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Employee benefits counselor discussing information with person in a wheelchair.Consult a disability benefits counselor first – before accepting a job – to protect your individual benefits.

Disability Benefits Counseling First!

Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Medicaid or other assistance program recipients with disabilities should consult a disability benefits counselor first – before accepting a job – to protect their individual benefits.

The Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) program helps people with disabilities interested in working understand the impact their wages will have on their Social Security and other government benefits. Benefits counselors help job seekers understand the potential benefits of employment for a person receiving disability benefits from Social Security.

The program provides accurate information to beneficiaries with disabilities and transition-to-work aged youth while dispelling the myths about working. Counseling services are free to all North Carolina residents ages 14-64.

Disability benefits counselors will:

  • Analyze how work and earnings may impact SSI, SSDI, healthcare and other public benefits.
  • Explain the services offered by North Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation (NCVR) or other agencies and how they might help the individual.
  • Provide proactive follow-up services to ensure that work incentives are properly applied and resolve benefit-related problems
  • Offer long-term work incentives management on a scheduled, continuous basis to support employment efforts

WIPA benefits counselors work in cooperation with Federal, State, private agencies and nonprofit organizations that serve SSI and SSDI beneficiaries with disabilities.

To contact a benefits counselor in your area, click here to find your county in the Disability Benefits Counselors list below and to learn more about WIPA, visit https://www.ssa.gov/work/WIPA.html

Healthcare Coverage for Workers with Disabilities

North Carolina’s Medicaid Buy-In allows workers with disabilities to transition to work and earn wages that exceed Medicaid income or asset limits without facing loss of Medicaid coverage. To qualify for Healthcare Coverage for Workers with Disabilities, a worker must be between the ages of 16 and 64, be working and not exceed 150% of the federal poverty level in earned and unearned income – as of September 2017, that was approximately $23,448.

Applications for the “buy-in” are the same as general Medicaid applications. Source: Medicaid Buy-In © 2016, Disability Rights North Carolina

DVRS Work Incentive Planning and Assistance (WIPA) 2023 Coverage Areas

Counties: Chatham, Lee, Orange, Person
Jacqueline Lucas, Rocky Mount Unit
Office Phone: (252) 977-2112
Email: Jackie.Lucas@dhhs.nc.gov 

Counties: Alexander, Burke, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Caswell, Catawba, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Rowan
Jacqueline Moore, Statesville Office
Phone: (704) 380-6660 Main Office, (704) 380-6663
Direct Dial Email: Jacqueline.Moore@dhhs.nc.gov 

Counties: Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes, Yancey
Jacqueline Moore, Statesville Office (Temporary Coverage)
Phone: (704) 380-6660 Main Office, (704) 380-6663
Direct Dial Email: Jacqueline.Moore@dhhs.nc.gov 

Counties: Anson, Hoke, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Moore, Richmond, Scotland, Stanly, and Union
Lisa Oakley, Charlotte Office
Phone: 704-218-5378 Direct Dial
Email: Lisa.Oakely@dhhs.nc.gov 

Counties: Alamance, Buncombe, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Randolph, Rockingham, Stokes, Surry, Yadkin
Ebony Wade, Greensboro Unit Office
Phone: (336)487-0543
Email: Ebony.Wade@dhhs.nc.gov 

Download the DVRS WIPA contact information sheet






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North Carolina Council on Developmental Disabilities

Office Hours: 9AM-4PM Monday-Friday
1-800-357-6916 (Toll Free)
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This project was supported, in part by grant number 2001NCSCDD-02, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy.

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