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Employment First eList: December 2021

We heard you!
Many of you told us you're uncomfortable talking about benefits — especially how benefits might be impacted when a person goes to work. Good news! The Hub's benefits planning toolkit gives you the information, resources and tools you need to support benefits planning.

Benefits planning helps people see how work is possible and how to work to their full potential, save money and get ahead financially. With the benefits planning toolkit, you can:

  • Learn about benefits, including how to talk about the ways benefits support work
  • See how to use benefits planning tools like Disability Benefits 101 and My Vault
  • Join the benefits planning learning community to stay up to date on what's happening with work and benefits

You can also dig into three levels of benefits planning training:

  • Level 1: The basics helps all professionals and agencies understand how to help people with disabilities plan for benefits. Professionals who support people with disabilities should start here.
  • Level 2: Go deeper is for professionals who support people in making informed choices about work and need to provide encouraging, accurate information about how benefits and work can go together. Current learning modules include Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and an orientation to Disability Benefits 101. Additional learning modules will be added soon for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicare, Medical Assistance, each of the Minnesota cash assistance programs, and My Vault.
  • Level 3: Benefits coach certification offers deeper training for professionals who spend 10 or more hours a week providing information about benefits and work.

Dive in to check your knowledge
Many of us learn by doing. Take a few minutes to complete this challenge!

  1. Complete the self-assessment in the get ready section to learn more about your own thoughts and views on benefits and work
  2. Complete the Level 1: The basics eLearning (about 30 minutes) to learn what you might not know about benefits and work
  3. Complete the Level 2: Orientation to DB101 eLearning (about 30 minutes) to learn more about Disability Benefits 101 and how it can help you and the people you support

Suggestions from regional collaboration events
During recent regional collaboration events, waiver case managers, VR/SSB counselors, employment service providers, and supervisors noted some ways of collaborating that are working well in their local areas. Here are a few that might be helpful for everyone:

  • "We identified a liaison at each office or agency to be the point person for E1MN."
  • "We meet bi-monthly as a group virtually to discuss any potential referrals."
  • "We've been experimenting with having weekly virtual 'office hours' where our staff can pop in to meet with our most experienced E1MN person if they have a question. It's working well so far!"
  • "Use My Vault to help coordinate needed paperwork to speed the process."
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