Print & Go

Determining the Right Supports at the Right Time

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


Discovery Process Leading Questions

To Discover: Ask:
  • What is one thing that you love to do that time flies by when you are doing it?
  • What gives you energy to keep moving, even when you feel tired or sad?
  • What are you most proud of being able to do?
  • What is one skill that you have that you could teach to someone else?
Purpose in Life
  • What are some things that you do that you know make other people happy?
  • What matters the most to you in your life?
  • What nice words have other people said about you to describe you?
  • What do you think is your best quality?
  • What are some places that you like to spend time when you are not in school?
  • Who are the people that you spend time with?
  • If you could only have one goal for your life RIGHT NOW, what would it be? Why?
  • What is most important to you right now to do in school? Why?


Support Planning Assessment

Identifying where a youth is in regard to their interest and how their basic needs are being met can assist you in identifying and prescribing services and supports that may be essential in moving them toward employment and greater economic self-sufficiency. The following is a simply tool you can use to gauge needs across the employment, education, health and well being, and benefits counseling and financial literacy of the youth.

Mark how much you agree with the following statements. Definitely Somewhat Neutral Not Really Not at All
I want a job 1 2 3 4 5
I know what kind of job I want 1 2 3 4 5
I know what I am good at doing 1 2 3 4 5
I know what helps me learn new things 1 2 3 4 5
I want to continue my schooling 1 2 3 4 5
School is important to my career goal 1 2 3 4 5
My family has enough food 1 2 3 4 5
I feel safe when I am at home 1 2 3 4 5
I get the help I need with my medicine 1 2 3 4 5
I understand how my benefits will be impacted by my working and earning money 1 2 3 4 5
My family is not reliant on my SSI check 1 2 3 4 5
I understand the importance of managing my money, creating and following a budget, saving and planning for my future 1 2 3 4 5


Questions for Engaging in Motivational Interviewing (MI)

There are four central processes that contribute to the flow of MI and help move an individual through the change process.

  1. Engaging- the process of forming a positive working relationship and connection.
  2. Focusing- identifying a direction for change goals
  3. Evoking- helping the individual to identify and express reasons for change
  4. Planning-developing a commitment to change and coming up with an action plan
Questions for Each Stage of the Motivational Interviewing Process
  • How comfortable is the person talking to me?
  • How supportive and helpful am I being?
  • Do I understand the person’s perspective and concerns?
  • How comfortable do I feel in this conversation?
  • Does this feel like a collaborative partnership?
  • What goals for change does this person have?
  • Do I have different aspirations for change than the client has for himself/herself?
  • Are we working together with common goals?
  • Do I have a clear since of where we are headed in the future?
  • Does this feel more like dancing or wrestling?
  • What are the person’s reasons for change?
  • Is the reluctance more about confidence or importance of the change?
  • Am I steering the person too far or too fast in a particular direction?
  • Is the righting reflex pulling me to be the one arguing for change?
  • What would be a reasonable next step toward change?
  • What would help this person to move forward?
  • Am I remembering to evoke rather than prescribe a plan?
  • Am I offering needed information or advice with permission?
  • Am I retaining a sense of quiet curiosity about what will work best for this person?