Social Security created the full-time position of Area Work Incentives Coordinator (AWIC) to coordinate and/or conduct public outreach on work incentives in their local areas; provide and/or coordinate and oversee training on SSA's employment support programs for all personnel; handle some sensitive or high profile disability work-issue cases, if necessary; and monitor the disability work-issue workloads in their respective areas. The AWICs coordinate with the Work Incentives Liaisons in local offices, Public Affairs Specialists, the Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) Cadre members and other personnel.
Each local Social Security Administration (SSA) office has a Work Incentive Liaison (WIL) who provides advice and information to individuals and works with outside organizations that serve people with disabilities. The Work Incentive Liaison is a Social Security employee especially trained in the work incentive provisions of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The WIL acts as a central contact person for work incentive activities throughout the district, and coordinates with the Area Work Incentives Coordinator (AWIC). The WIL is the liaison to outside organizations dealing with disabled individuals, vocational rehabilitation offices, offices for the visually or hearing impaired, sheltered workshops, rehabilitation facilities, etc., as well as all the Social Security employees in the district.
The Social Security Administration has an elite group of benefits specialists, known as the PASS Cadre, who are trained to work with a Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS). When an individual submits a PASS application to their local SSA office, it is sent to a member of the PASS Cadre for review and to make sure the work goal is reasonable. This PASS expert will work directly with the individual for clarifications, and help make changes in the application, if needed.
SSA has contracted with local organizations to provide work incentive and planning services for Social Security SSDI and SSI beneficiaries. The WIPA agencies have people who have been specially trained to help individuals with disabilities considering returning to work or returning to work. There are WIPAs in most of the 50 states, DC and the U.S. territories.
SSA pays State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies for the cost of the services they furnish to people receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments based on disability or blindness if certain conditions are met. The services must result in the individual’s return to work for at least nine continuous months at a substantial earnings level, which is referred to as substantial gainful activity.
Protection and Advocacy (P&A) organizations comprise the nationwide network of congressionally mandated, legally based disability rights agencies. P&A agencies have the authority to provide legal representation and other advocacy services, under all federal and state laws, to all people with disabilities. All P&As maintain a presence in facilities that care for people with disabilities, where they monitor, investigate and attempt to remedy adverse conditions. These agenciesalso devote considerable resources to ensuring full access to inclusive educational programs, financial entitlements, healthcare, accessible housing and productive employment opportunities.