It's time for the latest NENA E-News!
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for your Employment Network (EN)!
News to Know
On January 30th, firstname.lastname@example.org sent out guidance regarding this year’s Security Awareness Form Requirements. From Ticket to Work:
The deadline for submitting the annual Security Awareness Form certification using Form SSA-222 and the Addendum is February 27, 2023. Failure to complete and return these documents by the due date will result in a block of your Employment Network's (EN) Ticket Portal access, a hold be placed on your EN, and in possible termination.
All EN staff must review, sign and keep a copy of the form on file at your EN location. In addition to signing the individual form(s) and keeping them onsite, the Signatory Authority or Suitability Contact must complete the attached Addendum form that lists all staff, including the individual filling out the Addendum, who have completed the SSA-222 for your EN. The Addendum(s) must be submitted via email to SecurityAwarenessTraining222@yourtickettowork.ssa.gov by Monday, February 27, 2023.
Please include your PID in the subject of the email.
Note – If you are a one-person EN, you may submit a signed (wet signature) copy of the Security Awareness Form (SSA-222) via email. The Addendum is not required.
New this year, the Addendum requires that the job title must be provided for all staff who have completed the SSA-222 for your EN. Please note that the job title does NOT refer to the EN contact (i.e., Program Contact, Signatory Authority, Payments Contact, Ticketholder Contact or Directory/Web Contact); instead, it refers to the organizational job title (e.g., Employment Specialist, Counselor or CEO). As well, the Addendum requires that the Ticket to Work program start date must be provided for all staff who have completed the SSA-222 for your EN. Please note that the Ticket to Work program start date does NOT necessarily refer to the date the staff member started with the organization. Instead, it refers to the date the staff member began working on the Ticket to Work program.
Like last year, your EN will need to sign and submit the Addendum electronically. We will not accept a scanned version of the form. Additional information on how to complete the form using an electronic signature can be found at the following link: https://yourtickettowork.ssa.gov/Assets/yttw/docs/resources/resource-documents/program-resources/SSA-222-SecurityAwarenessPresentation.pdf
For your convenience, we have attached a copy of the SSA-222 Form (link:https://yourtickettowork.ssa.gov/Assets/yttw/docs/information-center/forms/SSA-222-Security-Awareness-Form.pdf) and Addendum (link: https://yourtickettowork.ssa.gov/Assets/yttw/docs/information-center/forms/SSA-222-Security-Awareness-Addendum.pdf) to the message.
Send questions about the Security Awareness Form to ENService@ssa.gov.
On January 23rd, email@example.com sent out guidance regarding the 2023 APOR. A process review session was hosted on Thursday, January 26, 2023 from 1:30 pm – 2:30 p.m. ET. From Ticket to Work:
The Social Security Administration is initiating the Annual Performance Outcome Report (APOR) requirement for all active Employment Networks (EN). The Ticket Program Manager (TPM) will administer the APOR on behalf of the Social Security Administration from January 27, 2023, through February 27, 2023.
Please take time to review the APOR questions and FAQs attached and found here: https://yourtickettowork.ssa.gov/resources/resource-documents.html
Social Security APOR Requirement The APOR is a requirement of each EN’s Ticket Program Agreement (TPA). All active ENs must complete and submit the APOR by Monday, February 27. Exceptions include State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies and ENs with agreement award dates in 2022. Failure to complete your agency’s APOR in a timely manner will constitute a violation of your EN’s TPA and could result in Social Security limiting your agency’s ability to assign Tickets or receive payments, or termination of your agreement.
How to Complete the APOR
1. Review the resources for your assistance at the Your Ticket to Work website.
2. Review the 32 APOR questions. It is highly recommended that you review the APOR questions prior to completing the actual APOR.
3. Prepare your responses. Preparing your responses after you review the APOR questions and prior to entering the actual APOR questionnaire will allow you to research and gather the data needed to easily answer the questions on the APOR.
4. Complete the APOR. Once you have prepared your responses, you must complete the APOR using your EN’s unique link from SSAENAPOR@yourtickettowork.ssa.gov. The survey will be sent to the Program Contact on file. The APOR must be completed in one sitting. If you log off without completing the APOR, your answers will not be saved, and you will be required to start over.
