Compensated Work Therapy


Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) is a Department of Veterans Affairs vocational rehabilitation program that endeavors to match and support work ready veterans in competitive jobs, and to consult with business and industry regarding their specific employment needs.   

Over the years CWT veterans have been successfully employed in various competitive positions including health care, information technology, manufacturing, warehousing, construction trades, clerical and office support, retail and the services delivery. 

Professional CWT staff provides state of the art vocational rehabilitation services; job matching and employment supports, case management, work site and job analysis, consultation regarding assistive technology, accommodation, and guidance in addressing ADA regulations compliance. 

CWT Program services are targeted to veterans who are unemployed, and who present with serious and persistent mental illnesses and/or substance abuse problems and medical disabilities that interfere with their ability to access and/or retain meaningful employment.

For information on the national program,



The mission of the Compensated Work Therapy Programs is to assist veterans to enter or re-enter the workforce.  The program provides services to individuals with disabilities that may cause barriers to employment.  Studies have found that returning to competitive employment in the community, regardless of the number of hours worked, results in greater independence, social integration and personal well being.


Forms of Compensated Work Therapy

Transitional work

Support in finding a job (resume, places to work, advocacy with employers, accommodations for disabilities,

Often in the VA hospital setting; A bridge to a competitive job that ends when a competitive job is found

Supported Employment

Support in finding a job

Continuing support to retain the job (work with employer on specific duties, manner of work, help for employers to understand symptoms and issues faced, issues with concentration and social behavior)

Continues as long as the Veteran wants or needs that level of support

What is Supported Employment Services?

  1. The program concentrates on helping you to develop your work goals, dreams, skills and abilities to succeed at employment.
  2. The goal is to assist you in finding and maintaining competitive employment in the community
  3. No lengthy pre-employment training is involved
  4. Treatment will be coordinated with your clinicians and other treatment team members
  5. Services are based on your preference for work
  6. Supports will be provided for an unlimited period of time

Note: For research on the Vocational Rehabilitation for Psychiatric Disability see:


Your Employment Specialist will assist you with the following:

  1. Clarifying what kind of work you would like to do
  2. Resume preparation
  3. Interview preparation
  4. Coordination of transportation
  5. Networking and utilizing community resources
  6. Connecting with employers
  7. Link to handbook for download

After you have obtained a job

  1. Individualized job coaching. 
  2. Deciding when, if and how to disclose personal and medical information
  3. Assistance with job "start up" – orientation, time cards, job duties; safety review (what to do if an emergency occurs while on the job – i.e. fire, emergency, accident on the job)
  4. Helping you to identify and negotiate reasonable accommodations or modifications if necessary
  5. Identifying and building on your strengths
  6. Stress management
  7. Social skills training
  8. Job retention

Eligibility - Who can receive CWT Transitional and Supported Employment Services?

To be eligible for Supported Employment services you must:

Be a veteran in treatment with the VA Medical Center with a disability that causes a barrier to employment

Be referred by your clinician

Your Right to fair services:

The VA Connecticut Health Care System, along with Supported Employment services management, ensures that our program functions with the utmost regard for the preservation of the human rights of those it serves.

Supported Employment Services treats everyone it serves fairly, regardless of race, age, religion, color, sex, national origin, veteran or military status, handicap or disability, sexual orientation, marital status or any other condition protected by Federal or State law.

Your Team:

  1. The SES staff members who will work closest with you are your Employment Specialist and Program Director. 
  2. This is your team and they will work for you as along as you want them to. 
  3. Your employment specialist will also coordinate services with your clinicians and other treatment providers. 
  4. You may also opt to include family members or a close friend to be part of your team. 
  5. Supported Employment Services has no time limits and will be available to you indefinitely, provided your continued participation.

Getting Started:

  1. Your clinician will refer you to the Supported Employment Program
  2. An Employment Specialist will be assigned to you and will call to schedule an appointment
  3. At the first couple of appointments, your employment specialist will conduct an intake and assessment to start gathering information about you that we will use in searching for work. This will include your past work history, your strengths and what type of work and environment you would like to work in
  4. You and your Employment Specialist will write an individual plan to set employment goals

Treatment Plan

Within the first 10 business days or by the third appointment in the program, your employment specialist will develop a plan with you that will be written to meet your individual needs and goals. 

