Wipa… Wipa good!

Sorry, I couldn’t resist!  Hubby and I went to an 80’s night fundraiser, and I danced my shoes off.  So I have 80’s music on the brain.

I became a “special needs parents examiner” for examiner.com.  When I started this freelance job, I sent out an informal survey to people in the disabilities field asking them what the best kept secrets are in my area for families and people with disabilities.  One of those things I learned about was WIPA.

Crack that “wip!”  “Wipa.. into shape…. shape it up…. wipa… wipa good…”  Ooops, sorry.

WIPA stands for Work Incentives Planning and Assistance. It is a program here in the USA for adults who receive SSI, or Supplemental Security Income, because…

1. They want to work.

2. They have a disability that impedes their working.

WIPA helps them obtain meaningful employment.

But let me back up for a minute to explain why else WIPA is incredibly important.

Tell me if this makes sense:

To receive SSI, which is based on personal income,  someone has to prove that he or she can’t work and  support himself or herself due to a disability.  For example…

  • a man’s autism keeps him from being able to function in the workplace.
  • Therefore, he can’t make a living wage, or enough income to support himself (food, shelter, etc.)
  • Since his disability keeps him from getting a viable job, he can qualify for SSI, to meet his basic needs.

But then, once he has proven that he can’t work due to his autism and begins to receive SSI income, he can indeed go to work.  Even though he has proven before that he is unable to work.

Did that make sense?

Yeah, I know.  Prove you can’t work, then once you do, find a job. It’s almost like, “April fool!” But not quite.

In my humble opinion, these laws just don’t make any sense.  As a parent of a soon-to-be adult, these laws are actually kind of scary.

So I’m glad that I found out about WIPA. Counselors with the WIPA program are trained to help navigate this territory .

Recently, I wrote an article called Working and disabled: it is possible . I explain this issue in more detail. What I found out was interesting, and it gives me hope for my boys–  if they do go on SSI someday, they can still have meaningful work.

Maybe we parents need to “crack that whip” on these laws…

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