About Us

The Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) National Training and Data Center (NTDC) conducts training, certification, technical assistance, and professional development activities that support professional work incentives counselors across the country serving Social Security beneficiaries with disabilities. Our audience includes individuals working in Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) projects and other community organizations who provide accurate and timely benefits counseling for beneficiaries with disabilities as they pursue their employment and economic self-sufficiency goals.

Since 2007, the VCU National Training and Data Center has been the national leader in providing training and certification, technical assistance, and professional development activities for professional work incentives counselors across the country. We operate a large number of on-site and distance-based training classes, a rigorous testing and certification program, web courses, live webinars, on-demand learning modules, an ongoing continuing education program, and extensive individualized technical assistance to individuals serving beneficiaries.

Our Programs

All of the NTDC's training activities are provided free of charge to participants. Our key programs include:


We maintain an online portal that individuals can use to register for trainings, access archived supplemental trainings and other resources, complete certification assessments, check on their progress in our training and continuing certification programs, and other important functions. Over 2,000 individuals access the myNTC portal each year.

Introductory Web Course

The NTDC offers the two-week web course, "Introduction to Social Security Disability Benefits, Work Incentives, and Employment Support Programs" twelve times each year. The web course provides an overview of disability benefit programs, such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and describes the effect of employment on those benefits. The course provides a basic foundation for individuals seeking authoritative information on the benefit programs and is a requirement for participants entering our formal initial training and certification program. Over 1,000 participants enroll in the course each year.

Initial Training and Certification

The NTDC operates the only Social Security funded benefits counseling training and certification program, which has trained thousands of benefits counselors in all 50 states and territories who assist disability beneficiaries to expand their employment opportunities and reduce their dependence on federal disability benefits. We provide the Community Work Incentives Coordinator (CWIC) certification for benefit counselors working in Social Security's WIPA programs, as well as the Community Partner Work Incentives Counselor (CPWIC) certification for individuals working in Employment Networks, Vocational Rehabilitation, employment service organizations and other community agencies.

Continuing Certification Program

The NTDC operates a large continuing certification credit (CCC) program, which is designed to help ensure the quality and accuracy of the services provided to beneficiaries by the CWICs and CPWICs. We require counselors to obtain a specified number of continuing certification credits to maintain their formal certification. Over 700 individuals are currently participating in the NTDC's continuing certification program each year.

Online, Real-Time, and Archived Supplemental Trainings

The NTDC provides a large number of supplemental trainings that assist CWICs and CPWICs to expand and improve their skills while completing their continuing certification requirements. Online web courses provide detailed information on Medicare, Medicaid, other federal benefits and other topics. We develop and deliver real-time webinars based on participant input and guidance from Social Security. Recent topics have included wage reporting, supported beneficiaries through job loss, and the age-18 SSI determination process. The NTDC also maintains a large archived training database, which allows participants to access dozens of prior webinars and trainings on demand.

Technical Assistance

The NTDC provides in-depth technical assistance to all individuals participating in the NTDC's Introductory Web Course, initial training and certification activities, or supplemental trainings. We also provide technical assistance on individual cases to CWICs and CPWICs providing counseling services to beneficiaries. Our highly experienced staff provide over 2,000 technical assistance contacts each year.

Program Accessibility

The NTDC is committed to ensuring that all documents, listserv postings, on-site training and technical assistance events, website functions, registration processes, certification assessments, teleconferences, online courses, and other NTDC activities meet or exceed all accessibility standards. In addition, VCU staff members routinely work with training and technical assistance participants to ensure that our technology works effectively with their assistive technology needs and preferences. Any individual needing specific accommodations should contact us at your convenience.