The supported employment approach seems to be an effective way to help individuals with serious mental illness get a job and earn money. Yet, concerns about losing one’s financial benefits are often expressed by individuals seeking employment assistance. How can those concerns be effectively addressed to help individuals engage with supported employment?

The first step for the SMI individual who is seeking employment is to make an appointment with a supported employment specialist. During the meeting, the individual needs to describe his or her financial benefits in detail, prior employment history, and current financial situation. Laws regarding changes in financial benefits that result after an individual is employed depend on the type of working employment obtained (e.g., part-time vs. full-time work) and the length of time employed, which can vary state by state. The employment specialist will advise the individual about possible loss of financial benefits before starting the supported employment process. View more information on training to become a supported employment specialist.

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