. The more people you can access who are potential ticket holders, the more people you might touch and eventually sign up.

     

    The process may seem daunting and can lead to questions such as, where do I start? What happens once I introduce myself and my organization? Starting at the beginning is always a good idea. Map your local area, thoroughly read the websites of your WDB and the operators of your nearest America’s Job Center. Contact those agencies, ask to attend an orientation and read their Mission and Vision statements. By doing so you might see an opportunity in which you may be of service to them, and ultimately, they can refer you to potential ticket holders who are ready to search for employment.

    The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act states that persons with disabilities are to be served at the American Job Centers. Many AJCs simply have not engaged this population enough and would welcome your input and resources. This is an ideal time to pick up that phone and try to schedule a meeting with an Executive Director or Program Manager. The more you know about the AJC you are meeting with, the opportunity for a positive outcome will be higher. Starting small is ideal. At your first meeting, ask what services the agency you are meeting with provides, and share your services in turn. Through this two-way conversation, opportunities will appear. You also have the option to introduce your services at weekly AJC orientations, leave printed materials in their resource centers, and attend a staff orientation to provide an overview of your services. Once the relationship solidifies, an MOU may be developed between your organizations.

    American Job Centers are required to engage with local businesses and serve them. This includes posting job leads, hosting on-site recruitments and ideally, consistent job fairs. The AJC Business Services teams offer these terrific opportunities for your clients to obtain solid, timely resources that may lead to employment. As ENs, we are gaining more employer openings through 503, and the AJCs all have ample local resources. Also, the AJCs do have training dollars and you might be able to request some spots to be reserved for PWD, to which your ticket holders would be a great fit. You may co-enroll your beneficiaries, as co-case management is proven to often lead to more positive outcomes.

    Another benefit of partnering is to plant seeds for long term growth of your business. There are grants and Requests for Proposals announced for a variety of programs from different funding streams. Partnering, subcontracting and letters of support are at times necessary to secure finding. Having partners a phone call away can be enormous if you are writing a proposal to increase your chances of securing funding, or to open opportunities for your EN to be involved in new grants or grant cycles from your partners.

    I am pleased to offer insight into the dynamic potential of partnership between workforce programs for persons with disabilities. The success of ENs which are already closely involved with their local workforce development system highlight the synergy that these types of partnerships create. It is important to know that partnerships will always evolve, so even if you have not both figured every part out, there is no harm in initiating collaborative efforts with your new partner today.


  • February 13, 2020 12:58 PM | Deleted user

    by Peter Travisano, NENA Director
    Manager, University of Massachusetts Medical School AEN

    Administrative Employment Networks

    We all know that the Ticket to Work program is complex and administering it requires significant time and expertise. Organizations that provide employment supports to individuals who receive disability benefits sometimes feel it is more than they can successfully manage. That’s where Administrative Employment Networks (AEN) can help! AENs can ease the administrative burden related to the Ticket to Work program, help partnering organizations generate payments and free them to do what they do best, help individuals with disabilities achieve their employment goals. 

    What is an AEN?

    An Administrative Employment Network (AEN) is an EN of record helping partnering organizations participate in the Ticket to Work Program.  The AEN assumes responsibility for ensuring that all requirements of the Ticket to Work program are met. Partners are organizations or individuals who provide vocational supports to SSI and/or SSDI beneficiaries. The EN of record assigns the Tickets, administers the program, and requests/tracks payments from Social Security, while the partner provides the employment services and other supports. The AEN and partner negotiate a formal agreement or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that details the responsibilities of each and how the revenue generated by Milestone/Outcome Payments is shared. This type of arrangement may also be attractive to existing ENs who lack the resources to administer their Ticket program or need extra mentoring to build their program capabilities.  The EN of Record must ensure that the administration and services provided by the partner meet the requirements of their formal agreement (Blanket Purchase Agreement) with Social Security.  

    Administrative EN Models

    The following models are currently recognized by Social Security:

    • Private-Sector Administrative EN Model: 

    A private for-profit or non-profit organization functions as the EN of Record and provides administrative support for Ticket operations through an agreement with affiliate partners, other providers and/or individuals.

    • State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Agency Administrative EN Model: 

    A State VR agency secures Ticket assignments and functions as the EN of Record, providing administrative support for Ticket operations through an agreement with VR vendors (EN and/or non-EN service providers) that typically provide employment service or other supports to VR consumers.

