Protection & Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security
The Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 authorized Social Security to award 57 Work Incentives Assistance Program grants to the designated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) system in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, five U.S. territories and the Navajo and Hopi reservations in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.
The P&A network is the nation’s largest provider of legally based advocacy service for people with disabilities. Social Security’s P&A Program, known as Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS), serves Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries with disabilities who want to work.
- Investigate complaints from a beneficiary against an Employment Network or other service provider helping them return to work;
- Give beneficiaries information and advice about vocational rehabilitation and employment services;
- Educate beneficiaries about Social Security's work incentives that will help when they return to work;
- Provide consultation and legal representation to protect a beneficiary’s rights in the effort to secure or regain employment;
- Assist beneficiaries to understand their rights if they have representative payees; and
- Help beneficiaries with problems concerning their individual work plan under the Ticket to Work Program.
Although PABSS does provide legal assistance, the scope for PABSS advice does not extend beyond disability-related employment issues. PABSS agencies also do not provide direct cash assistance.
These services are free to people receiving SSDI or SSI benefits based on disability or blindness. However, P&A providers cannot take on every case.
A PABSS may help with
A PABSS may NOT help with
|Access to the disputes with community service providers||Issues not related to the employment of the disabled beneficiary, such as:|
|Special education and Transition|
|Health care||Social Security disability applications|
|Disability benefits and work incentives||or appeals for entitlement for benefits|
|Rights and conditions of employment||Personal Injury|
|Vocational rehabilitation and preparation||Criminal defense|
|Rights, responsibilities, and reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disability Act||Attempts to obtain guardianship|
|Wage and hour issues||Property and probate issues|
|Housing Assistance||Direct cash assistance|
|Removing barriers to a beneficiary's return-to-work goal||Disputes with a representative payee, or assist you to receive your benefits in your own name|
Social Security contracted with the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) to provide technical assistance on administrative, systems, and management issues. NDRN is also responsible for providing mandatory Work Incentive training to PABSS staff.