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Providing Reliable Benefits Planning Assistance

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Benefits Planning

Consulting Connection Services is a DARS & Medicaid Waiver vendor. Through benefits planning, we help individuals who are receiving social security benefits (SSI, SSDI, and SSI/SSDI, survivor benefits, childhood disability, adult disabled child benefits) understand their benefits and explore the possibility of work, to start work, and the effect of work on local, state, and federal benefits.

Benefits planning includes education and analysis of current benefits status and implementation and management of state and federal work incentives as appropriate.

Benefits planning enables individuals to make an informed choice about the initiation of work. This service also provides information and education to working individuals so they can make a successful transition to financial independence.

It results in the development of written resource documents to assist individuals and their families/legal representatives to better understand the current and future benefits of working, thereby reducing ambivalence about losing necessary supports and benefits if they choose to work or stay on the job.

Work Incentives Specialist Advocates (WISAs)

WISAs are individuals who have been certified to provide work incentives counseling services to DARS clients who are receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

Although clients working with DARS on job placement have a desire to return to work, fear surrounding what will happen to their benefits and health insurance when they return to work serves as one of the biggest barriers to achieving that goal.

WISAs have completed extensive and rigorous training through either Cornell University or Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) surrounding the impact of work on Social Security benefits and have been certified as Work Incentives Practitioners, making them the authority on work incentive regulations that protect the client’s benefits while they test their ability to work.

Although the trend has been to refer to professionals as benefits counselors, in Virginia, we refer to these individuals as Work Incentive Specialists. This is because our goal is to get people to think about this system regarding their work, not their benefits.

The WISA model shifts the focus to how a client’s disposable income can go up as they work, and does not focus solely on how benefits will change. Our goal as an agency is to assist clients by creating the safety net that supports each individual’s choice to go to work. There are 13 services that can be provided by a WISA and authorized by a VR counselor on behalf of a client.

What Are WISA Services?

  1. WISA meets individually with beneficiaries and family members/advocates to explain benefits and work incentives.
  2. A WorkWORLD benefits analysis with the Benefits Planning Query (BPQY) is the starting place for all WISA services. It is used to explain all relevant benefits/work incentives so beneficiaries can make informed choices.
  3. WISAs serve as the primary initial contact for the Ticket to Work program.
  4. WISAs help beneficiaries gather and organize information, and as authorized assist beneficiaries in applying to the appropriate agency for work incentives, then follow up until those work incentives are approved and implemented.
  5. Beneficiary and DARS Counselor/Support Coordinators are updated throughout the process.

The WISA explains the following to both SSDI and SSI beneficiaries:

  • Calculating Earnings
  • Effects of Earned Income on Benefits
  • Reporting Earnings
  • Expedited Reinstatement


We are currently accepting referrals for benefits planning services under the Medicaid Waiver and from DARS throughout the State of Virginia. Please use our brief referral form to get started. You may fax or email us this form along with the required documentation which is outlined on the referral form. 



Our NPI number is located on our flyer as well as given below:-

NPI # 0706401392

DARS Vendor #: 1333126

Please email us for our consent forms.

View our Flyer