Benefits Analysis (Financial Planning)
As personal income for people with developmental disabilities has increased, the complexity of managing finances and benefits has also increased. Benefits Analysis is a review and plan for the use and coordination of an individualís benefits by a trained professional who is experienced in Social Security and SSI regulations as well as other benefits that may be available to assist people with disabilities.
Supported employment is paid, competitive employment for people who have severe disabilities and a demonstrated inability to gain and maintain traditional employment. Supported employment occurs in a variety of normal, integrated business environments. (AAMR-2001). Further, supported employment includes pay at minimum wage or better, support provided to obtain and maintain jobs, and promotion of career development and workplace diversity. Support is provided to consumers, employers, and/or coworkers through activities such as on-the-job training, support to maintain the job, and long term assistance. Supported Employment is conducted in a variety of settings and work sites in which persons without disabilities are employed, as well as self-employment.
Supported Employment is different from traditional rehabilitation services. Traditional services focus on short-term assistance and training in order to produce long-term employment. For many people with disabilities, initial training and assistance of short duration will result in meaningful and lasting competitive employment. For other people who have more severe disabilities, short-term support will be insufficient for obtaining and maintaining employment. It is for these individuals that Supported Employment is designed.
There are two approaches to Supported Employment depending primarily on the support needs of the individual.
Individual Supported Employment
Individual Employment establishes employment opportunities for individuals with severe disabilities in local business or industry on a one-person/one job basis on jobs at or above minimum wage. A support organization develops the job based on an individual’s interests, assists with training the individual and then provides ongoing support and retraining to the individual, the employer, and/or co-workers. Self-employment has emerged as an option for some individuals. The support organization assists the individual with the mutually agreed upon details of the individual’s business.
Individual employment continues to be the preferred employment option for the county and the state. It is the most requested service and the priority for county funding. Wages tend to be higher and opportunities for inclusion greatest in this type of employment service.
As individuals who are employed proceed on their employment path, career development & asset building become the focus of services and supports.
Group Supported Employment
Group Supported Employment is an approach in which a group of individuals perform work tasks within a host company in the community or as part of a crew that travels site to site. An agency provides supports to the individuals and works with the company. A trained supervisor is always at the work site. Payment for work performed may be above or below minimum wage but is always commensurate with pay to others within the host company or the general local job market. Workers with disabilities receive the same benefits with respect to working hours, lunch and break time. This approach maintains some of the benefits of integrated employment while providing continuous support and training. It can be considered to be a part of an individual’s path to employment.