Michael J. Van Essen
Michael Van Essen began his career with disability benefits advocacy when he was employed by AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA) as Social Security Administration trained Benefits Planning and Outreach representative.
After two years at APLA, Van Essen was employed by AIDS Service Center of Pasadena, Calif., and took the position of Outreach Educator. At this time, his prevention education and benefits advocacy was directed toward transitional aged youth in communities of color, as well as incarcerated adult populations and those in court mandated transitional living facilities.
Van Essen is currently the Benefits Establishment Specialist at Pacific Clinics, a behavioral health non-profit organization, headquartered in Arcadia, Calif. Pacific Clinics has over 70 clinical sites and wellness centers throughout Southern California. He brings the knowledge and experience he gained while working with people with HIV to the organization, which serves the mentally ill, many of whom are HIV positive.
In addition, he is under contract to the California Health Incentives Improvement Project conducting seminars, workshops and trainings throughout the state of California. The subject of these workshops is the Medi-Cal 250% Working Disabled Program as well as all additional aspects of the acquisition, maintenance and protection of public medical and financial benefits and those who are eligible to receive them.
For two fall semesters, Van Essen has been teaching a Benefits Establishment class at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo, Calif. This class is part of a certified 33 unit Paraprofessional Mental Health Worker curriculum. It covers all aspects of public income and health care disability benefits with emphasis on work incentives that have been designed to protect benefits safety nets while transitioning from disability into the workplace.
Mr. Van Essen reports that he has no significant relationships to disclose.