    • Public-Sector Workforce Agency Administrative EN Model: 

    The State Workforce agency, the State Workforce Development Board (SWDB) or a Local Workforce Development Board (LWDB) functions as the EN of Record and provides administrative support for Ticket operations through an agreement with other workforce entities (e.g., American Job Centers) and/or community partners that provide employment services and other supports.

    • State Agency Administrative EN Model: 

    A State agency (e.g., the State Mental Health agency or the State Developmental Disabilities agency) functions as the EN of Record and provides administrative support for Ticket operations through an agreement with other state entities, affiliate organizations, EN providers, non-EN providers and/or other community partners qualified to provide appropriate employment services and other supports.

    The administrative functions of an AEN may include:

    • Beneficiary assignment and the submission of IWPs to SSA
    • Submission of payment requests to SSA
    • Serving as the point of contact to manage annual IWP and COS reviews
    • Help with Suitability Clearance and PII related questions

    Administrative ENs can also provide additional services for their partnering organizations.  These may include Work Incentives & Benefits Counseling for beneficiaries whose Tickets are assigned to the EN of Record.  They may also include Incubator and mentoring services for qualified non-EN affiliates to explore service provision under the Ticket program without becoming ENs.  The partnering organization may choose to become an EN at a later date.

    A note about DUNS numbers

    Social Security recently started requiring ENs that want to serve as Administrative ENs to obtain a different DUNS# and establish that EN as a separate entity in Social Security’s system.  This is true of any EN that wants to provide services under more than one model.  The Ticket Program Manager (TPM) can provide additional information on this process. 

    To learn more about Administrative Employment Networks visit Social Security’s Ticket to Work webpage.


  • January 21, 2020 12:59 PM | Deleted user

    By Pam Walker, NENA President
    President, Alliance Professional Services, LLC

    Another year is now behind us and we have lots of exciting opportunities ahead of us in 2020! We are sharing reminders and best practices to use now in preparation of what we believe will be a year of increased growth for the Ticket Program!

    Daily Operations

    Track and make required contacts. Guidelines require monthly contact with Ticketholders during the “Initial Services phase” (pre-employment) and contact at least quarterly during the “ongoing support phase” (while a Ticketholder is employed) to provide ongoing support and services. As we all know, often Ticketholders experience periods of work and non-work, so it is important to develop a method for easily tracking a Ticketholders’ status – working or not working – so you can determine and meet the contact requirement timeframes.

    Maintain excellent case notes as well as documentation to support the case notes. Always provide detailed information related to the type of contact or attempted contact made including the contact method, the phone number called or the email or mailing address used, the date of contact, the time of the contact, the duration, a brief description of the contact, the type of services provided during the contact, or details about the attempted contact and any messages left. Remember, these notes will be needed to establish Proof of Relationship when requesting payments for Phase I, Milestones 1, 2, and 3, if earning statements/pay stubs are not available. Retain copies of emails, texts, or phone logs when possible as proof of contacts or attempts to contact. For more information on documentation, refer to the Ticket to Work Services and Supports resources at: https://yourtickettowork.ssa.gov/resources/forms.html

    Monitor attempted contacts to determine when letters to Ticketholders are required due to unsuccessful contact. According to the email issued on May 15, 2018 by SSA, certified letters with a return receipt are preferred, but are not required due to the high cost of certified mail. First Class mail is acceptable as long as the letter sent is well documented by retaining a copy of the letter with the mailing date noted and maintained in the Ticketholder’s file. In lieu of certified mail, some ENs are using a “Certificate of Mailing” to show proof of mailing. For more information on Certificate of Mailing, see resources available at the NENA’s website under the Members’ Resource area or by visiting the USPS website at https://faq.usps.com/s/article/Certificate-of-Mailing-The-Basics.

    Check email, including junk, clutter, and spam folders to ensure you do not miss important emails. We have found that some emails from SSA, NENA, and others who may send bulk emails, don’t always make it to the inbox and may be routed to one of the other folders listed above.

