I'm on Social Security disability but thinking of trying to go back to work, if I can get some retraining. A friend recommended I look into the WIPA program. What is it, and where can I get more information?
The same law that created Social Security's Ticket to Work Program, the "Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act," created the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) program.
Under the WIPA program, public, private, and nonprofit entities throughout the United States were contracted to create WIPA projects. Each WIPA project was staffed with Community Work Incentive Coordinators (CWICs) trained by Social Security to help you make informed decisions about returning to work. Specifically, CWICs can:
- provide planning and assistance to encourage disability recipients to return to work (such as assisting with writing PASS plans and accompanying SSI recipients to Social Security offices to meet with field representatives regarding work incentive issues)
- help disability recipients and their families determine eligibility for federal or state work incentives programs (including programs other than Social Security programs, such as utility subsidy and housing programs)
- refer disability recipients to appropriate ENs or state departments of rehabilitation based on individual needs and impairment types
- provide information about employee-based or federally subsidized health benefits coverage (Medicare or Medicaid) available to those who enter the workforce
- inform disability recipients of the protection and advocacy services available to them
- coordinate efforts of various agencies working with the disabled to assist them in returning to work (including state departments of rehabilitation, ENs, one-stops, and the WIPAs themselves), and
- provide outreach by means of workshops, websites, and other communications to disability recipients to advise them of the availability of WIPA services.
To find WIPA counselors near you, use Social Security's Find Help tool at choosework.ssa.gov (select "Benefits Counseling (WIPA).