Employment, Education & Training Programs
A variety of programs and resources exist for individuals with mental illness who need assistance in preparing for work, obtaining training for employment, or completing a GED or educational programs. Many other general employment, education and training programs resources are found at 211wny.org or by calling 211.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) and New York State have developed programs and policies to address these concerns. The Social Security Administration publishes the “Red Book” which provides detailed information for disabled individuals on planning for employment, on employment supports, on work incentives and on how benefits are protected. A copy is available by calling 1-800-772-1213 or online at www.socialsecurity.gov/redbook.
Incentives and supports include special programs such as the Ticket to Work Program or Plan to Achieve Self-Support (PASS) program. Information can be obtained at by calling 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) or through their web address at https://choosework.ssa.gov/. This website offers linkage to employment-related services near you by zip code and type of services you are seeking, as well as seminars on work-related topics.
The potential loss of financial benefits and health care, however, is a legitimate concern when considering work, education or training opportunities, especially if you are receiving, or applying for, Social Security Disability. It is very important to be familiar with the provisions and policies of employment supports and incentives. It is highly recommended that you work with someone who has expertise in this area so that you will not lose benefits to which you are entitled.
Neighborhood Legal Services provides free information and assistance with Social Security and employment issues.
NEIGHBORHOOD LEGAL SERVICES
237 Main St, Ste 400, Buffalo, NY 14203
Serving Erie County
Programs for Individuals with Mental Illness or Other Disabilities
Some types of employment specifically address the needs of an individual with disabilities, including mental illness. A sheltered employment/workshop program offers vocational rehabilitation for persons with disabilities. Rehabilitation is accomplished through paid and unpaid employment in the workshop, and participation in therapeutic programs.
Supported employment is paid competitive work performed in any work setting in the community, and pays an hourly wage that is equal to or greater than legal minimum wage. Supported employment takes place in an integrated setting; an environment where both disabled and non-disabled persons are employed. The only difference is that supports are provided to disabled employees and the employer by the staff of a vocational agency to assure that the employees are successful in their jobs.
Employment, Education & Training Resources
Restoration Society, Inc.
327 Elm St., Buffalo, NY 14203
Native American Community Services (NACS) of Erie & Niagara Counties
Workforce Development Program
1005 Grant St, Buffalo, NY 14207
An informative publication, “Working While Disabled,” is available
Go to WNY211 or call 211 to access