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Employment Resources: Individuals and Families

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Employment: A Families Perspective

The most successful community employment experiences for people with disabilities happen when their family members and loved ones are on board. Watch the Employment: A Families Perspective video to see and hear stories of people with disabilities and their families experiences with community-based employment. 


Watch Employment: A Families Perspective Video.

Transition and Employment


What is Transition and Employment?

Transition and Employment is the idea that youth with disabilities should consider looking for paid work experience while they are still in school. Youth with paid work experience are more likely to hold long-term jobs after exiting school. Youth gain valuable job skills and express greater job satisfaction by considering paid work experience before they transition to adult life.

 Resources are available below to help students and their families begin planning early, including information about the discovery process, student-led IEPs, and how to be involved in activities that build self-advocacy and self-determination skills.

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PACER's National Parent Center on Transition and Employment

The PACER Center's National Parent Center on Transition and Employment provides high-quality assistance and evidence-based practices that support parents, youth, and professionals that contribute to successful employment for youth with disabilities. PACER's Parent Center provides comprehensive strategies and resources related to school-to-work transition that produces optimal employment and career achievement for youth with disabilities. 

Learn more about PACER's Parent Center on Transition and Employment

Charting the LifeCourse and Employment

Charting the LifeCourse is a framework created to help individuals and families of all ages and all abilities develop a vision for a good life under the belief that all people have the right to live, love, work, play, and pursue their own goals. Individuals and families can use their vision for a good, quality life with the LifeCourse framework to help plan for the present and the future.

The LifeCourse framework also includes resources specifically related to the transition from school to work. Charting the LifeCourse: Daily Life & Employment is a guide to help transition-age youth and their families figure out what daily life could look like after high school. The guide includes activities and resources to assist youth to consider jobs, careers, or continuing education as an adult. 

Learn more about the Charting the LifeCourse: Daily Life & Employment guide.

Benefits Planning

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What is Benefits Planning?

People with disabilities often share concerns that their work income may affect the healthcare and other disability benefits they receive. There are many myths about how working affects disability benefits and health coverage, or how hard it can be to get your benefits back if you stop working or need to work fewer hours.

For people with disabilities, work is more possible now than ever before. People with disabilities can be successful at meaningful jobs with the right kind of training, preparation, and workplace accommodations. Below are resources available to help people with disabilities understand how employment may affect their benefits. 

Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) Program

The Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) program is a step-by-step process to assist people with disabilities that receive benefits from Social Security to understand how employment may affect other benefits they may receive. Other benefits may include Medicare, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and others. WIPA also helps beneficiaries to understand how they can increase their financial independence.

The Benefits to Employment presentation by a Michigan-based Work Incentives Planner (WIPA), Cathy McRae from The Arc Michigan, also provides some basic information on benefits planning.

Learn more about the WIPA Program.

Disability Benefits 101

Disability Benefits 101 is a disability benefits planning site dedicated to helping people with disabilities and service providers understand the connections between work and benefits. It provides a benefits calculator, available 24/7/365, along with toolkits to better understand benefits programs and rules around work. You can also watch short 3–5-minute videos to learn more about benefits such as SSI, SSDI, ABLE Act, and more.

Learn more about Disability Benefits 101.