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Benefits Planning Toolkit:


Level 3 training: Benefits coach

For supervisors

Benefits coach certification is awarded by Disability Hub MN to professionals who support people with disabilities in understanding the effect of earnings on benefits.

Certification helps professionals develop the knowledge and skills needed to provide benefits coaching. The certification does not include supervision and ongoing monitoring of benefits coaching. The supervisors of the professionals are responsible for monitoring the benefits coaching to ensure that the service is delivered in a manner consistent with the benefits coach performance standards.

Acceptance into the training requires completion of level 1 and level 2 benefits training courses and a supervisor's recommendation.

Download the supervisor's recommendation form (PDF)

What is expected of a benefits coach?

  • Benefits coaches must spend at least 10 hours each week providing information about benefits and work. Ideally, professionals delivering benefits coaching would do so in a full-time capacity.
  • Benefits coaching must be provided using a person-centered approach that supports informed choice.
  • Certification candidates must successfully complete benefits coach training, plus the subsequent exams.

Benefits coach certification requirements

Step 1: Benefits coach initial self-paced training
The self-paced training is 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 is delivered as a series of Zoom webinars held over a period of three days. The webinars 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 don't involve interacting with a customer, such as:

  • Determining the appropriate level of service
  • Scrutinizing benefit verifications
  • 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 complete steps one through three, you'll 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 can't complete the required training by the deadline, you may request an extension. The request must be made prior to the deadline and requires approval by your supervisor and the Hub. If the extension isn't 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 don't achieve 80% or higher within two attempts, a remediation plan must be created and approved by your supervisor and the Hub.
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