    Monthly Tasks

    Mark your Calendar! The Calendar Page at the Ticket to Work website includes a list of upcoming events, trainings, EN calls, VR Calls, and task due dates: (https://yourtickettowork.ssa.gov/training-and-events/calendar.html)

    Sign up and watch for the NENA Newsletter and Calendar of Events for Members. If you are a member, join us for monthly events, trainings, and committee meetings. If you are not a member, sign up for our free newsletter at www.nenaticket.org , see what NENA has to offer, then become a member!

    Quarterly Tasks

    Confirm your organization’s information at the Choosework website is correct. One quick way to review is to sign into the Portal. From the main menu, select “About Your EN or SVR”, then select “View Directory Information about your EN or SVR”. If any information needs to be updated, fill out a “change form” (https://yourtickettowork.ssa.gov/Assets/yttw/docs/information-center/forms/Form-1374-122017.pdf) and notify ENService at ENService@ssa.gov

    Audit your assignments and unassignments. All Ticket providers should compare their organization’s assignment and unassignment information to the information reflected in the Portal. The purpose of the review is to make sure the beneficiaries you believe are assigned to your organization are actually assigned and that those who have had Tickets terminated or who have been unassigned from your organization, are reflected as such in your records and in SSA’s records. Although this task should be completed at least quarterly.

    Six Month Tasks

    Check the System for Award Management (SAM) to determine your organization’s Award Management expiration date and/or ensure the update is made timely. SAM expiration dates for all federal contractors can be found by visiting www.sam.gov and performing a search by Entity name or DUNS Number. SAM must be updated annually, but may be updated more often as needed. If the SAM registration is not updated and processed prior to the expiration date, SSA will not be able to make payments to the organization until the SAM registration is brought current. The registration process now requires a notarized letter to complete the process, so it takes additional time for the registration to be completed. It is suggested that you begin your SAM registration update process at least 90 days prior to the expiration date. For this reason we suggest this be checked every six months.

    Annual Tasks

    Complete the Annual Performance Outcome Report (APOR) and Annual Security Awareness Training for all staff. Instructions are generally sent to via email and are also available at the Choosework website. Additional information is available at: https://yourtickettowork.ssa.gov/resources/resource-documents.html

    If you need additional assistance or have any questions about the information above, please email us at admin@NENATicket.org and we will be happy to contact you. We wish you much success and Ticket growth in 2020!


  • December 12, 2019 10:30 AM | Deleted user

    By Amy Wallish, NENA Director

    Chief Executive Officer, Full Circle Employment Solutions LLC


    In case you missed the Social Security email earlier this fall or haven’t been on the choosework.ssa.gov website recently, Social Security has made several enhancements to this section. Hopefully, these enhancements will help users more easily find the information they are searching for. Here is a list of some of the updates.

    Find Help Direct Search page: You have expanded filters for searching. You can now search by specific services, disabilities, languages or service delivery mode. You can still search by zip code, state and provider type. You now have the option to pin up to 3 providers to compare. Look for the little pushpin symbol on the left side of each EN name. By each provider name there are added descriptor badges such as benefits counselor and both in-person and virtual.

    Service Provider Profile card:

    • “Time as an EN” section has been updated so the calculation is done more accurately.
    • The Ticket Assignment count is now updated monthly.
    • A Benefits Counselor badge has been added.
    • The Services/Features section was reformatted for easier reading.
    For ENs with multiple office locations:
    • If there is no zip code used in the search, the results will show alphabetically.
    • If the zip code is used in the search, the result will be the nearest office to the zip code.
    • Additional offices can be viewed within the Service Provider Profile card.

    Take time now to review these changes. You should also review your profile regularly and especially after Social Security does any updates to make sure your profile is still accurate. There are times when things might have changed due to system updates. I’d suggest you review your profile every 1-2 months.  

    Did you also know that you can add a marketing statement to your profile highlighting your services? You can use Form 1374: Ticket Program Agreement Change Form and add the marketing statement in Section 5: Additional information. Visit yourtickettowork.ssa.gov for this and other forms, located in the Forms section. This form can be used to request any other changes that you need to make based on reviewing your profile.

    On a final note, if you want to pull a list of ENs from the Find Help tool, you can do this by scrolling to the very end of the page where you can select Save/Print. You’ll then select one of the three options and click ok. I prefer to use the third option, save results as a file, which produces an excel spreadsheet that you can then sort. Happy Navigating!