5. Submit your responses. Each EN is allowed to submit one complete response. If the TPM receives multiple submissions from one organization, the first one received will be the one that is accepted.
Use the Frequently Asked Questions to assist you as you complete the APOR.
If you have questions, email SSAENAPOR@yourtickettowork.ssa.gov with the subject line “APOR Assistance – Your PID Number.”
By Raymond A. Cebula, III, J.D.
An ABLE victory…sort of!
At the very end of the 117th Congress, the ABLE Adjustment Act found itself in the Omnibus Budget Bill which became law. The law will adjustment the age limit currently placed on ABLE accounts to age 46. Individuals who experience disability before the age of 46 will be eligible to open an account. The Achieve a Better Life Experience accounts changed the game for SSI recipients who are still under the harness of resource limits that are untenable in 2023. Remember that the current $2000/$3000 limits were the result of an increase allowed in the mid-1980s.
The reality that an SSI recipient could actually build wealth and live above the poverty level came as a shock to long time advocates. Achieve a Better Life Experience is not just the name of this type of account but is the name of the game. SSI benefits continue to max out at about 70% of the poverty level. The 2023 circumstances will be determined when the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) is announced some time in February.
Our SSI recipients can open and ABLE account to hold funds provided by 3rd parties (Mom, Dad, Grandparents, etc.) up to a maximum of $17,000 per year. This number is equal to the IRS gift tax allowance and will increase each January. The SSI recipient can, by using the appropriate account, save a portion of their own wages as well, up to an amount equal to the FPL. The total annual savings for 2023 could likely be around $30,000. Never would I have believed this would happen.
Will every SSI worker be able to save that much money? Not likely, but every SSI recipient will be able to receive 3rd party gifts deposited directly into the ABLE account and not have to worry about spending it all before the first of the month following receipt. An SSI worker will be able to begin to save meaningful amounts of their own wages in order to improve their life experience NOW!
It will likely take a bit of coaching. New workers will need to understand the notion of savings as this is not a common thing for those forced to live in poverty. When new wages are received, discuss the potential of taking $10 or $20 of this new money to place into an ABLE account. Or save the same amount in a savings account until the SSI resource limits are approached and then transfer money into and ABLE account. Imagine being able to tell your SSI recipients that they can save for a car, new furniture, or a down payment for a home.
My parents instilled the notion that I was to save, “pay myself” as they put it, before I moved to bills and rent and spending money. It is easier to begin when the money (wages) are new. So, take Mom’s word for it! It works!
Oh yeah, what is the “sort of” victory all about? The new age limit of 46 will not be implemented until 2026! Still the strategy will work for those who are now opening accounts as well as it will in 2026 when older, potentially experience former workers, rejoin the work force.
Opportunity to Participate in Benefits Counseling Research Project
The Burton Blatt Institute, a law and policy research center based at Syracuse University is conducting a federally-funded research project to test the impact of high-quality benefits counseling on employment outcomes for SSI and SSDI beneficiaries. BBI is looking for 3-5 ENs
Employment Networks (ENs) that are not currently providing benefits counseling services to SSI and SSDI beneficiaries to work with them on this important project.
There is an opportunity to work with BBI to develop empirical evidence of the impact of customized benefits counseling on competitive integrated employment outcomes for social security beneficiaries with disabilities. Although many ENs provide benefits planning because they have seen its benefit, previous research has yielded mixed results and funding for SSA benefit planning services has been flat for years. This is a unique opportunity to participate in research that could impact public policy and the future of benefits counseling funding.
BBI is looking for ENs that are not currently providing benefits counseling services to SSI and SSDI beneficiaries. The project will provide free benefits counseling remotely to half of your ticket holders. The other half will serve as a “control group” and continue to receive the services you currently provide.
The counseling will be provided by a certified benefits planner who will conduct a benefits intake session, request relevant information from SSA on behalf of the beneficiary and then reach back out to the beneficiary when they receive the information. From there, the experience of each beneficiary would differ based on their benefits situation but will follow established guidelines for best practices in benefits planning. The benefits planners will provide whatever benefits planning services the beneficiary needs with a minimum of one contact each quarter for 3 years.
The EN will work with BBI researchers to implement the study protocols and to participate in data collection. There would also be a modest amount of funding to the EN to support data collection and participation.
To learn more about the project, please contact Michael Morris at firstname.lastname@example.org
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