Due to the current pandemic, Social Security has canceled all Initial Trainings through July 2020. Please check the Upcoming Trainings webpage for up-to-date information about Initial Trainings.

Because of the complexity of work incentives, disability support, and poverty reduction programs, Social Security requires WIPA staff to participate in intensive initial training and pass a rigorous initial certification process prior to working with beneficiaries.

The competency assessment and certification process is directly linked to the CWIC initial training program. CWICs receive training on each of the core competencies during the 5-day initial training program, and then participate in the assessment activities to certify their competence in each of these main competency areas immediately following the training.

The assessment and certification process consists of two parts:

  • Part One: Part One of the certification process takes place in the six-week period immediately following the training class and involves completing a series of online competency-based assessments. For all participants, successful completion of the assessments during this six-week period results in Provisional Certification, and the authorization to continue on to Part Two of the certification process. For WIPA CWICs, successful completion of the Part One assessments also provides authorization to begin providing services to Social Security beneficiaries. The Part One assessment process takes, on average, 25-45 hours of time over the six-week period.
  • Part Two: Part Two of the certification process takes the assessment process to the next level by evaluating participants' ability to apply the concepts in developing BS&A reports for actual Social Security beneficiaries they are serving. Part Two of the process requires submission and successful review of three Benefits Summary & Analysis (BS&A) reports during the 12-month period immediately following successful completion of Part One.

For more detailed information on the assessment and certification process, please see the following:

2020 Part I Assessment and Certification Instructions: Word Version   PDF Version

2020 Part II Assessment and Certification Instructions: Word Version   PDF Version

Community Partners who are interested in and register for an Initial Training session, must also commit to full participation in the two-part initial assessment and certification process.

CWICs who successfully complete the two-part assessment and certification process will have a CWIC Certification.

Community Partner staff who successfully complete the two-part assessment and certification process will have a Community Partner Work Incentives Counseling Certification.

New Requirement: Beginning with the San Diego October 2019 CWIC Initial Training registration that will open in mid to late August, all staff of community partner agencies or organizations are required to first successfully complete the VCU NTDC Introductory Web Course, "Introduction to Social Security Disability Benefits, Work Incentives, and Employment Support Programs", before they are eligible to register for and participate in the CWIC and Community Partner Initial Training and Certification process.

The CWIC and Community Partner Initial Training and Certification is designed solely for professionals who deliver individualized work incentives counseling services to disability beneficiaries on a regular basis. Establishing the Introductory Web Course as a prerequisite is intended to help Community Partners understand what comprehensive, individualized work incentives counseling entails, and to make an informed decision about whether to pursue the initial training and certification.

Important Note for WIPA Projects: This requirement does not apply to staff and subcontractors of a WIPA project who will provide WIPA services. The requirement does, however, apply to other staff of a WIPA agency who do not provide WIPA funded services.

Please visit the Introductory Web Course page for more information and to access the calendar of upcoming courses.