Frequently Asked Questions
What are the eligibility requirements for your benefit planning services, and what should I do if I do not meet them?
Our benefit planning services are available to individuals aged 14 years or older who are eligible for services through the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA), even if they are not currently accessing DDA services.
If you do not meet these eligibility requirements, you can explore alternative options listed on our Service Eligibility page. Additionally, the BenefitU website offers resources and tools to help anyone better understand their disability-related benefits.
The person eligible for our services should provide their information on the intake forms. If it’s preferable to the customer, you can include a different point of contact’s email and/or phone number. However, all other details should belong to the person you are supporting.
If you are an advocate or family support, please be sure to discuss adding you and any other key players to the Release of Information form you will be sent after scheduling an intake.
I am supporting a family member or acting as a service provider for someone who needs support with their benefits, does the beneficiary need to attend our meetings?
BenefitU believes in a person-centered approach to delivering services and that the beneficiary should be a part of conversations related to their benefits whenever possible. We also understand that some people may prefer to only attend meetings when options have been identified and it is time to make a decision.
If the beneficiary would like to identify and advocate (family or otherwise) or guardian to support them in this process, BenefitU will need to obtain a Release of Information allowing us to share information with the designated person(s).
In many cases we can connect you to a benefits planner within about 2 weeks following an intake, but this can vary based on number of referrals and planner capacity. In some situations, we may also need to request and receive documents or information from Social Security before proceeding with planning.
The BenefitU team will do their best to communicate what to expect and if there will be any changes in connection time following your intake.
Our services are intended to be short-term coaching and planning. We recommend having a list of goals or needs outlined in your intake paperwork so that we can make the most efficient use of your time and help you get back to what matters most in your life!
The duration of benefit planning can vary significantly based on factors such as individual needs, available information, and team availability. For relatively straightforward situations, it may be possible to address them in one to two meetings, while more complex cases could take several months to resolve
What information is helpful to have available during intake and while working with a benefits planner?
When meeting with BenefitU it is helpful to have the following information available:
- Clear goals, questions, or specific needs that you would like support with
- Any relevant letters or relevant correspondence from Social Security
- Paystubs or summary of your wages, along with details about your employment and pay rates
- Insurance cards or knowledge or insurance coverage and dates
- Documents related to any work incentives that may be in place (subsidy or special conditions, IRWE, PASS plans, etc.)
- If applicable, the contact information of key people who are familiar with your benefits and needs (job coach, family, friend, advocate, paid assistants)
BenefitU planners are here to help you better understand your benefits, address specific situations, and explore your options. Their role includes:
- Navigating overpayments
- Addressing potential loss of benefits
- Assessing your current benefits for greater autonomy and independence.
- Providing information on savings options like ABLE, DDETF to build wealth beyond benefit resource limits.
- Explaining how changes in employment (new job, raise, or job loss, etc.) may affect benefits.
- Assisting with benefits planning during major life changes such as marriage, divorce, death of a parent, retirement, or having children.
- Exploring work incentives to support your path to stability and an quality of life
- Answering general questions and inquiries about disability-related benefits
Please note: While our benefit planners can guide you on what to include, they generally cannot complete or submit paperwork on your behalf. Additionally, they cannot provide legal or tax advice but can refer you to appropriate resources. For more details about our services, visit the ‘Our Services’ page.
No, BenefitU planners can provide guidance on what information to include in your correspondence or applications related to benefits, but we are unable to complete or submit documents on your behalf.
We’ve made a plan and submitted some paperwork to Social Security for review. How long will this take to process, and will my services remain open until I receive a response from Social Security?
Social Security’s response time can vary widely, ranging from a few weeks to several months or even longer to reach a decision. Due to this uncertainty, our services are typically closed out after you’ve submitted the necessary documentation and addressed any other needs or questions.
If you have additional needs or questions following a ruling from Social Security, we recommend scheduling a ‘Return Customer Intake’ with us via the ‘Schedule an Intake’ page on the BenefitU website, and we will reconnect you with a planner as soon as possible.
I’ve worked with a BenefitU planner in the past and have new questions or needs. How do I get reconnected, and should I reach out to the planner I worked with directly?
After your services are completed, we may keep your file open for up to 90 days to address any additional needs that may arise. During this time, you can contact the planner you’ve previously worked with for support without requiring a new referral.
If new needs emerge in the future, please schedule a return customer intake using the beneficiary’s name and the primary email used when initially requesting services. Our team will review your request and connect you with a planner as soon as possible. You can schedule a return customer intake at this link.
Currently, BenefitU does not offer assistance with the actual completion, review, or submission of applications for the Social Security Administration (SSA) or other benefit programs. However, BenefitU can provide guidance on what information you should consider including in your Social Security Administration benefits application based on eligibility criteria. If you require direct support or have specific questions about the application, we recommend reaching out directly to the relevant issuing organization for assistance.
No, BenefitU is not directly affiliated with the Social Security Administration. BenefitU is a service and resource provided by Wise and is funded through the Washington Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA), rather than the Social Security Administration. While our Certified Benefits Planners may collaborate with Social Security to collect and confirm information as part of our benefits planning process, it’s important to note that we are an independent entity separate from the Social Security Administration.