Independent Living Coordinator & Work Incentive Benefits Specialist

    • Job Tracking ID: 512507-766156
    • Job Location: Milwaukee, WI
    • Job Level: Mid Career (2+ years)
    • Level of Education: BA/BS
    • Job Type: Full-Time/Regular
    • Date Updated: May 01, 2021
    • Years of Experience: 2 - 5 Years
    • Starting Date: May 17, 2021
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Job Description:



I. Position: IL Program Coordinator & Work Incentive Benefits Specialist


II. Status: Full Time, Hourly


III. Reports to: Independent Living Services Program Director


  1. I. Position Summary: Provide independent living services to individuals with disabilities, in the service area, to enhance the quality of their lives. Responsible for all activities related to the classes and workshops held in the service area. Conduct outreach to establish referral relationships with community partners and to build relationships in the multi-cultural/underserved communities (African American, Hispanic/Latino/Hmong) in the service area counties. Conduct Grassroots Advocacy Groups.

Provide work incentives benefits planning and career counseling supports to people with disabilities. Focus on assisting individuals with disabilities to understand the effect that income will have on their benefits and services as they prepare for employment and pursue goals to reduce their reliance on public programs such as Social Security.

Participate in activities related to Disability Policy Change.

IV. Position Expected Hours of Work: This is a Full-Time position. Days and hours of work are Monday through Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. Occasional evenings and weekends.


V. Independent Living Services Essential Functions of the Position:


A. Facilitate self-assessment and identification of independent living related services needs of the consumer.

B. Facilitate the development of independent living goals with the consumer. Regularly revisits these goals, updating as needed and noting progress.

C. Promote self-advocacy by teaching individuals how to access services, assert their rights, obtain funding for the purpose of reaching their goals.

D. Provide independent living skills instruction on an individual or group basis.

  1. Provide information, referral and training to consumers and the community in the IndependenceFirst service area on independent living issues and services.

F. Coordinate peer support efforts in the outlying county areas.

G. Provide consumers, businesses, and community organizations with assistance regarding the ADA, IDEA, Fair Housing Act, and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (501-504), etc.

H. Develop and maintain appropriate collaborative relationships with other organizations/service providers to enhance the goals of independent living.

  1. Conduct outreach and establish relationships with community partners for the purpose of referral to our program.
  2. Conduct outreach to establish collaborative relationships with other organizations and service providers that serve individuals with disabilities that are part of multi-cultural/underserved populations (African American, Hispanic/Latino, Hmong) in the outlying counties.
  3. Complete agency required documentation in agency database.


VI. Work Incentives Benefits Specialist Essential Functions:


  1. Analyze the benefits, entitlement, subsidies, and services of individuals to determine the impact that work will have on eligibility for programs and changes in payment levels.
  2. Provide individuals with an in-depth written assessment of their situation and provide guidance with making informed choices about working.
  3. Develop a work incentives plan to assist individuals with achieving their employment goal.
  4. Provide benefit related information and referral services.
  5. Provide individuals with support in dealing with benefits issues as they arise.
  6. Advocate on behalf of individuals regarding benefit issues with other agencies and programs.
  1. Develop and maintain appropriate collaborative relationships with federal, state, and local agencies/organizations.
  2. Conduct presentations and trainings on the Social Security work incentives and other return to work issues for people with disabilities.
  3. Complete required documentation in databases as required by program contracts.
  4. Attend all staff meetings and trainings as required.


VII. Disability Policy Change Essential Functions of the Position:

  1. Participate in individual and systems advocacy activities by voicing opinion at public hearings and educating public officials through letter writing or other appropriate means on issues relating to independent living.
  2. Actively participant in agency advocacy team.
  3. Present testimony on disability issues by writing, email, and fax, in person testimony to legislative bodies on the local, state and federal levels. This includes contacting congresspersons, senators and giving opinions on pending legislation.
  4. Assist consumers with their advocacy needs.
  5. Participate in Disability Policy Change Events.


  1. IX. Work Environment
  2. Work environment is generally performed in an office setting with minimal to moderate noise level.


  1. The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.




The above statements reflect the general details necessary to describe the principle functions of the occupation described and shall not be construed as a detailed description of all the work requirements that may be inherent in the occupation.


Experience and Skills:

Professional Qualifications

  1. Must have a firm belief in consumer control, the independent living philosophy and our agency Vision Statement:


IndependenceFirst is for full inclusion of persons with disabilities in every aspect of our community and IndependenceFirst commits itself toward this end.

'Empowerment is part psychological, part social, and part political. It is the process by which individuals define their own problems, find their own voice, develop their own plans, act on their own behalf, and claim their own power.'

'Empowerment means more than having responsibility, but also having the authority and ability to make one's own choices.'


  1. Bachelor's degree in related field or life experience may be

substituted in lieu of, in full or part of academic requirements.

  1. Excellent oral and written communication skills required.
  2. Demonstrated positive attitude, reliability, a self-starter who assumes responsibility when warranted, is conscientious, professional in manner and hard working.
  3. Knowledge of federal, state and community services and funding resources.
  4. Knowledge of disability rights legislation including the ADA, Rehabilitation Act, IDEA, etc.
  5. Ability to interpret laws and regulations required.
  6. Experience giving public speaking presentations preferred.
  7. Ability to translate technical information into plain language required
  8. Knowledge of and ability to use computer required.
  9. Must obtain and maintain national Work Incentives Benefits Specialists certification.
  10. Transportationally mobile or able to arrange own transportation.
  11. Proven ability to work independently with minimal supervision required.
  12. Cheerfully and willingly accepts new assignments and projects.