What are Work Incentives?

Special rules make it possible for people with disabilities receiving Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to work and still receive monthly payments and Medicare or Medicaid. Social Security calls these rules “work incentives.” In addition to the Social Security programs there are also work incentives or special rules for other entitlement programs; such as Housing Programs, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Telephonic Assistance, Student Loan Discharge Programs, etc. Please see the following examples of rules that can apply under each program.

Work Incentives Planning (aka benefits counseling) is a critical element of IPS Supported Employment service delivery and is one of the eight principles of IPS. It is recommended that people receive benefits counseling from a certified work incentives counselor prior to starting work, and again after beginning a job, in order to understand how work will impact their benefits and assist with decisions around increasing hours or pursuing promotional/career advancement opportunities. The intention of work incentives planning is to assist people in achieving financial goals and independence.

Everyone receiving IPS services should be offered assistance with work incentives planning for good fidelity to this item. However, not everyone receives disability or needs-based benefits. IPS specialists routinely meet with mental health practitioners and their clients who have not applied for disability benefits. The purpose of the meeting is to help people consider employment rather than benefits. Depending on their level of training, IPS Employment Specialists may also assist people themselves by providing basic benefits planning assistance, and assistance with accessing work incentives, while a person waits to receive services from a certified work incentives counselor. We hope that the following information will be helpful to IPS programs in assisting people with identifying resources available to help people achieve their financial goals.

Refer to a Certified Benefits Counselor

Additional resources:

Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE)
HUD Work Incentives (Earned Income Disregard and Family Self-Sufficiency)
Individual Development Accounts (IDAs)
Plan for Achieving Self Support (PASS)
SSDI & SSI Work Incentives
Supplemental Nutrition Program (SNAP)


Technical Assistance Webinars & Conference Call Recordings

July 2021

TOPIC: HUD’s Family Self-Sufficiency Program
Paula Garcia, Colleen Spencer, Fawn Reed of Salem Housing Authority
Resources: PresentationProgram BrochureProgram Fact Sheet- EngProgram Fact Sheet- Span, Housing Authorities in Oregon with Family Self Sufficiency Programs


May 2021

TOPIC:  Work Opportunity Tax Credit
Loren Petersen and Alan Beeler, OED 
WOTC Program Brochure
WOTC Presentation
Advice For Employers
WOTC Tax Credit Calculation Chart
Form 8850


March 2021

TOPIC: Individual Development Accounts and Oregon ABLE Program
Sarah Brooks, DevNW and Kaelynn Hessel, Oregon ABLE 
Materials: Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), ABLEOSECE2021

October 2020

TOPIC:  Ticket To Work
:  Eugenia Cox, Vocational Rehabilitation
Materials: OSECE TTW Presentation 2020, TTWbrochure2020


Ticket to Work

by Eugenia Cox, Vocational Rehabilitation | PPT Only

May 2020

TOPIC:  Reasonable Accommodations and Taking Leave during COVID-19
:  Matthew Serres, Disability Rights Oregon
Materials: 05.12.20.Disability Rights Oregon Presentation on RAs and Leave During COVID-19 (Uodated)


COVID, Reasonable Accommodations, & Taking Leave

by Matthew Serres, DRO | PPT Only

April 2020

TOPIC:  CARES Act and Benefits Planning
:  Josh Goller and Katie Thompson, Work Incentives Network
Materials: PPT: CARES Act and SSA benefits


March 2020

TOPIC:  Unemployment, COVID-19 Stimulus Checks, and other Benefits
:  Josh Goller and Katie Thompson, Work Incentives Network


Unemployment, COVID-19 Stimulus, and Benefits Planning

by Josh Goller & Katie Thompson from WIN

February 2020

TOPIC:  Employed Persons with Disabilities Program
:  Janell White, Aging & People with Disabilities
Materials: EPD PPT


January 2020

TOPIC:  ABLE Accounts in Oregon
:  Kaellen Hessel, Oregon Savings Network


June 2019

TOPIC:  General Assistance Program
:  Marcy Mee, Collaborative Disability Determination Unit, DHS
Materials: GA Flyer- One page Community Partner Referral, ROI-me3010

January 2019

TOPIC: Criminal Justice Involvement and the Federal Bonding Program
:  Tammy Guest, OSECE
Materials: The Federal Bonding Program, federal-bonding-summary

Justice System Involvement & Federal Bonding Program

by Tammy Guest, OSECE

August 2018

TOPIC:  HUD’s Family Self Sufficiency Program
: Tammy Guest from OSECE with Angela Parada, Colleen Spencer, and Kellie Battaglia from the City of Salem Housing Authority
FSS Brochure App Combo 2018 English
FSS Brochure App Combo 2018 Spanish
FSS Brochure App Combo 2018 Russian
NEW FSS Handbook & Fair Housing Add 6-2018 


Hud's Family Self Sufficiency Program

by Tammy Guest