In every State and U.S. Territory, there is an agency that protects the rights of individuals with disabilities. As authorized by the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999, the Social Security Administration (SSA) awarded 57 Work Incentives Assistance Program grants to the designated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) system in each of the fifty States, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Territories of American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the P&A system for Native Americans.
Each Protection and Advocacy System administers the Social Security Administration funded Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) program. Each PABSS project can:
· Check out any complaint you have against an employment network or other service provider that is helping you return to work,
· Give you information and advice about vocational rehabilitation and employment services,
· Tell you about SSA's work incentives that will help you return to work,
· Provide consultation and legal representation to protect your rights in the effort to secure or regain employment, and
· Help you with problems concerning your individual work plan under the Ticket to Work program.
These services are free to persons receiving Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits based on disability or blindness.
SSA has contracted with Cornell University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the University of Missouri-Columbia, to provide technical assistance and training to all P&A agencies on SSA's disability programs and work incentives, the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and on other Federal work incentives programs. SSA also entered into a contract with the National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems (NAPAS) to provide technical assistance on administrative, systems, and management issues to the P&A agencies.
To locate the PABSS project in your state, territory, or for Native Americans, call toll free 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY/TDD) for the hearing impaired. You can also find a list with contact information on the Internet at this SSA website page: http://www.ssa.gov/work/ServiceProviders/PADirectory.html.
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