Benefits Planning e-Consult Series: An Online Tutorial


Developed by Steve Shober

This free online resource is an eight-part eConsult series about Benefits Planning from CEBP Consultant and Trainer Steve Shober, BS, LSW, a former vocational rehabilitation specialist and job coach who learned crucial benefits-planning skills while on the job, responding to crises and other episodes of stalled recovery. This eConsult series features a collection of lessons-learned stories, success stories, and take-home tips. It is a more in-depth companion to "The Spirit of Benefits Planning" audio CD.

Steve's expertise, combined with his calming voice of authority, provides a comforting sense of can-do when it comes to the benefits arena. He emphasizes that case managers, employment specialists, and other service providers do not need to be full-time benefits counselors or experts in benefits planning to help people make informed decisions about their financial futures and to prevent crises. According to Steve, benefits-planning services begin with knowing some basic information about benefits programs (e.g., eligibility requirements, income limits, work incentives) and developing trusting relationships (therapeutic alliances) with the people you serve.

  1. Getting Started, Part 1: Learn the basics of benefits programs, help people make informed decisions about their financial future
  2. Getting Started, Part 2: Benefits Planning is a relationship job, not just an information job
  3. The Food-Court Story: Build trust with consumers to dispel myths about benefits, prepare them for potential surprises (The Food-Court Story)
  4. The Assertive-Outreach Story: Build trust by listening to each person's fears and concerns and by responding with facts that address each directly
  5. A Cautionary Tale: Over-payments by benefits programs and mandatory paybacks can be avoided with monthly reports of income by consumers
  6. The Termination Story: Work incentives from Social Security may enable consumers to earn more money and remain eligible for benefits programs
  7. Take-Home Tips: Nine things you can do today
  8. The Cheese Wall Story: Zero-exclusion is the ultimate optimism; everyone who wants to work receives supported-employment services