The goal for many disabled individuals is to return to work in some capacity and the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) is a program intended to help those receiving Social Security Disability benefits find appropriate employment.
In 2006, the Social Security Administration (SSA) created the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance program to replace the old Benefits Planning, Assistance and Outreach program. The Work Incentives Planning and Assistance program operates similarly to the old program by providing job assistance, but has an increased focus on providing incentives and support for Social Security Disability beneficiaries who are returning to work.
The Work Incentives Planning and Assistance program operates through the Social Security Administration (SSA) and is authorized federally under the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999.
The Work Incentives Planning and Assistance program is structured through national cooperatives that work with various community organizations to provide work and training to Social Security Disability beneficiaries. These cooperative agreements, run by Community Work Incentive Coordinators (CWICs), are operating in cities in most states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The main goals of the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance program are to:
Provide incentives and assistance to disabled Social Security Disability beneficiaries and help them learn skills needed for employment.
Educate Social Security Disability beneficiaries on health care benefits and insurance coverage provided by potential employers and determine if the level of coverage is sufficient for the beneficiary’s disability.
Collaborate with the Social Security Administration to reach out to beneficiaries who are eligible and able to participate in work incentive programs.
Act as a reference source for Social Security Disability beneficiaries and match them with work incentive programs appropriate for their skill and education level.
Work Incentives Planning and Assistance programs are federally authorized to provide services to all disabled individuals receiving Social Security Disability benefits and can be an important resource and advocacy tool to disabled people seeking employment.