Tag Archives: Benefits

Meeting Minutes: November 2009: Social Security Benefits Navigator

OI Consortium

November 3, 2009 –Gwinnett County Instructional Center

Co-Chairs:  Mary Wright and Eva Parks

  1. Sign in and introductions were made.
  2. Welcome to Sally Atwell form Benefits Navigator
  3. Topics for upcoming meetings were recommended, as well
    as dates
  4. Topics for discussion:

*Transition
– possibly Nancy O’Hara or Elise Lynch from the DOE

Disability
Link, an Independent Living Center
in Decatur was
suggested

Hilary
Elliott – 404-687-8896 at 755
Commerce Drive will be contacted

*FREE
Expo this weekend:  Abilities Expo at
Cobb Galleria

Originally started for people
with orthopedic impairments; vendors, AT Pavilions,
etc.

*504 vs. Special Education Eligibility

*Eligibility:  particularly for consultative services

*Assessments for OI students:  especially nonverbal students
with little to no hand movement capabilities

*Assistive Technology for
students with orthopedic impairments –
Gwinnett and DeKalb’s AT teams together

                     DATES:
Jan. 26th, March 30th, May 11th

Shepherd’s Center – See handouts – feel free to pass this information on to families.

Benefits Navigator works from a grant from Social
Security.  It is a nationally funded
program so they can get families in touch with other states when needed.  Benefits Navigator works closely with the
schools and can give parents starting information and tips about applying.  They are community-based and free, and can
come to the school and to a meeting if needed to discuss benefits.  Benefits Navigator goes to lots of transition
events and are always available as a resource.
They network with lots of other resources as well.

They cannot sit down and work with parents to help them apply
for social security, but they can give tips.
Calling the toll free number is the best way to get the ball rolling.

When applying for SSI, the tip sheet (from handout) points
out that the parents want to focus on what the student.

In the handout is a guide to social security and SSI work
incentive.   SSI is a needs based
program, and typically most OI students will be able to get SSI.  Contact information was given out, and Work
Incentives Planning Assistance (WIPA) was described.  Included in the powerpoint and handout is a
map of Georgia
counties in the WIPA service area.  There
is a website telling the project that serves each state.

Ticket to Work Program was discussed.  It is another social security tool helping
students go to work.  It provides incentives
to service providers other than VR to hire people with disabilities  In addition to talking about transition
issues with families, WIPA provides ongoing support.

Overview of the two systems:
Social Security and SSI Work Incentives (different rules that apply to
each program).  SSDI is the program for
people who have worked and paid into the system (or a parent who has worked and
paid in and qualify as an adult child).
Often parents think that check is going to end when the student turns 18
years of age.  It is recommended to go
through the steps of applying for social security benefits about 6 months prior
to the 18th birthday to continue to draw the check.

SSI is a needs based program (basically a welfare program)
and you must meet social security criteria to be eligible.  You must have less than $2000 in the child’s
name.  Before the child turns 18 mom and
dad’s income is considered.  If a child
is ineligible for SSI, they can apply for the Katy Beckett waiver to qualify
for Medicaid until they turn 18 years old and can apply for SSI on their
own.  As long as the gross income is less
than $900/month they can continue to receive SSI.  You CAN own a home and/or a vehicle of any
value and it will not make you ineligible for SSI.

Earned income as well as Medicaid benefits were discussed at
length and are in the powerpoint handout.
It is always to think in terms of an impairment related work expense,
for example (must be approved by social security and you must have
receipts).  When you are on SSI and you
need to set something straight on your record, call the toll free number and
request an appointment with a claims representative.  The claims representative has the most
knowledge and can give the most accurate information.

Student Eared Income Exclusion (SEIE) is for students under
the age of 22 (counts for summer jobs).
You have to follow the process and provide school enrollment information
– and be sure to check accuracy for the SSI check regarding reduction.  When families first apply for SSI and the
student gets the reduced amount, often it is because they are NOT paying
rent.  The student must pay their fair
share of expenses.  You can charge them a
flat rate for food and shelter.  Sally
has a prototype of a lease agreement that families have used.  For right now, the number for fair market
value in Atlanta
is around $425/month.  Be sure to
document to have a paper trail about that rent payment.  Often you provide the lease agreement once
the student is receiving the check (reduced amount) to get the increase.

PASS plan does not reduce the social security check.  It can allow you to save for vehicles,
training and education that VR won’t cover, to set up a self-employment
venture.  This vehicle allows you to save
for a need (through an approved plan) with no reduction from social security
check..  They can get the full SSI and
save the money needed for independent living and employment purposes.  If you know a student who could benefit from
the PASS plan please contact Benefits Navigator.

In “Economic Independence” handout is information on the age
18 redetermination.  When students turn
age 18 the student is reevaluated using the adult standards of disability.  Section 301 Protection (if they are getting
benefits prior to age 18) is now opened up to the school system and not just VR
clients.

VI.  Q&A and Closing:  A lengthy discussion took place regarding
technology      programs available to
teachers and students with orthopedic impairments.  Also    the
topic of directives from the GLRS Directors was reviewed.

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