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Work Incentives Benefits Counselor

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Work Incentives Benefits Counselor

The Work Incentives and Benefits Counselor assists consumers on public benefits and who have mental health disabilities who wish to become employed and/or more financially independent.


Who We Are: 

Founded in 1972 in Berkeley, California, the Center for Independent Living (CIL) emerged from the Independent Living movement of the 1970’s as a powerful force in helping people with disabilities achieve their independence. CIL is the model for hundreds of Independent Living Centers throughout the U.S. and the world. 

What We Do:

CIL directly serves about 1000 individuals each year. Services include peer counseling, assistive technology consultation and training, employment services, travel training, a residential access program that provides simple equipment allowing seniors and people with disabilities to stay in their homes, systems change advocacy, work and benefits counseling, and a Living Well with a Disability curriculum that helps seniors with aging-related physical and mental disabilities remain productive, healthy and engaged. CIL’s Information and Referral staff provide specialized, in-depth connections to resources to an additional 5000-6000 people a year. 

Our Guiding Principles: 

  • Comprehensive programs most effectively meet the needs of people with disabilities 
  • People with disabilities are the best experts on their lives 
  • The strongest and most vibrant communities are those that include and embrace disability 


The primary responsibility of the Work Incentives Benefits Counselor position is to assist consumers on public benefits and who have mental health disabilities who wish to become employed and/or more financially independent.  The Work Incentives Benefits Counselor must be able to assist consumers with understanding the impact of earned income on their benefits, and they must be skilled at connecting them with services and supports needed to obtain and maintain paid employment. 


  • Working knowledge of Social Security and other Federal, State and local work incentives programs.  CWIC Certification preferred but not required.  See:
  • Knowledge of public benefits programs, including basic operations and interactions between the programs, specifically in terms of how they are affected by employment.
  • Knowledge of Social Security field office structure and how to work with various Social Security work incentives specialists  e.g., Area Work Incentives Coordinators (AWICs),  the PASS Cadre, Work Incentives Liaisons (WILs).
  • Ability to translate technical information and assess consumers’ learning needs, while utilizing a variety of teaching strategies.
  • Familiarity with the California Department of Rehabilitation and Social Security’s Employment Network (EN).
  • Strong counseling and evaluation-related skills (ability to listen, evaluate alternatives, advise on potential course of action).
  • Ability to create and provide PowerPoint presentations 
  • BA and/or three (3) years of experience in disability services, an employment agency, or an advocacy-related organization including:
  • Demonstrated ability to manage time and multiple tasks effectively
  • Demonstrated ability to engage community members and employers
  • Experience in building relationships with public sector service providers
  • Ability to analyze situations accurately and to take effective action
  • Personal experience with disability
  • Excellent computer skills in MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, email and Internet
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Bi-lingual/bi-cultural highly desired

Physical Demands:

  • Sitting for long periods of time
  • Using computer monitor and keyboards for long periods of time
  • Regular travel to other agencies and organizations throughout Central and Northern Alameda County

Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions.

A Note to Potential Candidates:

Studies have shown that BIPOC and other people from marginalized groups are less likely to apply for jobs unless they meet all the qualifications described in the job description. If you believe that you could excel in this role, we encourage you to apply. We are committed to building a diverse and inclusive organization, and to considering a broad array of candidates, including those with diverse work experiences and backgrounds. Please use your cover letter to tell us about your interest in this position, and what you hope to bring to this role.


How to Apply:

If you are interested in joining CIL’s team, please submit the following application materials:

  • A cover letter describing your interest in CIL and how your past experience has prepared you for this role
  • Resume


All job offers are contingent on passing a pre-employment background check.

If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify the Director of Operations at hr (@)

CIL Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity), national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation or status as a protected veteran. Persons with disabilities, veterans, women, and minorities are encouraged to apply.

CIL is an E-Verify participating employer.


$28 – $32 per hour

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