Published Articles

Citations & abstracts will be posted as they become available.

 

Hartman, E.C., Anderson, C.A., Chan, J.Y., Fried, J.H., & Lui, J.W. (2015). An exploration of work incentive benefits specialists' experiences. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, 46(3), 25-34.

 

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions and experiences of work incentive benefits specialists (WIBS) and to identify the resources necessary to sustain essential work incentive benefits counseling services provided by these individuals. Participants included both Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) and non-WIPA funded benefits specialists. WIBS were asked to complete the Work Incentives Benefits’ Experience Survey (WISES), which was provided as an online instrument using electronic survey software. Sixty-five (65) individuals completed the survey. Results in identifying “primary roles,” “service delivery,” “education and background,” “consumer characteristics,” and “outreach and sustainability” verify that this is an emerging profession, expanding into a variety of practice settings to assist beneficiaries in financial planning while acquiring or maintaining employment. Other important considerations are the movement toward specific certificate or completion of training and a focus on quality assurance.

 

 

Gruman, C., Schimmel, J., Shugrue, N.A., Porter, A., Koppelman, J., & Robison, J.T. (2014). The impact of benefits counseling and vocational rehabilitation on employment and earnings. Journal of Rehabilitation, 80(3), 21-29.

 

Abstract: One state's benefits counseling 9BC) and vocational rehabilitation (VR) recipients (N=5,675) were studied to determine employment and earnings outcomes after receipt of service. Individuals were categorized as receiving BC only (21%), VR only (58%), or both (21%). This study shows the most positive outcomes from individuals who received both BC and VR. Thirty-six percent of those who received both services went from zero earnings to earnings after the intervention. In contrast, individuals who received only BC or VR showed a consistent decline in average earnings over eight quarters. Five disability categories were also examined and three of the groups receiving BC/VR demonstrated earning increases over the study period. Outcomes from this report demonstrate mixed results from two common services designed to improve employment outcomes; while both interventions help some people with disabilities become employed or increase their earnings; the combination of VR and BC appears to produce better long-term outcomes.

 

 

Olney, M.F., Emery-Flores, D., Compton, C., Zuniga, R., Tucker, M. (2014). It takes a village: Influences on former SSI/DI beneficiaries who transition to employment. Journal of Rehabilitation, 80(4), 28-41.

 

Abstract: Less than 1% of Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSI/DI) beneficiaries transition from benefits to employment each year. Interviews and focus groups were conducted with 22 individuals who successfully made this transition. Transcripts were analyzed using the constant comparative method. The resulting analysis provides deep insights into the factors that may facilitate self-sustaining employment for former beneficiaries including strong role modeling, parental encouragement and pressure, mentors, and support from vocational rehabilitation counselors. As a result of this analysis, self-efficacy is re-conceptualized as resulting from these facilitating factors rather than an explanation of employment success.

 

 

Weathers, R.R., & Bailey, M.S. (2014). The impact of rehabilitation and counseling services on the labor market activity of social security disability insurance beneficiaries.
Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 0(0), 1-26.

 

Abstract: We use data from a social experiment to estimate the impact of a rehabilitation and
counseling program on the labor market activity of newly entitled Social Security
Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries. Our results indicate that the program led to
a 4.6 percentage point increase in the receipt of employment serviceswithinthe first year
following random assignment and a 5.1 percentage point increase in participation in
the Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work program within the first three years
following random assignment. The program led to a 5.3 percentage point increase, or
almost 50 percent increase, in employment, and an $831 increase in annual earnings in
the second calendar year after the calendar year of random assignment. The employment
and earnings impacts are smaller and not statistically significant in the third calendar
year following random assignment, and we describe SSDI rules that are consistent with
this finding. Our findings indicate that disability reform proposals focusing on restoring
the work capacity of people with disabilities can increase the disability employment
rate. C! 2014 by the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.

 

 

Delin, B.S., Hartman, E.C., Sell, C.W., (2012). The impact of work incentive benefits counseling on employment outcomes: Evidence from two return-to-work demonstration. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 36, 97-107.

