This topic provides information about the Social Security Administration's Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) Program. This program replaced the former Benefits Planning Assistance and Outreach (BPAO) Program.
You may read the topic in sequence, or jump to any specific section in the following list:
· What is a WIPA?
· What can they do for me?
· How is the WIPA program different from the Benefits Planning, Assistance and Outreach (BPAO) program?
· How do I get in touch the project close to me?
· What if there aren't any local organizations in my area?
· Additional Information
The Social Security Administration (SSA) awarded cooperative agreements to a variety of community organizations called Work Incentive Planning and Assistance (WIPA) projects. These WIPA projects have Community Work Incentive Coordinators (CWICs) to provide all SSA beneficiaries with disabilities (including transition-to-work aged youth) access to benefits planning and assistance services. Cooperative agreements were awarded throughout most States, The District of Columbia, and the U.S. Territories of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
· Local organizations that have arranged with Social Security to provide work incentive and planning services for Social Security SSDI and SSI beneficiaries.
· These local organizations have people who have been specially trained to help you.
· There are local organizations in most of the 50 states, DC and the U.S. territories.
· In areas where a local organization is not yet available you can get services through a toll-free number -- see below.
· Answer questions about the SSA work incentives.
· Help you create a Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS).
· Plan how work incentives and other federal, state, and local assistance plans can help you return to work.
· Answer your questions about the Ticket to Work.
· Help you find an Employment Network.
The ultimate goal of the new WIPA projects is to support the successful employment of beneficiaries with disabilities. Some of the enhancements in the new projects are as follows:
· Benefit Specialists under the WIPA program will be referred to as Community Work Incentives Coordinators (CWICS) and will be focusing on improved community partnerships. One of the ways in which this will be done is by conducting periodic Work Incentives Seminars (WISE) to provide beneficiaries with disabilities the opportunity to meet directly with WIPAs, Employment Networks (EN), and public and private community-based organizations. Each WISE is expected to last approximately 2 hours and will provide beneficiaries with information about available work incentives and job supports needed to either assign their Ticket or pursue other employment options. The Program Manager for Recruitment and Outreach (PMRO) will plan the WISE, with assistance from the WIPA’s, CWICs and input from SSA.
· The WIPAs will work with CESSI, a division of Axiom Resource Management, Inc. who was awarded a five-year Program Manager for Recruitment and Outreach (PMRO) contract to provide marketing services for SSA's work incentives programs, including the Ticket to Work Program.
· In many states these services are provided by one organization. Some states have more than one project.
· SSA maintains a list of WIPAs on its website. Select your state from the list and then find the area where you live in that state. The most recent WIPA list is available online at:
· SSA has arranged for work incentives planning and assistance services for beneficiaries who reside in the areas where there is currently no WIPA project, and for beneficiaries who reside in areas where the WIPA does not have staff trained under the former Benefits Planning, Assistance and Outreach Program.
· This service will be provided by an experienced WIPA project, Imagine Enterprises, in Texas (known as the "Transitional WIPA"), via a toll-free telephone line.
· The toll-free number is 866-426-1132. It is now in operation; the hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern Time.
Detailed information about how the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) Projects work with the Program Manager for Recruitment and Outreach (PMRO) is available at:
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