This document is meant to guide you as you move towards achieving employment and will be updated every 6 months or whenever significant changes in employment status occurs.  It will take into account the following:

  1. Your work skills and strengths
  2. Your dreams and aspirations
  3. Any concerns that need to be addressed such as medical, transportation, benefits counseling, Medical and psychological history
  4. Concerns or obstacles that may interfere with employment, and how best to address them

Job Search

Once an individual plan has been written with you, your vocational specialist will assist you with a job search.  This may include:

  1. Assistance writing a resume and filling out applications
  2. Assistance with identifying employers and companies that meet your needs
  3. Contacting employers to follow-up on applications and to set up interviews
  4. Assistance with interview skills, including attending the interview with you if requested
  5. Assistance with addressing gaps in work history, medical needs and other personal needs with an employer. 
  6. Helping you in determining what information, if any, will be disclosed to an employer. The final decision is left to you.
  7. Negotiating reasonable accommodations on the job

Once you obtain a job,

your employment specialist will provide on-going job coaching supports to assist you in starting and maintaining your job.  These could include:

  1. Filling out paperwork
  2. Assuring that your supervisor has reviewed any safety needs and concerns specific to your work environment
  3. Assisting you in adjusting to your new job and tasks
  4. Training for new tasks
  5. Coordinating with your employer to resolve and issues as they may arise on the job.
  6. Your employment specialist MAY NOT share any personal or medical information with an employer without your written consent


Your Obligations as a Participant with Supported Employment:

  1. You have a desire to work or want to explore employment
  2. To show up for each appointment or call to cancel or reschedule if necessary
  3. Understand that undertaking a job search and/or working can be time consuming and difficult – so give your self a lot of encouragement and ask for it from others in your life
  4. Understand you are not obligated to follow suggestions made by your employment specialist
  5. Bring any questions you may have to the attention of your counselor for discussion

Accredited by CARF – The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation facilities



The things in your file may not be shown to people outside Veterans Industries/Supported Employment Services Program without your permission. 

If you want to view your files or a copy of your files, you must follow the VA Connecticut Health Care medical records procedures.  Your employment Specialist can assist you with this.

Your employment specialist may not share any personal or medical information with an employer without your written consent.

Compensated Work Therapy/Transitional Residence Program  Collaboration

The Compensated Work Therapy/ Transitional Residence Program (CWT/TR) is a work-based Psychosocial Residential Rehabilitation Treatment Program (PRRTP) offering a therapeutic residential setting for veterans involved in Compensated Work Therapy (CWT).

This program provides a rehabilitation-focused residential setting for veterans recovering from chronic mental  illness, chemical dependency and homelessness.

CWT/TR provides a bridge between hospitalization or intensive outpatient treatment and successful community reintegration. The program utilizes a residential therapeutic community of peer and professional support, with a strong emphasis on increasing personal responsibility and achievement of individualized rehabilitation goals.  

CWT/TR differs from other VA-operated residential bed programs in that participants contribute (using their VI/CWT earnings) to the cost of operating and maintaining their residences and are responsible for planning, purchasing and preparing their own meals. 

For more information on the program see:  




While the contents of this site have been developed in cooperation with VA personnel, it is not an official site of the Department of Veterans Affairs.


Contact information

CWT Director - Mary Sperrazza —203.479.8026


Vocational Specialists:

Kenneth Bouchard- 203.932.5711 x5498

June Heffernan—860.594.6308

Lloyd Inabinet —203.479.3071

Ernest Johnson—203.415.6805

Kathryn Petruccione—203.500.7006

Stacey Rovinsky- 203.506.4068

Scott Smith-203.464-7018

Monita Sundell—860.212.0014

Juliet Taylor – 203.506.4077


Office Hours:

8:00 – 4:30 Monday through Friday


Our Locations


Errera Community Care Center
114 Boston Post Road, 2nd Floor
West Haven, CT 06516

VA Medical Center – West Haven - 
950 Campbell Avenue, Building 6
,  West Haven, CT  06515,  
203.932.5711, Extension 3587

VA Medical Center – Newington - 555 Willard Avenue, Building 2 3d Floor (Mental Hygiene Wing), Newington, CT  06511,  860.594.6323


CWT Contact For Employers

CWT provides a wide range of services for industry  including; work site and job assessment, staff training and consultation services, employee assessment and screening, and job matching and follow-up services. 

CWT supports veterans through vocational case management and workplace supports to facilitate continued employment success.  

In conjunction with the CWT program, industry is able to expand its work ready applicant pool and develop a pre-screening opportunity for future employees.

If your company in Connecticut is searching for prescreened workers to address staffing shortfalls, please contact us. 


Veterans' Comments:

I hadn't worked in 20 years – the support I was given made me realize I could go to work like everybody else“                                                                                                      “Bob"

"Typically, when I had a relapse, and my symptoms went out of control, I would quit my job.  This time, my employment specialist was able to speak with my boss and clear the way for me to take some time off and return to my job"                                         "Rita"


"I had no problem getting a job – but keeping a job was a whole other story,   when I logged in 35 jobs in four years – I knew I needed help in this area – working with supported employment and my psychiatrist gave me a chance for stability in a job that I love – January 2007 will be one year on the job – with two raises"                            "Nick"

This is a website maintained by Veterans and volunteers. While the contents of this site have been developed in cooperation with VA personnel, it is not an official site of the Department of Veterans Affairs. 

Unknown user,
Jun 13, 2014, 2:16 PM
Unknown user,
Jun 13, 2014, 2:16 PM
Unknown user,
Jun 22, 2015, 4:17 PM