 

Abstract: Abstract. This study examined the influence that different amounts of work incentive benefits counseling had on consumers’ employment outcomes. It also examined the influence of prior employment on service provision. Data were combined from two return-to-work projects in Wisconsin. Participants were volunteers receiving Social Security disability benefits and typically had stronger post-disability employment histories than the general SSDI and SSI populations. The amount of benefits counseling provided had positive and statistically significant impacts on all three outcomes, with estimated gains of $34 in earnings and $37 in income in each calendar quarter over a two year period. The gain in the quarterly employment rate was 1.1%. Having strong employment outcomes in the period between establishing eligibility for a Social Security disability program and entering one of the return-to-work projects proved a strong predictor of how much service an individual participant received.

 

 

Weathers, R.R. & Hemmeter (2011). The impact of changing financial work incentives on the earnings of social security disability insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries.  Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 30(4), 708-728.

 

Abstract: This study examined the influence that different amounts of work incentive benefits counseling had on consumers’ employment outcomes. It also examined the influence of prior employment on service provision. Data were combined from two return-to-work projects in Wisconsin. Participants were volunteers receiving Social Security disability benefits and typically had stronger post-disability employment histories than the general SSDI and SSI populations. The amount of benefits counseling provided had positive and statistically significant impacts on all three outcomes, with estimated gains of $34 in earnings and $37 in income in each calendar quarter over a two year period. The gain in the quarterly employment rate was 1.1%. Having strong employment outcomes in the period between establishing eligibility for a Social Security disability program and entering one of the return-to-work projects proved a strong predictor of how much service an individual participant received.

 

 

Lui, J.W., Chan, F., Fried, J.H., Lin, C.P., Anderson, C.A., & Peterson, M. (2010). Roles and functions of benefits counseling specialists: A multitrait analysis. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 32, 1-11.

 

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to examine the roles and functions of benefits counseling specialists. One-hundred and forty-eight benefits counseling specialists rated the Benefits Specialists Practice Inventory – Revised using a 5-point importance rating scale. Data were analyzed using multi-trait analysis. The multi-trait analysis tentatively supported the three-factor structure of the Benefits Specialists Practice Inventory – Revised, indicating that benefits screening (M = 4.43, SD = 0.47), benefits advisement (M = 4.49, SD = 0.56), and benefits management (M = 4.07, SD = 0.88) are most central to the job performance of benefits counseling specialists. In addition, benefits counseling specialists in the current study rated themselves as relatively well prepared to perform these benefits counseling job functions, with benefits advisement rated the highest (M = 4.23, SD = 0.76), followed by benefits screening (M = 4.15, SD = 0.70), and then by benefits management (M = 3.75, SD = 0.96). However, multi-trait analysis also suggested that there might be more than three essential job functions for benefits counseling specialists and more comprehensive research in the future is warranted.

 


Tremblay, T., Xie, H., Smith, J., & Drake, R. (2004). The impact of specialized benefits counseling services on social security administration disability beneficiaries in Vermont. The Journal of Rehabilitation, 70(2), 5-11.

 

Abstract:  This study is a preliminary examination of the impact of specialized benefits counseling on Social Security Administration disability beneficiaries in Vermont. Beneficiaries (N=672) who received specialized benefits counseling were compared with matched contemporaneous and historical controls over four years, two years before and two years after the initiation of the intervention. Although all three groups showed improved earnings over time, the participants who received specialized benefits counseling achieved significantly greater improvements in earnings than the two comparison groups; the difference in adjusted average earnings increased more than $225 per quarter in the first comparison, and more than $190 per quarter in the second. Specialized benefits counseling appears to be an important intervention for Social Security Administration disability beneficiaries served by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Papers & Policy Briefs

Building Sustainable Work Incentives Planning and Outreach Infrastructure (courtesy of the National Consortium for Health Systems Development)

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WIPI Brief Final Feb09.pdf
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