Monday, March 5, 2012

Your Help Needed! Ask Key Members of Congress to Introduce the Social Security Work Incentive Amendments of 2012

This was sent to me by Bryon MacDonald of the World Institute on Disability.
Issue: Do-Nothing Congress fails Social Security Disability Beneficiaries who want to work.

Resolution: The Social Security Work Incentive Amendments of 2012

National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) members request the Congress to introduce and improve the draft bill that Social Security has sent to the Hill called the “Social Security Work Incentive Amendments of 2012.” The bill is a good start. It reauthorizes for five years counseling services that can increase employment for those who experience long breaks from the workforce.

• More Social Security Disability Beneficiaries Want Jobs Now!

Flat funded since 2000, Social Security's Work Incentives, Planning and Assistance Program (WIPA) does not have enough funds to serve the Social Security disability beneficiaries who are making attempts to work or working today (Livermore 2009, Mathematica Policy Research).

• Social Security work rules are complicated!

This bill should increase funding for employment and benefits counseling services and require better use of online benefits planning tools that save time, and reach more Social Security disability beneficiaries planning to work.

What You Can Do: Ask Key Members of Congress to Introduce this Bill Now!

Representative Sam Johnson, Chair (Facebook Page)
US House Subcommittee on Social Security
1211 Longworth Building
Washington, DC, 20515
Phone 202-225-4201

Texas District Office
2929 North Central Expressway, Suite 240
Richardson, Texas 75080
Phone 972-470-0892

Representative Xavier Becerra, Ranking Member (Facebook Page)
US House Subcommittee on Social Security
1226 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: 202-225-6235
Fax: 202-225-2202

Los Angeles District Office
1910 W Sunset Boulevard, Suite 810
Los Angeles, CA 90026
Phone: 213-483-1425
Fax: 213-483-1429

Background Information: The 2012 SSA Transmittal to Congress

January 5, 2012

The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker of the House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Mr. Speaker:

Enclosed for consideration by the Congress is a draft bill to improve our work incentive provisions and extend the funding authority for two of our work incentive programs, the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) program and the Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) program. I have also enclosed a more detailed description of the proposal.

The bill would expand WIPA-which we would rename the Work Incentives and Self¬ Sufficiency Education (WISE) program-to include planning and assistance for self-sufficiency and financial independence. It would also extend funding for five years for WISE and the PABSS programs. Additionally, the bill would eliminate the maximum ($300,000) fiscal year cap on an entity’s WISE funding.

The legislation establishing these programs initially authorized appropriations for five years, after which the Congress extended the appropriations authorizations for another five years. Recently, the Congress has authorized several one-year extensions, and the current authorization expired at the end of fiscal year 2011. We are requesting 5-year extensions as longer-term appropriations authorizations are vital to our continued successful planning and implementation of WISE and PABSS, which are integral parts of our employment and work incentive mission.

The Office of Management and Budget has advised that it has no objection to the transmittal of this proposed legislation to the Congress and that enactment would be consistent with the program of the President. We urge the Congress to give the draft bill prompt and favorable consideration.

I am sending an identical letter to the Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr., President of the Senate.

Michael J. Astrue
Commissioner of Social Security

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