  • November 18, 2019 8:00 AM | Deleted user

    By Sarah Lyngdal, NENA Director

    Ticket to Work Program Manager
    Employment Resources, Inc.

    November is the month most people stop to think about what they’re thankful for. But studies show there are physical health, mental health, and social benefits to practicing gratitude regularly. Focusing on what we’re thankful for changes the way we think, and the benefits extend to all areas of our lives. I’ll briefly touch on a few of them.

    Relationships: Gratitude can improve our personal relationships. Grateful and positive people are magnetic, and other people want to be around them. Gratitude helps us feel more positive emotions; we become more empathetic, optimistic, compassionate and kind.

    Emotions: Gratitude reduces toxic emotions like envy, frustration, regret, and resentment while improving life satisfaction, self-esteem, and happiness. We have better self-control and make better decisions because we’re more patient and thoughtful.

    Physical Health: The practice of writing in a gratitude journal before bed promotes positive thinking which helps us sleep better and longer.

    CareersGratitude can help our careers. It helps us network, increases our productivity and improves our management skills. Expressing gratitude to employees, for example, increases employee motivation; we work harder when we feel appreciated.

    Gratitude is a mindset that can guide our interactions. We celebrate the wins instead of focusing solely on the losses. This is extremely important in the work we do. Our customers may feel embarrassed and disappointed about a job ending and they lose sight of any positives from their overall experience. The positives can be their accomplishments on the job, the recent experience they gained, the relationships they built, or confidence they gained in their ability to work. It doesn’t mean dismissing disappointment and sadness–we acknowledge those feelings, but then we move forward. If we change our mindsets to focus on the positives and gratitude, the conversation changes and that makes a difference in our relationships, happiness, stress levels and resilience.

    Ways to Cultivate Gratitude

    Say “thank you.” Meditate. Pray. Keep a gratitude journal. It doesn’t matter what activity you choose, and it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes consistent and intentional practice to change our frame of mind to one that focuses on gratitude.

    I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes— “Be thankful for what you have and you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never ever have enough”  Oprah Winfrey


  • October 17, 2019 12:30 PM | Deleted user

    By Judy Sanderson, NENA Director
    Director, Vocational Services
    Granite State Independent Living

    In this incredible age of social media, most ENs are using it to promote their organizations as much as possible. It is important, with limited time and money, to get the most out of what you are doing. For that reason, we want to pass along two ways to get more out of your business Facebook page for relatively small costs.

    These two ways are to 1) Actually post ads on Facebook; and 2) Boost a Facebook posting to specific audiences you may not otherwise reach. This article will provide an overview and actual links to where you can get the specific details to implement either or both.

    First, a word about PII and Facebook: Make sure your Facebook is set so that other people cannot post to your page to avoid possible PII violations.

    There are a number of reasons to pay for an ad or boost a post on Facebook. One is that there are 1.49 billion Facebook members (who click on the ads 22 billion times a year). You can target specific areas and people and the cost is reasonable.

    Posting Ads on Facebook:

    You can create a paid ad on Facebook using Facebook’s Ads Manager.

    Once you log in to this page, you’ll see a performance dashboard where all your campaigns will be listed, including the results they’ve driven for your Facebook page. Unless you’ve already created an ad for your Facebook page, this dashboard will be empty.

    To create a new campaign, tab over to the type of ad you want to create and click the green “Create” button to far left of these ad types. Ads Manager will prompt you to choose an objective for your campaign.

    Your next step is to configure your target audience. Facebook’s targeting criteria are accompanied by an audience definition gauge. This tool—located to the right of the audience targeting fields—takes all of your selected properties into consideration in order to come up with a potential reach number.

    Then comes the budget. Facebook allows you to set either a daily budget or a lifetime budget. Here’s how they differ from each other:

    Daily budget. This is set to run continuously throughout the day. Using a daily budget means that Facebook will pace your spending per day. The minimum daily budget for an ad set is $1.00 USD.

    Lifetime budget. If you’re looking to run your ad for a specified length of time, select a lifetime budget. This means Facebook will pace your spending over the time period you set for the ad to run.

    There will also be information on scheduling, optimization, pricing and some delivery options.

