Individuals with Disabilities and Employment: M&L Can Help!

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Hello everyone, and welcome back to our blog! This week, we are celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness month by devoting our entire post to disability employment.

As you are all aware, M&L Special Needs Planning is heavily involved in housing for individuals with special needs. Last November, we launched our online housing database titled the Independent Living Program and Housing Project. In addition to this, we have spent the last year and a half in partnership with Center for Independent Futures and a group of core families to create special needs housing in Maryland. Finally, we are in the process of creating our own housing non-profit, titled Integrated Living Opportunities. To learn more, contact us.

As the title of our non-profit suggests, we are committed to integrated independent living for individuals with disabilities. We aim to help the individuals who occupy our housing become full, functioning members of the community – for many, that means employment. Having said that, we realize that employment can be challenging for individuals with disabilities. In addition to the roadblocks that exist in regards to finding employment, there is also the concern about how receiving a regular paycheck can affect that individual’s government benefits, or his/her ability to receive state/federal supports. Well, never fear! M&L Special Needs Planning can help you help your family member with a disability with all of his or her employment concerns, starting with resources that can help in the job search – please read on!

The First Step: Finding Employment

Anyone involved in the special needs community is aware of how challenging it can be for individuals with disabilities to find employment. Article after article focuses on how individuals with disabilities are faced with employment barriers, and as a result experience higher rates of poverty. For example, this article published in Autism Daily Newscast states that the poverty rate for Americans with disabilities is double the US average.

Here at M&L, we feel that this is changing – albeit very, very slowly. Thanks to government initiatives, there are now a number of programs aimed at helping individuals with disabilities gain employment. In fact, on September 30th the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy announced more than 8.4 million in funding for organizations that provide assistance to adults with disabilities in the job market. To learn more about these programs, please visit our Employment Page on our website, or check out the following resources:

Disability.gov – Employment
Cornell University Employment and Disability Institute
Department of Labor – Office of Disability Employment
Gettinghired.com
Job Accommodation Network

As well, we have written and published articles on transitioning, vocational rehabilitation, and supported employment – all designed to help you help your family member with a disability during every step of his or her journey towards employment.

Congrats! You found a job! Now what happens with your benefits?

In addition to offering a wide variety of financial and life planning services, M&L founder and owner Maedi Tanham Carney, CFP® is also a Certified Work Incentive Coordinator (CWIC).  Essentially, this means that Maedi has been trained and can work in-depth with individuals who are working (or want to go to work), and have questions regarding their benefits and insurance eligibility.

So, how exactly can we help you? Carney – as a CWIC – has an extensive knowledge of the complexities of Social Securities benefits. In fact, at M&L we help families with the application process for these benefits, and currently have a 100% success rate for 2013/14 (click here to learn more). Carney uses her CWIC training and her knowledge of these benefits to provide work-incentive planning and assistance directly to individuals with disabilities.  She can perform outreach efforts to individuals with disabilities (and their families) who are potentially eligible to participate in Federal or State work incentives programs. CWICs also provide general information on the adequacy of health benefits coverage that may be offered by an employer of an individual with a disability, the extent to which other health benefits coverage may be available to that beneficiary in coordination with Medicare and/or Medicaid, and the availability of protection and advocacy services for beneficiaries with disabilities. She can also advise you as to how to access such services.

The most important thing that Maedi wants you to know is this: individuals with disabilities can make more money by working than by not working and staying on benefits. Contact us today for more information.

Have Questions? Need Help? Let us know!

As always, the staff of M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC are available to answer or help you find the answer to any questions you may have regarding employment and individuals with disabilities. In addition to her education and work experience, Carney is also the parent of a child with special needs, and has experience with the roadblocks facing individuals with special needs on a personal level as well as a professional one. Here at M&L, we feel that that gives us an insight into how to best help you and your family member with disabilities achieve your goals, employment and otherwise. Don’t hesitate to contact us via phone, email or social media – we love to hear from you and are more than happy to help! As well, you can have a look at the different services we offer, and our workshop series – our next workshop takes place on October 22nd, titled Navigating the Financial World. Click here to learn more, or to register.

Well, that’s it for us this week! Please stop by next Thursday for our discussion of the National Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) conference, which took place from September 13-18.

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