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Employment Support at ECI

What is WIPA?

The Endependence Center’s Project WISE-East Work Incentive Services for Employment is a WIPA Project.

  • This WIPA Project provides you with the knowledge you need to make informed choices about employment. Our Community Work Incentives Coordinators (CWICs) provide FREE individualized benefits counseling for Social Security and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries with disabilities who are working, or are about to begin working. Work Incentives make it possible for you to keep your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and/or health care benefits while you test your ability to work.


Services provided by our WIPA Project include:

  • Benefits Planning and Advisement;
  • Problem Solving and Advocacy;
  • Benefits Support Planning;
  • Independent Living Supports:
  • Addressing barriers to employment; and
  • Information and Referral.

Learn more about Social Security Work Incentives:

  • Trial Work Period;
  • Extended Period of Eligibility;
  • Unsuccessful Work Attempt;
  • Impairment Related Work Expenses;
  • Earned Income Exclusion;
  • Subsidy and Special Conditions;
  • Unincurred Business Expenses;
  • Plan to Achieve Self Support;
  • Property Essential to Self-Support;
  • Blind Work Expenses;
  • Student Earned Income Exclusion;
  • Medicaid 1619A and 1619B;
  • Extended Medicare;
  • Expedited Reinstatement; and
  • Medicaid Works (VA residents only).

Learn how other Federal, State, and local programs, such as TANF, Section-8 Housing Vouchers, Childcare Assistance Programs, etc., are impacted by employment. Work Incentives are specific to the type of benefit you receive.

Additional referral information: 


What is SSI / SSDI?

The Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs are the largest of several Federal programs that provide assistance to people with disabilities. These two programs are different in many ways. The Social Security Administration administers both. Only individuals who have a disability and meet medical criteria may qualify for benefits under either program.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a Federal income supplement program funded by general tax revenues (not Social Security taxes):

  • It is designed to help aged, blind, and people with disabilities, who have little or no income; and
  • It provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) is available to individuals who have acquired a disability and are unable to do substantial work. SSDI benefits may be payable to certain family members as well. In order to qualify for SSDI, an individual must have paid Social Security taxes and earned enough work credits.

For more information on these two programs, visit

Getting Started

The WIPA Project can provide you with assistance if you meet the eligibility requirements.

Who is eligible for WIPA Services?

WIPA services are FREE, and you must be:

  • Between 14 years old and full retirement age;
  • Currently eligible for SSI and/or SSDI benefits; and
  • Working or about ready to begin working or increasing employment.

You may want to contact a CWIC if you receive Social Security disability benefits and you are:

  • Considering employment;
  • Concerned about how working might affect your healthcare benefits;
  • Starting a new job or changing your hours;
  • Want to know what would happen if you are no longer able to work;
  • Interested in returning to school; or
  • Seeking a job but need help with your search.

Counseling support is provided by a CWIC who has received approved training from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and certification through Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).

Our CWICs:

  • Provide work incentives planning and assistance;
  • Help you and your family determine if you are eligible for Federal or State work incentive programs;
  • Refer you to local Employment Networks or State Vocational Rehabilitation agencies such as DARS or DBVI;
  • Provide general information about potential employer-based or federally subsidized health benefits coverage available to you once you enter the workforce; and
  • Inform you of the available protection and advocacy services.

WIPA Program Service areas:

Cities:  Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Franklin, Fredericksburg, Hampton, Hopewell, Manassas, Manassas Park, Newport News, Norfolk, Poquoson, Portsmouth, Suffolk, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg, and Winchester.

Counties:  Accomack, Arlington, Caroline, Charles City, Clarke, Culpeper, Essex, Fairfax, Fauquier, Frederick, Gloucester, Greene, Hanover, Isle of Wight, James City, King and Queen, King George, King William, Lancaster, Loudoun, Louisa, Madison, Mathews, Middlesex, New Kent, Northampton, Northumberland, Orange, Page, Prince George, Prince William, Rappahannock, Shenandoah, Southampton, Spotsylvania, Stafford, Surry, Sussex, Warren, Westmoreland, and York.

For areas in Virginia that are not listed, contact the Social Security Ticket to Work Help Line.

If you would like general information about how work might affect your benefits, you can call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842, Monday – Friday from 8:00am – 8:00pm. If you use TTY services for people with hearing impairments, use 1-866-833-2967. If you are working or you have a job offer, the Help Line can refer you directly for Work Incentives Planning and Assistance services. 

For further information, visit or call the Ticket to Work Help Line at their toll-free numbers:

1-866-968-7842 (v) or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY)

Monday through Friday ~ 8 am to 8 pm (EST)

or visit their website at

“This document is funded through a Social Security cooperative agreement. Although Social Security reviewed this website for accuracy, it does not constitute an official Social Security communication.”

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