There is no standardized time-sequenced plan to follow when supporting youth toward a career trajectory and improved employment and economic outcomes. While Continuing Disability Reviews (CDR), the Annual SSI Review, and the Age 18 Redetermination Review can be calculated and projected consistently, the rate at which an individual progresses toward greater economic independence and employment varies considerably. Therefore, assessing where a youth and their family are in their decision making processes, as well as prescribing services and supports most critical to support decision making at the level they are at is critical. This typically includes five primary stages: 1. Pre-contemplation; 2. Contemplation; 3. Preparation; 4. Action; and, 5. Maintenance.

The table below provides a description of each stage as well as a description of what the typical youth perspective is at each stage, with corresponding action steps you can consider. Keep in mind, some action steps at the later stages of decision-making will require the expertise of a trained and credentialed benefits and work incentives practitioner.

Pre-contemplation (Engagement and Curiosity)
Youth/Family Perspective Your Support
  • Curious about work
  • Seeking info about benefits
  • No firm commitment to work, but curious about options
  • Concern about losing benefits and long-term impact of work
  • Acknowledge concerns
  • Provide general and basic info on how benefits are impacted by earnings
  • Create general scenarios to show options – future potential
  • Information and referral on various types of employment services
Contemplation (Intention and Exploration)
Youth/Family Perspective  Your Support
  • Considering employment and work incentives as a possible course of action
  • Seeking info about what is available
  • May inquire to gain a deeper understanding of impact of earnings on benefits and how it will impact monthly useable income
  • Staging of information based on need from general inquiry up to in-depth
  • Benefits and Work Incentives referral
  • Define preliminary action steps
  • Illustrate earnings/benefit offset
Action (Planning and Decision-Making)
Youth/Family Perspective Your Support
  • Making plans about work and increased earnings
  • Taking action steps to get a job
  • Continued concern about impact of earnings
  • Seeking information about how to use work incentives
  • Provide earnings reporting advice
  • Develop strategies for using work incentives with timelines and action steps
  • Identify the supports a beneficiary needs and at what times
  • Explore management strategies
Action (Modification and Execution)
Youth/Family Perspective Your Support
  • Working, earning and reporting income
  • Increasing social/cultural interactions from work
  • Using and managing work incentives
  • Questions regarding employer benefits and advancement opportunities
  • Plan for and provide work incentive mgmt. and monitoring support as needed
  • Proactively engage beneficiary at certain touchpoints
  • Review and update action steps
  • Explore asset accountability strategies
Maintenance (Continuation and Perserverance)
Youth/Family Perspective Your Support
  • Attaining employment goals, and possibly thinking about next steps
  • Anticipating self-sufficiency outcomes
  • Increased need for info on how to self-manage
  • Exploration of assets, investment and other financial issues
  • Provide benefits and work incentives management training
  • Support development of external supports
  • Continue to develop plan toward self-sufficiency and financial independence
  • Provide info on safety nets