    Finally, you will get to create your ad. What it looks like will depend on your original objective. This option is broken down into two formats: Links and Carousels. Essentially, this means that you can either display a single image ad (Links) or a multi-image ad (Carousel) with three to five scrolling images at no additional cost.

    Some Recent Articles to Help You with the Nuts & Bolts of Advertising:

    Advertise on Facebook

    Facebook Paid Ad Checklist

    How to Advertise on Facebook


    Boosting Existing Posts:

    The second way to use Facebook is to boost already existing posts to specific audiences. This only works if you have a business Facebook page. This allows you to choose a specific post that you want to get out to those who may not otherwise be following your page.

    At the bottom right-hand side of the post, you will see a button that says, “boost post.” Click on that and it automatically gives you options of choosing your audience, total budget, duration, and payment method. You can use their recommended audience options or choose your own. Criteria such as zip code, age-range and others can be used. Once you have made your choices, you select “Boost” and your post will show up on the Facebook pages of the audience you selected. People who otherwise don’t follow you could be seeing positive stories about your agency, services, successes and more. The cost will depend on the size of the audience and duration of the ad. It can be less than $10-15.

    Click here for step-by-step directions for boosting.


  • August 29, 2019 8:00 PM | Deleted user

     We are pleased to welcome a guest writer this month—Cherie Takemoto, PhD, from New Editions Consulting, Inc. Cherie is the project director for the National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials, which operates through contract sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), under Contract No. ED-OSE-16-Q-0006.

    Cherie will be a featured guest at the NENA Quarterly Conference call on Wednesday, October 23rd at 3:00 pm EST.

    • Do you need current, reliable and accessible resources on a wide range of topics related to helping ticket holders find jobs?
    • Are you curious about what the technical assistance centers funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administrations are sharing with State VR agencies?
    • Are you looking for free training (some with CEUs or CRCs) on a wide variety of topics?

    The National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials (NCRTM) is the Rehabilitation Services Administration’s (RSA) central repository for training resources in vocational rehabilitation. The site features robust search capabilities, and most importantly, new resources. Site content includes high-quality training materials that cover a range of topics relevant to helping people with disabilities find and maintain jobs.

    The NCRTM produces a monthly electronic newsletter featuring upcoming (free) training events, new submissions, and a variety of rehabilitation-related topics. We also contribute to a regular segment on the VR Workforce Studio Podcast featuring resources related each month’s topic. Below are some examples resources highlighted in the most recent episode about a former Social Security recipient is now successfully employed at Hershey.

    My Money. The Florida Department of Financial Services created the My Money Program to provide educational lessons for individuals with developmental disabilities and important resources for family members and caregivers. Individuals can learn and practice financial skills at their own pace, using interactive games, activities and educational videos. Lessons focus on money basics, banks and credit unions, accounts, budgeting, government benefit programs and ways to find and keep employment. Parents, guardians and support providers of individuals with developmental disabilities can also access important information on teaching financial skills, government programs and information on the different ways to save and invest money.

    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.

    VR Toolkit for SSI Youth: Tips, Checklists, and Tools to Support Successful Work Outcomes for SSI Youth. As you prepare youth to join the workforce of tomorrow, access to reliable and accessible information about benefits and earnings is essential—as is access to qualified benefits and work incentive planners. That’s what the Vocational Rehabilitation Practitioner’s Just-in-Time Toolkit is about. Each of the ten tools are based on information most essential to assist you in supporting youth who receive disability benefits and their families in navigating a path toward successful employment and includes specific knowledge needed to support a youth, and takes about five to ten minutes. If you choose, each tool also contains other links to test your knowledge, print out a one-page sheet of reminders or pursue further resources.

    Financial Empowerment. The National Disability Institute (NDI) provides training and technical assistance to improve the financial wellness of people across the spectrum of disability. Tools and resources include financial education curricula, financial education toolkits, quick reference guides and connections to experts in the field and NDI at this website.

    Money Smart – A Financial Education Program. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) FDIC’s Money Smart financial education program can help people of all ages enhance their financial skills and create positive banking relationships. Learn here about Money Smart tools and strategies that you can use to teach others, as well as tools you can use to learn on your own.

    Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center for Targeted Communities (E3T3 Webinar Series on Social Security Work Incentives. This RSA-funded center offers upcoming and archived webinars that offer CRC credits. (Click on the titles below to follow the links):


  • July 29, 2019 4:00 PM | Deleted user

    by David Leon, NENA Director

    Deputy Direct Workforce Programs,
    Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services

    Working with beneficiaries to transition their way off cash benefits requires a solid understanding of money principles and financial literacy.

    By understanding and coaching financial health and literacy, ENs can add another tool to their toolbox and build a stronger foundation to support beneficiaries.

    Financial stress may contribute to depression, insomnia and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, which in turn contribute to depression, insomnia and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Which in turn contribute to depression, insomnia…

    In 2013, SHRM reported that 47% of job applications included a credit check. The US Financial Diaries reported that more than 65% of families would prefer stability to increased wages. Inconsistent schedules on hourly wages and decreased access to employer-sponsored health insurance make it more difficult to predict both income and expense for poorer households. This leads people to prefer to keep things the same and hold on to the SSA cash benefit because it is predictable. Financial Fragility is the ability to cope with emergency expenses in a short timeframe. Assisting Ticket to Work clients in these areas may increase job stability and earnings over time.

    Our agency is currently sending several staff through an online program in Financial Social Work through the Center for Financial Social Work. Financial Social Work is an interactive and introspective, multidisciplinary approach that helps guide individuals facing financial distress. This holistic process enables participants to examine and improve their relationship with their money. Identifying the origins of a participant’s attitudes toward money encourages developing healthier monetary habits thereby leading to improved financial circumstances. There are five modules and certification upon completion.

    The Center for Financial Social Work also offers monthly webinars on various topics related to Financial Social Work. Whether or not your agency chooses to pursue this type of certification, there are many great and free web-based trainings on this topic. Last month’s webinar from the Financial Social Work program focused on money and mental health. Click here to access the replay. Ultimately, supporting beneficiaries to achieve their goal of financial independence and stability requires more than helping them achieve SGA. They need to be excited and prepared for a future of self-support without Social Security cash benefits.


  • June 13, 2019 9:30 AM | Deleted user

    By Heather Miller, NENA Director

    Ticket to Work Manager, Easterseals Nebraska


    I’ll be honest. I’m a closet introvert. The idea of going to a national conference by myself to meet with a large group of people I’ve never met in a city I’ve never visited is an extremely frightening thing for me. If I’ve spent any amount of time with you in person or on the phone, you probably didn’t notice. I hope you didn’t notice! I’ve spent decades trying to hide it and even longer trying to make myself an extrovert. It’s never going to happen. We are who we are, but I can share how I’ve worked to overcome it and make an offer to any closet introverts out there who may be considering attending NENA’s National Training Conference in September.

    1. If you are feeling uneasy about attending due to your “introverted-ness,” please find me when you arrive or reach out to me before the conference. I’ve been there. I’ve felt what you’re feeling, and it’s not fun. If you don’t want to sit at a table alone for breakfast or lunch, please find me and take a seat!
    2. Networking doesn’t have to be done in person. Start by taking advantage of our NENA committees. Any member can participate in any of the committees. This will be a much smaller group of people you’ll quickly get to know during monthly conference calls.
    3. Participate in our Quarterly Teleconferences and monthly Ticket Talks. Don’t worry, I won’t make you speak if you’re not comfortable speaking. I suspect, though, after a few meetings, you’ll feel comfortable enough to speak up. If not, that’s ok too!
    4. Participate in conference networking events. This year’s conference is packed full of them!

      *Tuesday, September 24th – Be on the lookout for an informal gathering with the NENA Board this evening.
      *Wednesday, September 25th – VIP Reception for session presenters and active committee members. This is a great way to meet other NENA members in a smaller setting. If you’ve been invited, attend! As a bonus, the food and drinks are always phenomenal.
      *Thursday, September 26th – Beauregard–Keyes House and Garden Museum Tour. Look for more information to come regarding this evening social event. Check out the beautiful museum at www.bkhouse.org.

      Also look for information posted during the conference. The planning committee is going to have an area where attendees can list when/where/what they’ll be doing during the down times. Believe me, this group of professionals always has an open-door policy!

    I hope to see as many of you as I can in New Orleans this year! It’s no secret that this is one of my favorite cities to visit. If you’re feeling lost, come find me or any NENA Board Member. With this group, you’ll be “family” before you know it!


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