Independent Living Advocate/Benefits Specialist, Grade 5

Job Title: Independent Living Advocate/Benefits Specialist, Grade 5

Reports to:  Manager of Advocacy

FLSA Status/Schedule:  Non-Exempt; 37.5 hours per week

Location:  Syracuse

ARISE’s mission is to work with people of all abilities to create a fair and just community in which everyone can fully participate.

Job Summary:

The Independent Living Advocate/Benefits Specialist assists individuals to resolve current and prevent future financial crisis through: securing needed resources, linking to support services, planning, and education.  Inform the community about financial benefits and all of ARISE’s programs through: information and referrals, workshops, presentations, and outreach activities.


  • Bachelor’s Degree or combination of education and work experience
  • Solid math, money management, and budgeting skills
  • Extensive knowledge of local community resources
  • Experience working with Medicaid, Supplemental Needs Trusts/Pooled Trusts, SSA’s Work Incentives, SSI/SSDI, DSS/TANF, HEAP and FS programs
  • Proven ability to work with diverse populations
  • Experience working with individuals with disabilities
  • Creativity to produce training materials and organize benefits workshops
  • Excellent documentation skills and attention to detail
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite
  • Excellent organizational and communication skills
  • Ability to multitask and perform under pressure, dealing with a high volume of individuals experiencing crisis
  • Clean Drive License and reliable transportation

Essential Functions:

  • Assist a minimum of 57 unduplicated individuals annually who experience financial crisis with applying for benefits and income support
  • Provide information on and refer program participants to needed resources
  • Conduct one-on-one support sessions for a minimum of 57 program participants to meet their needs and independent living goals
  • Respond to a high volume of calls for information on benefits
  • Conduct 4 workshops annually to inform providers about the program and disability benefits
  • Develop training materials and presentations as needed
  • Provide trainings and presentations on benefits in the community
  • Respond to requests for information and referrals from the community
  • Participate in community outreach by representing ARISE and all of its programs at community events
  • Contribute to the success of the Advocacy Department’s outcomes to create systems change by: participating in legislative meetings, public hearings, action alerts and rallies; collecting voter registrations; recruiting individuals to participate in committees; and as directed
  • Participate in agency and departmental meetings
  • Complete all required program documentation as well as monthly, 6 month and annual reporting
  • Uphold the codes of conduct and ethics as well as all ARISE policies and procedures
  • Exercise sound judgment as a matter of course and hold protected health information and other sensitive information in the strictest of confidence in accordance with ARISE and HIPAA policies
  • Other duties as assigned


  • Generous paid time off includes:
    • 12 holidays
    • 20 Earned Time Off days in years 1 & 2; increases to 25 ETO days after 2 years
  • Participation in the 401(k) plan can start as soon as the first of the calendar quarter following date of hire; employer match after one year includes 100% vesting immediately
  • Very affordable, comprehensive group medical insurance coverage, as well as dental and vision coverage
  • Flexible spending arrangement (medical / dependent care)
  • Free life insurance and long term disability coverage
  • Free / Confidential Employee Assistance Program
  • Option to enroll in voluntary benefit plans at annual open enrollment