New Web Site Supports Employment for People With Disabilities
By Matthew Gianino, Institute on Disability / UCED
March 2, 2011
The Work Incentives Resources Center (WIRC), a new Web site developed by the Institute on Disability (IOD) in collaboration with Granite State Independent Living, is helping people with disabilities navigate the benefits planning process with the goal of making gainful employment a reality.
The Web site – www.nhwirc.org – aims to provide information to New Hampshire residents with disabilities that will encourage the pursuit of employment and assist in understanding how working and earning income impacts federal, state and local benefits. One way the site accomplishes this is through dispelling myths about losing public income assistance and benefits through the Social Security Administration and Medicare/Medicaid, which often deter individuals with disabilities from pursuing employment.
"People with disabilities can contribute in important and valuable ways to our communities and our economy," says David Hagner, WIRC project director. "Nobody should be put in a position of remaining idle or unproductive in order to obtain the assistance they depend on."
The Web site is designed for New Hampshire consumers, families, and service provider staff. Available resources include topical fact sheets, calculation tools, links, notices of upcoming trainings, and a password-protected section where full-time work incentives specialists share more in-depth information and resources. Information at WIRC is approved by Social Security or other applicable agencies for accuracy.
As a collaborating partner, Granite State Independent Living provides toll-free telephone assistance, work incentives specialist training and a database of trained staff, and staff certified by the Social Security Administration to provide work incentives planning and assistance to ensure the accuracy and quality of information provided.
The development of WIRC was funded by the New Hampshire Medicaid Infrastructure Grant.
The Institute on Disability at UNH was established in 1987 to provide a coherent university-based focus for the improvement of knowledge, policies, and practices related to the lives of persons with disabilities and their families. Its mission is to strengthen communities to ensure full access, equal opportunities, and participation for all persons.