Working with a Disability Just Got Easier

On January 30, 2004, the California Work Incentives Initiative at the World Institute on Disability launched its new website “Disability Benefits 101: Working with a Disability in California” for workers and job seekers with disabilities.

People with disabilities are often dissuaded from working and moving out of poverty by the risk of losing health care, which pays for survival essentials such as wheelchairs, ventilators and medicine (as cited by the US Government Accounting Office and other national studies). Over a million working-age Californians with disabilities are unemployed. Many want to work, but are afraid of losing crucial health or other needed benefits and lack information to make sound decisions.

Disability Benefits 101 provides updated and accurate information on employment, health coverage and benefits. The website will aid people with disabilities to make good financial and employment choices and will also serve as a much-needed tool for benefits planners and service providers.

Disability Benefits 101 features detailed descriptions of state, federal and private benefit programs and how they interact with employment. Other features include:

· Articles featuring sample life situations

· Guides to health coverage and benefit programs

· Plain language descriptions and complete accessibility for screen readers

· Access to local and other resources

· Search engine, site map and glossary

In 2004, Disability Benefits 101 plans to install an interactive bulletin board where a Program Analyst will answer questions. On April 2, 2004, the Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) page was launched providing working Californians with valuable information on opportunities to build assets. http://www.disabilitybenefits101.org/ca/programs/work_benefits/ida/index.htm

“Providing essential, accessible benefit information is significant to helping Californians understand their options for employment and making the critical decisions that will allow them to live as independently as possible,” states Catherine Campisi, Director of the California Department of Rehabilitation, one of the partners and grantors in the DB101 project, adding “Information is power and employment is independence for people with disabilities.”

Disability Benefits 101 was created by the California Work Incentives Initiative at the World Institute on Disability; Options: A Benefits Training Foundation; and web technology consultants Eightfold Way Consultants. Disability Benefits 101 is a unique state-focused project funded by The California Endowment, California Departments of Health Services, Rehabilitation and Employment Development, California Health Incentives Improvement Project (MIG), Community Technology Foundation, Alliance Healthcare Foundation and North Bay Employment Connection.

For more information go to: www.disabilitybenefits101.org.