WDBN WIBS Training Events 2018 graphic

Work Incentives Benefits Specialist Initial Training 2018

In Events, Events_Current, Featured, News by Stephanie Drum

Work Incentive Benefits Specialists (WIBS) provide information to people who have disabilities and receive public or private benefits. WIBS provide information needed for making informed decisions about work. This helps a person understand how earnings may affect disability payments, healthcare, and other publicly funded benefits. For people with a disability, work incentives benefits information is an essential part of getting and keeping a job.

WIBS can provide written reports, follow-up information, and answers to questions as needed.

If you work with or are planning to work with people with disabilities regarding their Social Security, health care or other benefit related questions, the WDBN WIBS training program is for you!

This comprehensive introductory training will cover a variety of benefit related topics including an overview of the Social Security Administration, Title II Benefits, SSI, Work Incentives, Medicare, Medicaid, Subsidized Housing, FoodShare, and many other essentials to benefit planning and analysis. It provides both federal and state specific information.

What you will learn:

Through the initial training and ongoing technical assistance, you will learn how to sift through the world of public benefits to find, calculate and analyze complex information.

  • How to collect and analyze benefit information for the people you serve.
  • How to tie together multiple sources of information to address each individual’s situation.
  • How to write a Benefits Analysis and other services.
  • Ways to organize information, your time, and your caseload.

This training is for you if you:

  • Are inquisitive and persistent. A Benefits Specialist spends a lot of time asking questions and connecting with other public agencies for information. Benefits Specialists have to have a willingness to look up information and ask questions.
  • Enjoy paying attention to the details and then analyzing them. Benefits Specialists must know and understand policies and rules of many benefit systems. They must understand the details to accurately predict how all of someone’s benefits will be affected by work.
  • Are willing to become a technical writer. Benefits and the rules that come with them can be complicated, so the Benefits Specialist’s job is to provide the information in an easy-to-understand way.
  • Have a genuine interest in providing unbiased information about benefits to individuals to support their choices about employment goals and careers.
  • Can commit to regular continuing education for your life as a Benefits Specialist. The two guarantees in this field are that you will never be able to learn everything and rules and policies are ever changing. Staying connected to other Benefits Specialists and accessing regular training keeps Benefits Specialists up-to-date.
  • Are not afraid of math. Benefits Specialists spend a lot of time working with calculations to predict eligibility and cost responsibilities.
  • Work in a supportive environment and have the room in your schedule to continually learn and research the complexities of benefits.

Time Commitment:

The online portion of the training includes many modules, quizzes and written assignments. People who take this training should set aside 10 to 20 hours per week to complete the required training. The online portion is designed to be self-paced with assignments due at the end of the week. There are face-to-face classroom days in Part 1 and Part 2. The classroom days are two full days from 8:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

2018 Training Dates:

Part 1:
September 10 – September 21 | Online | Self-paced
September 26 – September 27 | In-Person, Madison, WI | 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Part 2: (State specific information will take place in Part 2)
October 1 – October 12 | Online | Self-paced
October 17 – October 18 | In-Person, Madison, WI | 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

There will be a conference call for all supervisors and managers of benefits specialists. There will also be a conference call for practitioners. The date and time of these events will be announced prior to the online training. Stay tuned.

Registration Information:

The Full Training Includes Part 1 and Part 2:

A blend of in-person training and self-paced online modules over 6 weeks. You will get a basic overview of the most common State and Federal benefits accessed by individuals who have disabilities. After this, you will receive support from a Technical Assistant to support your work and access to continuing education provided by the WDBN for at least one year.*

Full Training Cost: $2750

The State-Only Training Includes Part 2 Only:

The same blend of in-person training and self-paced online modules over 3 weeks. You will get the basic overview of the most common State benefits accessed by individuals who have disabilities. Coursework will include opportunities to blend state specific information with the federal benefit programs. After the initial training, you will receive support from a Technical Assistant to support your work when related to state specific benefits.

State-Only Training Cost: $1375

*The WDBN can only guarantee one year of training and technical assistance as grants and funds are available. Partial refunds will be made available if the support is not available. More details will be made available after you register.


The Registration Deadline is September 3, 2018.

Course Registration
**The Course Registration fee does not include any incurred travel expenses, food or overnight accommodation costs.**


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Contributed by

Stephanie Drum

Stephanie Drum started at ERI in 2006. She has worked as a Work Incentive Benefits Specialist (WIBS) in various programs while at ERI. In addition to working as a benefits specialist, she is a lead trainer for the Initial WIBS training offered by ERI. More about Stephanie...