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Events Coming Soon
National Association of Benefits and Work Incentives Specialists (NABWIS)
The National Association of Benefits and Work Incentive Specialists (NABWIS) is comprised of the many and varied professionals providing assistance to individuals who receive disability benefits.
Welcome to the 2015 Webinar SeriesTo learn more please download our 2015 Webinar Series guide:
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1/24/2014 - NABWIS Webinar Series 2014
The NABWIS will be conducting a series of webinars to begin a national dialogue regarding essential competencies of practitioners, growing trends in continuous quality improvement, and showcase state models for building capacity and infrastructure of the field. This is the first in a series of dialogues NABWIS will engage in to further advance our field. This series of webinars is free to current members. Non-members can register to attend the entire series for $55.00 which will automatically provide them an individual professional or associate membership for a one-year period.
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4/10/2013 - NABWIS Responds to NPR's Series
NABWIS Responds to NPR's Series on This American Life and Planet Money Learn More...
3/29/13 - Update
Great news, SSA is taking steps to restart WIPA and PABSS. Below are the details of those next steps provided in an email from SSA:
- SSA will award FY 13 WIPA cooperative agreements to those entities submitting compliant applications that have previously applied for and, through a competitive process, received and performed WIPA cooperative agreements over the past several years. Upon reaching agreement with the entity on a budget, SSA will fund the cooperative agreements for a full 12 months, from August 1, 2013 through July 31, 2014. This period will be the first year of an up-to- 2-year extension of the previous cooperative agreements. The second year will be contingent on satisfactory performance during the year.
- SSA expects to issue Award notices no later than August 1, 2013: $20 million for WIPA grants and $3 million for training and technical assistance. The Agency will increase its resource capacity in the grants area in order to meet this aggressive timeline.
- SSA expects to issue Award notices to restart PABSS program no later than September 1, 2013.
- SSA will soon lift the stop-work order to allow the National Disability Rights Network to quickly resume technical assistance and training to the Protection and Advocacy networks as soon as the PABSS program is restarted.
Next StepsThe following is an outline of next steps to ensure timely issuance of award notices.
- During the week of April 1st, SSA’s Office of Acquisition and Grants (OAG) will issue the solicitation (Directed Application Announcement) to WIPA entities and PABSS grantees. The solicitation will identify items that each application must include (e.g., budget and program documents).
- Entities will have 30 days to prepare and submit applications to OAG.
- Within 65 -95 days of receipt of application, Grant specialists will review submitted materials, complete cost/business analysis, and conduct business review (e.g., screen applications to ensure, among other things, all prior terms and conditions were met, there are no outstanding audit issues or concerns.
- If an issue arises with the application during the cost/business review, the applicant is given the opportunity to make corrections/address issues. The applicant’s ability/willingness to respond to issues is typically the main driver of the length of the process.
- SSA plans to issue WIPA award notices by August 1, and PABSS award notices by September 1, 2013.
3/12/2013 - Update and Action Alert
Important: Update on WIPA/PABSS
There has been continued advocacy to get both the Work Incentive Planning and Assistance (WIPA) and Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) programs reinstated. A positive step on this front has recently occurred. The Department of Justice has advised SSA that they have the authority to fund both programs.
As you may recall, last year SSA phased out the WIPA and PABSS programs because they believed both programs required reauthorization from Congress for continued funding. Later in 2012 the GAO reviewed relevant law and provided an opinion that SSA did not need reauthorization to continue funding. At that point the SSA Commissioner decided clarification from the Department of Justice was required. This recent finding by the Department of Justice is in response to that request for clarification. SSA has indicated they would like to restore access to these services for beneficiaries, but there are few details about next steps or other issues that will need to be resolved. As more details become clear, updates will be emailed out.
Call to Action
As you know, Congress failed to finish the Fiscal Year 2013 appropriations process. We are currently functioning under a Continuing Resolution that will expire 3/27/13. It is expected that an additional Continuing Resolution will be needed to complete the Fiscal Year 2013 appropriations cycle. In addition to the advocacy noted above, there has also been advocacy to get an “anomaly” included in the upcoming Continuing Resolution to authorize WIPA/PABSS so that funds already allocated can be spent. Having this language in the new Continuing Resolution would be another way to provide clear direction for SSA to fund WIPA/PABSS.
What to do if you want to take action
Contact your senators, educate them about WIPA/PABSS and ask them "to support an anomaly in the Continuing Resolution to fund WIPA and PABSS programs".
Locate contact information for your Senators here: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfmFind a sample letter here.
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