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November 2021, Vol. 8, No. 1

RAISE (The National Resources for Access, Independence, Self-determination and Employment (RAISE) Technical Assistance Center) logo

RAISE The Standard Newsletter

Raising the Standard for Young Adults

with Disabilities

Technical Assistance and Resources for RSA-funded

Parent Training and Information Centers

View this edition of RAISE The Standard in your web browser

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Public Benefits and Personal Finance

When youth and young adults with disabilities have the financial skills and knowledge they need, they can achieve independence, control, and autonomy over their own lives. Financial wellness means having financial security and financial freedom of choice, both now and in the future.

In this issue of RAISE The Standard, we explore the intersection of public benefits, earned income and personal finance, and the complex balance needed to achieve and preserve financial wellness.


Screen grab of Thasunda Ducket's TED Talk on money management

What does money mean to you?

Banking executive Thasunda Duckett shares six simple (but BIG) ideas about how to minimize shame around money, have honest conversations about it, and begin to save. Get your vision board ready!

Watch Thasunda Duckett's TED Talk now >>


Supportive Decision-Making for Adults with Disabilities

The PA Assistive Technology Foundation has produced a webinar series called “Money Talks.” This webinar, which features simultaneous ALS translation and closed captions, covers the different ways in which people with disabilities can get help in decision-making about health care and money.

Watch the Decision-Making for Adults with Disabilities webinar now >>


personal futures workbook booklet cover image

Personal Futures Planning

Q: What is Personal Futures Planning (PFP)?

A: PFP, also called Person-Centered Planning, is a team approach for planning the next stage of an individual’s life. It focuses on what an individual can do—their strengths and preferences—rather than what they cannot do. The process uses discussions with the family and people at the center of the individual’s life to drive the planning, rather than relying on written reports by professionals.

Q: Who is on the team?

A: The team usually includes a person’s family and teacher or rehabilitation worker, as well as friends, neighbors, and other significant people in the person’s life.

Q: What does the team do?

A: The team gathers together with the person to focus on the future, with an emphasis on what they like and what they can do, rather than on a pre-defined outcome.

Click here to access The Personal Futures Workbook, 4th Edition >>

Financial Wellness Toolkit

We love the financial wellness toolkit developed by the National Disability Institute.

Click here to view and download NDI's Financial toolkit >>

Resource Mapping

Got 10 minutes? Check out the Resource Mapping video from National Disability Institute and Hands-on-Banking®

Watch NDI's Resource Mapping video now >>

Credit card being inserted in a card reader

Money Rules to Live By

Credit cards can be a terrific tool, but they can also create problems if not used effectively. This two-page tool is designed to help young adults make decisions about how and when to use credit cards.

View and download the PDF for young adults on making credit card decisions now >>


In this issue of RAISE The Standard, we take a closer look at two important programs that can lead to increased financial independence for people with disabilities receiving SSI.

Plan to Achieve Self-Support graphic pad of paper with various checklist items , tuition, work training, and computer

A Plan for Achieving Self Support (PASS) is a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) work incentive that allows an individual “to set aside money and/or things he or she owns to pay for items or services needed to achieve a specific work goal.” The PASS program lets individuals set up a long-term work goal, which can include beginning a new career, starting a business, or returning to school to finish a degree. All of the expenses associated with achieving the work goal can be included in the PASS program. Once the plan is approved, an individual can set aside money to pay for the work plan without having those savings reduce their eligibility amount for SSI. By setting aside money, applicants can pay for specific services or items that may help them eventually get back to work.

Learn more about PASS here >>

Ticket to Work program logo

Social Security's Ticket to Work Program is a free and voluntary program available to people ages 18 through 64 who are blind or have a disability and who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. The program increases the financial independence and self-sufficiency of beneficiaries with disabilities, and reduces (and whenever possible eliminates) reliance on disability benefits. The program does this by offering expanded choices to eligible people with disabilities when they seek service and supports to enter, re-enter, and/or maintain employment.

Under this program, people who are receiving monthly benefit payments can sign up with an approved service provider of their choice. This can be an Employment Network (EN) or a State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency. The EN/State VR agency will coordinate and provide appropriate services to help the beneficiary find and maintain employment. These services may be training, career counseling, vocational rehabilitation, job placement, and ongoing support services necessary to achieve a work goal.

