Community Work Incentive Coordinators Training Next Certification Course

New Training Alert!

VCU, the national training and technical assistance provider, under contract by the Social Security Administration, who is responsible for training and certifying Community Work Incentive Coordinators (CWICs) as part of the Work Incentive Planning and Assistance (WIPA) project, is now taking registrations for their next certification course. This certification course is FREE and while normally offered in person (travel expenses of course on the participant) is now being offered online.

WIPA providers get priority BUT VR AGENCY STAFF are priority #2. If you are looking to build the capacity of your state’s ability to provide comprehensive benefits counseling/work incentives counseling services this is a great opportunity to do so! Remember benefits counseling is a critical service for all consumers who receive social security benefits. The ability to support those consumers in long term employment necessitates ongoing support around the impact of work on benefits and the appropriate processes for reporting.

Details about this opportunity are below and if you have questions, please connect with the contacts noted below.

Registration Information

Registration is now open for the Community Work Incentives Coordinator (CWIC) and Community Partner Initial Training and certification class below, and will remain open until January 4, 2021. Once registration closes, we will review the applicant information with Social Security.  We will send email notifications of acceptance for participation approximately one week thereafter.

Important:  The NTDC will deliver the Initial Training through a series of 20 webinars over 10 business days using the Zoom platform.  Two NTDC instructors will facilitate each interactive webinar and participants will engage in numerous activities and discussions throughout the series. Participants will complete reading assignments before the scheduled webinars.

CWIC and Community Partner Initial Training Class – Distance

Dates:  February 8 - 22, 2021
Webinar Times:  Monday through Friday, 11:00am – 1:00pm and 2:30 – 4:30pm ET

Social Security designed the CWIC and Community Partner Initial Training and certification process for professionals who will regularly deliver individualized work incentives counseling services to Social Security disability beneficiaries. The issues beneficiaries face when returning to work are complex. The Initial Training consists of an intensive training program that supports WIPA staff and community partners in developing the basic knowledge and skills necessary to provide individualized work incentives counseling at a novice level.

Work incentives counselors advise Social Security disability beneficiaries about the effect of work or self-employment on their public benefits, including Social Security disability benefits, Medicaid, Medicare, and other public benefits. Specifically, work incentives counseling includes:

  • Determining eligibility for work incentives counseling services;
  • Explaining and referring beneficiaries to programs that support work;
  • Gathering information about the beneficiary and verifying their public benefits;
  • Providing in-depth, individualized, information about their situation. This includes providing a written Benefits Summary & Analysis (BS&A) report; and
  • Providing ongoing work-related benefits support.

You can read more information about the CWIC and Community Partner Initial Training on the VCU NTDC website.

This training and certification program is a required component of the Social Security Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) program. We give training priority to WIPA program staff and subcontractors, including WIPA Program Directors and those who are already certified. Once we accommodate WIPA program staff, Social Security may also approve select staff of community partner organizations to attend based on the specific requirements and priorities outlined below.

Community Partner Registration Requirements

A community partner must meet all of the following requirements to be considered for the Initial Training and certification process:

  1. The registrant must be an employee of an agency or organization.  This includes, but is not limited to Employment Network staff, State Vocational Rehabilitation agency staff, Veterans service agency staff, public school youth transition specialists, and Centers for Independent Living staff.
  1. Prior to registering for the initial training, community partners must complete the Introductory Web Course: Introduction to Social Security Disability Benefits, Work Incentives, and Employment Support Programs Web Course.
  1. Potential participants must anticipate delivering individualized work incentives counseling services to Social Security Disability beneficiaries at least 16 hours per week.
  1. Participants also commit to attending all of the Initial Training webinars.  As noted above, the NTDC will deliver the Initial Training through a series of 20 webinars over 10 business days.  In addition to attending the webinars, participants must complete a series of tests and writing assignments before receiving provisional certification.
  1. Commit to completing the two-part certification process.  Part I of the certification process takes place over the eight-week period immediately following the end of the initial training webinars and involves completing a series of 11 online competency-based assessments.  Successful completion of the assessments results in provisional certification and authorization to continue to Part II of the certification process.  The Part I assessment process takes, on average, 25-45 hours over the eight-week period. You may access the 2020 Part I Assessment and Certification Instructions on the NTDC website.

Part II of the certification process takes the assessment process to the next level by evaluating participants’ ability to apply the concepts in developing BS&A reports for actual Social Security beneficiaries they are serving.  Part II of the process requires submission and successful review of three BS&A reports during the 10-month period immediately following the successful completion of Part I. You may access the 2020 Part II Assessment and Certification Instructions on the NTDC website.

Registration Information

Important: If you are a WIPA Program Director, you may attend without completing the certification process.  Also, if you are a WIPA Program Director and would like to register for the training as a placeholder for staff to be hired, please contact Julie Schall at jaschall@vcu.edu or 804-827-0741.

In order to request registration for a CWIC and Community Partner Initial Training session, you must have a myNTC user account.  If you do not yet have a myNTC account, please create one on the NTDC website. You may also request your myNTC login information from the NTDC website.

Once you receive your myNTC login information via the email address you provided, log into your myNTC account, go to the Training Registrations section on the myNTC Welcome page, select the Initial Trainings tab, and then select the Register Online link for the training session you prefer. Follow the instructions to complete your registration request.

Once registration closes, Social Security will approve and confirm registrants to participate according to the following priority list:

  1. WIPA project staff, including WIPA Program Directors, who require initial training and certification in order to provide services to Social Security beneficiaries.
  2. WIPA Program Directors who will not provide direct services to beneficiaries, but who will provide direct supervision to WIPA staff.
  3. Certified CWICs and WIPA Program Directors who would like to participate in the training as a refresher.
  4. All other staff and contractors of a WIPA project, regardless of funding, who plan to provide individualized work incentive counseling services at least 16 hours per week.
  5. Community partner staff who will provide individualized work incentives counseling to Social Security beneficiaries at least 16 hours per week, according to the following priority list:
    • Priority 1: Employment Network staff (DUNS number required)
    • Priority 2: State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) staff
    • Priority 3: Social Security Demonstration Project staff (advance permission from Social Security Contracting Officer’s Representatives (CORs) required)
    • Priority 4: Veteran services agency staff, youth transition specialists in public schools, and Center for Independent Living staff
    • Priority 5:  Other community partners who are staff of an American Job Center, Medicaid and local Department of Social Services agency, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities services agency, state and local benefits counseling & work incentive assistance provider, local mental health agency, or community-based employment and employment support service providers
    • Priority 6: Certified community partner staff who would like to participate in the training as a refresher

Important: There is no registration fee for those approved to attend Initial Training, however, you must have the technology needed to participate in webinars on the Zoom platform.

If you have any questions, please contact Julie Schall at jaschall@vcu.edu or 804-827-0741.

We look forward to your participation in the CWIC and Community Partner Initial Training!

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