Reauthorization of the WIPA and PABSS Programs

Public Input Provided in 2012

Input provided in support of reauthorization of the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance and the Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security programs

July 10, 2012

To: Kathryn Olson (kathryn.olson@mail.house.gov)

From: Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities
Cassie Fisher, Public Policy Specialist

The Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities (TCDD) is established by federal law in the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act and consists of a 27 member board, appointed by the Governor, 60 percent of whom are individuals with developmental disabilities or family members of individuals with disabilities. TCDD’s purpose in law is to encourage policy change so that people with disabilities have opportunities to be fully included in their communities and exercise control over their own lives.

TCDD supports amending the Social Security Act to ensure the continuation of services under the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) and the Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) programs. The WIPA program is an employment support service that is designed to enable Social Security Administration (SSA) beneficiaries to pursue their goals of personal employment and economic self-sufficiency. WIPA services refer to efforts by a thoroughly trained Community Work Incentive Counselor (CWIC) to provide accurate and complete information to SSA beneficiaries to enable them to obtain employment, return to work, and reduce the dependence on Social Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Income (SSDI). PABSS assists beneficiaries with problems encountered while obtaining, maintaining or regaining employment. Both the WIPA and PABSS programs provide essential information to persons with disabilities regarding their public benefits, along with advocacy and information to allow them to go to work and increase their self-sufficiency.

Research and evaluation of WIPA and PABSS programs have shown that these programs clearly reduce persons with disabilities reliance on public benefit programs1 and in turn help persons with disabilities gain self-sufficiency, financial independence and become taxpayers. Without the reauthorization of these programs persons with disabilities will have no place to receive benefits counseling and employment advocacy; presumably increasing the number of persons with disabilities not trying to gain substantial employment.

Sincerely,
Cassie Fisher

Footnotes


  1. G. Livermore, S. Prenovits, J. Schimmel, Employment-Related Outcomes of a Recent Cohort of Work Incentives Planning & Assistance (WIPA) Enrollees (PDF) (September 2011).