While participating in the program, beneficiaries can get the help they need to safely explore their work options and find the job that is right for them without losing their benefits. Beneficiaries also can use a combination of work incentives to maximize their income until they begin to earn enough to support themselves. Therefore, the individual can:

  • Go to work without automatically losing disability benefits;
  • Return to benefits if he or she has to stop working;
  • Continue to receive healthcare benefits; and
  • Be protected from receiving a medical Continuing Disability Review (CDR) while using the ticket and making the expected progress with work or educational goals.

While both PASS and Ticket to Work are intended to help SSI recipients return to work, effectively reducing their dependence on Social Security benefits, there are some differences between the two programs. Anyone who gets SSI is eligible for Ticket to Work, but the PASS program requires an application and approval process. Additionally, Ticket to Work targets shorter-term, work-related goals, while PASS focuses on more complex and long-term work goals.

Ticket to Work is a voucher program in which people receiving Social Security Disability benefits are given a “ticket” that can be presented to an eligible Employment Network (EN) service provider. EN providers are organizations or individuals who can help you get the training, education, or other support services you need to reach a work-related goal. The program is designed to give SSDI and SSI recipients access to additional EN resources without dipping into their own money to pay for the services needed.

Click here to learn more about Ticket to Work >>


Did you know that there are eight Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) Parent Centers throughout the US?

These centers provide a variety of training and programming to youth/young adults with disabilities and their families, professionals, and other PTIs and CPRCs on the issues surrounding Youth Transition, the period of time between adolescence and adulthood.

“RSA Parent Centers” are funded by the Rehabilitation Service Administration (RSA) under the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), which is part of the US Department of Education.


capitol building icon

In this issue of RAISE, we profile two bills in Congress that aim to update the SSI (Supplemental Security Income) program.


SSA Red Book

SSA’s Red Book is a great reference about the employment-related provisions of the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. It’s an especially helpful resource for educators, advocates, rehabilitation professionals, and counselors who serve people with disabilities.

Click here to access the SSA Red Book in English >>

Click here to access the SSA Red Book in Spanish >>

focus on people with disabilities cover page

Your Money, Your Goals: Focus on People with Disabilities

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau produced “Your Money, Your Goals: Focus on People with Disabilities.” The 66-page guide contains information, tips, and tools based on insights from people with disabilities. It is centered around the belief that everyone has the right to control their money and make their own financial decisions.

Click here to access “Your Money, Your Goals” >>


Kaitlin Kerr - author of The Future Is Bright for PA's Disabled Workers: Act 69 Expands Rights and Opportunities

"With the expanded freedom to earn and save that Act 69 provides, workers can now take promotions and work in careers they love or went to school for... without having to ask for lower pay or fearing the next raise or promotion. They can advance in their chosen fields, contribute to the economy, and save for the future!"

-  Kaitlin Kerr

The Future Is Bright for PA's Disabled Workers: Act 69 Expands Rights and Opportunities

In this issue of RAISE The Standard, we bring you a blog post from artist, activist, and advocate Kaitlin Kerr. In this essay from I Want To Work PA, she underscores the reasons for change and describes the grassroots advocacy campaign that changed Pennsylvania law so that people with disabilities can earn a meaningful wage and still receive federal health benefits.

Click here to read Kaitlin's blog post >>

RAISE The Standard

Collaboration • Empowerment • Capacity-building

RAISE The Standard enewsletter identifies and shares resources that the Rehabilitation Services Administration Parent Training and Information Centers (RSA-PTI) can use and share with families.

Executive Editor:

Josie Badger

Visit our Website:

The RAISE Technical Assistance Center is working to advance the accessibility of its digital resources, including its websites, enewsletters and various digital documents.

* For more on SPAN Parent Advocacy Network and all of the complementary programs supported, visit


RAISE, the National Resources for Access, Independence, Self-Advocacy and Employment is a user-centered technical assistance center that understands the needs and assets of the RSA-PTIs, coordinates efforts with the Technical Assistance provided by PTI centers and involves RSA-PTIs as key advisors and partners in all product and service development and delivery.

US Dept of Education logo seal

The RAISE Center is a project of the SPAN Parent Advocacy Network and is funded by the US Department of Education's Rehabilitation Service Administration. The contents of this resource were developed under a cooperative agreement with the US Department of Education (H235G200007)). However, the contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education and should not assume endorsement by the federal government.

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