P&A systems shall provide the services listed below:
- Investigate and review any complaint of improper or inadequate services provided to a beneficiary with a disability by an EN, service provider, employer or other entity, except Social Security, involved in the beneficiary's return to work effort.
- Provide information and referral to beneficiaries with disabilities about work incentives and employment, including information on the types of services and assistance that may be available to help beneficiaries to secure, maintain, or regain gainful employment including referrals to the local WIPA.
- Advocate, identify and correct deficiencies in entities providing vocational rehabilitation services, employment services and other support services to beneficiaries with disabilities, including reporting to Social Security Project Officers about identified deficiencies related to ENs and other concerns related to the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program. Social Security may refer ENs for P&A investigations if the EN appears to be engaging in deceptive or abusive business practices that may directly affect beneficiaries.
- Provide consultation to and legal representation on behalf of beneficiaries with disabilities when necessary to protect the rights of such beneficiaries to services and assistance available to help beneficiaries to secure, maintain, or regain gainful employment. To the extent possible, use alternative dispute resolution procedures.
- Support beneficiaries who have representative payees to understand their rights. Report suspected mismanagement of benefits or other abuses to Social Security and other proper Federal, State and local authorities.
P&A systems may also provide the following services:
- Provide information and technical assistance on work incentives to governmental agencies, ENs and other service providers, and advocacy organizations.
- Assist beneficiaries with disabilities in disputes before Social Security involving work-related program decisions and benefits overpayments that may be a barrier to securing, maintaining, or regaining employment. Examples of permissible activity include:
- Provide systemic advocacy. Systemic advocacy includes administrative or legislative advocacy and litigation, including but not limited to class actions. For example, grantees may pursue administrative advocacy or litigation on behalf of an individual client who may or may not be PABSS eligible, but who seeks a change in a policy that affects PABSS eligible clients who wish to obtain, maintain or increase work activity. Additionally, projects should target systemic advocacy to improve employment outcomes for PABSS eligible beneficiaries within the community.
- Provide consultation to and legal representation on behalf of beneficiaries with disabilities when such services become necessary to protect the rights of such beneficiaries. To the extent possible, use alternative dispute resolution procedures.
PABSS clients must be recipients of Social Security disability benefits, including SSDI, SSI, Medicaid and/or Medicare.
The PABSS program provides a full range of advocacy and legal services at no cost to eligible beneficiaries to assist individuals in obtaining, maintaining, returning to work or who experiencing barriers to their efforts to work. PABSS staff can also assist beneficiaries who are receiving or trying to receive work-related training and services.
The Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) program provides free advocacy, legal assistance, outreach, education, and training to individuals with disabilities who are receiving Social Security Benefits, are currently attempting to obtain, maintain, or return to work, and who are experiencing barriers in their efforts to work. PABSS was created through the Ticket to Work and Work Incentive Improvement Act of 1999, but an individual DOES NOT need to be using a Ticket to be eligible for services under the PABSS grant.
OCTOBER 1, 2016 to SEPTEMBER 30, 2017
Marc Fliedner, Esq.