wirclogoThe Work Incentives Resources Center (WIRC), a new website developed by the UNH Institute on Disability in collaboration with Granite State Independent Living, is helping individuals with disabilities to navigate the benefits planning process with the goal of making gainful employment a reality.

The fear of losing public income assistance and benefits through the Social Security Administration and Medicare/Medicaid often deters individuals with disabilities from pursuing employment. The WIRC website aims to dispel the myths about these benefits and expand employment for individuals with disabilities through greater awareness and use of work incentives.

"People with disabilities can contribute in important and valuable ways to our communities and our economy," said David Hagner, Ph.D., WIRC project director. "Nobody should be put in a position of remaining idle or unproductive in order to obtain the assistance they depend on."

The website is designed for New Hampshire consumers, families, and service provider staff. Available resources include topical fact sheets, calculation tools, links, notices of upcoming trainings, and a password-protected section where full-time work incentives specialists share more in-depth information and resources. Information at WIRC is approved by Social Security or other applicable agencies for accuracy.

As a collaborating partner, Granite State Independent Living provides toll-free telephone assistance, work incentives specialist training and a database of trained staff, and staff certified by the Social Security Administration to provide Work Incentives Planning and Assistance to ensure the accuracy and quality of information provided.

The development of WIRC was funded by the New Hampshire Medicaid Infrastructure Grant. For more information on WIRC, visit www.nhwirc.org. The Institute on Disability at the University of New Hampshire was established in 1987 to provide a coherent university-based focus for the improvement of knowledge, policies, and practices related to the lives of persons with disabilities and their families. Its mission is to strengthen communities to ensure full access, equal opportunities, and participation for all persons.