Resources To Assist You Return To Work
You can get information about SSA’s employment support provisions at any of our SSA field offices around the country. You may also call us toll free at 1-800-772-1213, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Each of our local Social Security offices has a WIL who provides advice and information about our work incentive provisions and employment support programs to individuals with disabilities and outside organizations that serve those with disabilities.
AWICs are experienced employment support experts who:
- 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 at local Social Security offices;
- Handle sensitive or high profile disability work-issue cases, if necessary; and
- Monitor the disability work-issue workloads in their respective areas
Information on how to contact your local AWIC is available at the following Internet sites:
A BPQY provides information about a beneficiary’s disability cash benefits, health insurance, scheduled continuing disability reviews, representative payee, and work history, as stored in SSA’s electronic records. The BPQY is an important planning tool for a beneficiary, an AWIC, Plan to Achieve Self-Support Specialist, benefits counselor, or other person who may be developing customized services for a disability beneficiary who wants to start working or stay on the job.
We provide BPQYs to beneficiaries, their representative payees and their authorized representatives of record upon request. Beneficiaries can request a BPQY by contacting their local SSA office or by calling SSA’s toll free number, 1-800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. People who are deaf or hard-of-hearing may call our toll-free TTY/TDD number, 1-800-325-0778, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
If someone other than the beneficiary, representative payee, or appointed representative (a benefits counselor, for example) wishes to receive a BPQY, they must submit two SSA-3288 forms (Consent for Release of Information) that have been signed by the beneficiary. One is to authorize the release of Social Security records and the other to authorize the release of Internal Revenue Service earnings records. Both releases must contain the beneficiary’s Social Security number or the claim number. Copies of the SSA-3288 are available at http://www.socialsecurity.gov/online/ssa-3288.pdf.
WISE feature information to help Social Security disability beneficiaries make the decision to re-enter the workforce or to work for the first time. Social Security-approved service providers, including Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Networks, discuss the services and supports they offer, while former beneficiaries who participated in the Ticket to Work (TTW) program and became employed share accounts of their success. All WISE take place via free internet-based webinars. Many of the webinars are designed to address a broad range of disabilities, while others target people in specific disability categories or age ranges. The webinar-based format allows beneficiaries to learn about vital employment resources easily. In addition to the current webinar, beneficiaries may access archived webinars 24 hours a day, at their convenience.
As an added benefit, immediately following selected WISE webinars, Social Security-approved representatives answer participants’ questions about employment, the TTW program, and work incentives. These popular Facebook-based “You Asked. We Answer.” events are great opportunities to connect with experts who can help beneficiaries who want to work and understand the range of supports available to them from Social Security.
Employment Networks and State Vocational Rehabilitation agencies furnish a wide variety of services to help people with disabilities return to work. These services may provide you with the training or other support that you need to return to work, to enter a new line of work, or to enter the workforce for the first time. You can also find a list of state Employment Networks and Vocational Rehabilitation agencies in our service provider directory on our website at www.socialsecurity.gov/work.
If you are working and have limited income, you may be eligible for an IDA through the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program or an Assets for Independence Act (AFIA) grant. An IDA is a trust-like bank account that helps you save your earnings to go to school, buy a home, or start a business. When you make a deposit to the account, a participating non-profit organization matches your deposit. The typical match is one dollar for each dollar that you deposit. The Federal government adds an additional match, limited to $2,000 for an individual or $4,000 for a household over the life of the program (usually five years).
If you have an IDA through TANF or an AFIA grant, we do not count any earnings you deposit into your account, any matching deposits, or any interest earned as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) income or resources. As a result, your SSI benefits may increase.
Note: IDAs that are not federally funded are not exempt from SSI and will be counted under the income and resource rules of SSI.
We do not determine whether you are eligible to have an IDA. For more information about IDAs and to locate a program in your area, visit: www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/ocs/afi/index.html.
American Job Centers (formerly known as One-Stop Career Centers) provide job seekers, with and without disabilities, a variety of tools and services to help them get back to work. Services include training, referrals, career counseling, job listings and other similar employment-related services. Tools, many of which are available on-line, assist job seekers with career exploration, skill assessments (including identifying transferable skills), credential listings, and job openings. Customers can visit a Center in person or connect to the Center’s information through PC or kiosk remote access. Many American Job Centers are also Employment Networks and can accept your ticket under the TTW Program. You can locate your closest American Job Center at www.servicelocator.org.
JAN provides free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues to help people with disabilities enhance their employability. JAN consultants offer one-on-one guidance on workplace accommodations, the Americans with Disabilities Act and related legislation, and self-employment options for people with disabilities. Assistance is available both over the phone and online. You can contact JAN by phone at 800-526-7234 (Voice) or 877-781-9304 (TTY). The JAN website (www.AskJAN.org) is a rich source of information that makes a chat service available and features the Searchable Online Accommodation Resource.
The Federal Government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM) has a special hiring authority for hiring workers with disabilities that have certain significant physical, psychiatric, or mental disabilities. These are also known as targeted disabilities. For more information see the OPM Web site at: www.opm.gov/disability/index.asp.
AmeriCorps is a national network of service programs that engage Americans to meet the nation’s needs in priority areas like disaster services, economic opportunity, education, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, and veterans and military families. We exclude the stipend that AmeriCorps members receive in the determination of SSI benefits. For Social Security Disability Insurance recipients, the income exclusion only applies to the AmeriCorps VISTA program. For more information, go to the AmeriCorps website at www.americorps.gov.