Skip to content

Benefits Planning Toolkit:


Level 3 training: Benefits coach

Benefits coach certification

Using a person-centered approach, benefits coaches help people make informed decisions by helping plan for benefits and work.

Disability Hub MN offers benefits coach certification to ensure professionals can effectively provide benefits coaching services. See learning objectives for this level 3 training.

To participate in Benefits Coach training, you must first complete level 1 and level 2 trainings. In addition to completing the trainings, you must meet certain eligibility criteria, submit an application and be accepted into the certification process. Once accepted, the benefits coach training takes up to 40 hours to complete, over approximately 8 weeks.

Once accepted, you will complete:

  • Online self-paced trainings (16 modules plus competency tests and activities)
  • Instructor-led webinar-based trainings
  • Practical exams
  • A practical evaluation

For details, see the eligibility and certification requirements below.

A man is sitting and smiling.

Benefits coaches are professionals who support people with disabilities and spend 10 or more hours a week providing information about benefits and work.

Eligibility criteria

  • Spend 10 or more hours per week providing information about benefits and work
  • Have your supervisor's support to become certified

    Download and complete the supervisor's recommendation form (PDF).

  • Complete benefits planning level 1 and level 2 trainings

    See self-paced level 1 and level 2 trainings.

  • Be a member of the Hub's benefits planning learning community

    If you aren't already a member, join the learning community now. It's free and open to all.

Benefits coach certification requirements

Step 1: Benefits coach initial self-paced training
The self-paced training will be virtual, hosted on a learning management system. The lessons provide detailed information on benefit program rules, an overview of the benefits coaching service and the DB101 website, and procedures for verifying benefits. The lessons must be completed in a period of three weeks, with quiz scores for each lesson of 80% or higher within two attempts. When you have successfully completed step one, you may move on to step two.

Step 2: Benefits coach initial instructor-led training
The instructor-led training will be delivered as a series of Zoom webinars held over a period of three days. The webinars will focus on the skills needed to deliver benefits coaching, like doing a benefits checkup, completing a benefits and work estimator session, writing a benefits report, explaining results and helping a person make financial decisions about work. You will have several required activities that will be graded by the instructor. When you have successfully completed step two, you may move on to step three.

Step 3: Practical exams
You will be required to demonstrate the benefits coaching skills that do not involve interacting with a customer, like:
– determining the appropriate level of service,
– scrutinizing benefit verifications, and
– completing estimator sessions and interpreting the results.

The exams will be posted on the learning management system and you will submit your responses on the learning management system. Some of the exams will be auto-graded and others will be manually graded by the instructor. When you have successfully completed step three, you may move on to step four.

Step 4: Practical evaluation (recommended but not required)
When the practical exam is complete, you are encouraged to demonstrate your benefits coaching skills with your supervisor. Typically, your supervisor attends a benefits coaching meeting with a customer to observe as you present the information gathered and explain how work will impact benefits.

Successful completion:
When you successfully complete steps one through three you will receive documentation of certification. The certification is valid for one year. To maintain certification in subsequent years, you must complete the required maintenance and recertification activities.

Failure to complete one or more certification requirements:

  • Training: If you cannot complete the required training by the deadline may request an extension. The request must be made prior to the deadline and requires approval by the supervisor and the Hub. If the extension is not approved, the training will need to be retaken from the beginning.
  • Self-paced quizzes: You will be given two attempts to achieve a score of 80% or higher on each self-paced quiz. If you do not achieve 80% or higher within 2 attempts, a remediation plan must be created and approved by your supervisor and the Hub.

Apply to become a benefits coach

If you meet the eligibility requirements listed above and would like to become a certified benefits coach, click the link below to begin the application process. Be prepared to attach your supervisor recommendation form.

Begin the application
Next: For supervisors »