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Content provided by the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance
96.008 Social Security_Benefits Planning, Assistance, and Outreach Program

FEDERAL AGENCY:

SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION

AUTHORIZATION:

Social Security Act, Section 1149(d); Section 121, Public Law 106-170; Ticket-to-Work Incentives Improvement Act; Rehabilitation Act of 1973; Developmental Disabilities Rehabilitation and Assistance and Bill of Rights Act; Workforce Improvement Act of 1998; Lobbying Disclosure Act; 2 U.S.C. 1611.
OBJECTIVES: Click here for help!
To comply with the Ticket-to-Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act legislation passed in December 1999, requiring that the SSA establish a community-based work incentives planning and assistance program. To establish a competitive program Benefits Planning, Assistance, and Outreach Program. To disseminate accurate information to beneficiaries with disabilities about work incentives programs and issues related to such programs.

TYPES OF ASSISTANCE:

Project Grants.
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USES AND USE RESTRICTIONS:

Cooperative agreements are awarded to organizations to: (1) Provide statewide benefits planning and assistance, including information on the availability of protection and advocacy services, to all Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries with disabilities, and to conduct ongoing outreach to those beneficiaries with disabilities and to their families) that are potentially eligible to participate in State or Federal work incentives programs. (2) Disseminate accurate information to beneficiaries with disabilities (including transition-to- work aged youth) about work incentives programs and issues related to such programs, to enable them to make informed choices about work. Cooperative agreement funds may not be used for construction or major renovation of buildings.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:

Applicant Eligibility:   Applicants applying for cooperative agreement funds may include State or local governments, public or private organizations, or nonprofit or for-profit organizations that the Commissioner determines is qualified to provide benefits planning, assistance, and outreach to all SSDI and SSI beneficiaries with disabilities, within the targeted geographic area. These may include Centers for Independent Living established under Title VII of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, protection and advocacy organizations, Native American tribal entities, client assistance programs established in accordance with Section 112 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, State Developmental Disabilities Councils established in accordance with Section 124 of the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, and State agencies administering the State program funded under Part A of Title IV of the Act. The Commissioner may also award a cooperative agreement to a State or local Workforce Investment Board, a Department of Labor (DOL) One-Stop Career Center System established under the Workforce Improvement Act of 1998, or a State Vocational Rehabilitation agency. Cooperative agreements may not be awarded to any individual, the Social Security Administration Field Offices, any State agency administrating the State Medicaid program under Title XIX of the Act, any entity that the Commissioner determines would have a conflict of interest if the entity were to receive a cooperative agreement under the Benefits Planning, Assistance, and Outreach program or any organization described in Section 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1968 that engages in lobbying (in accordance with Section 18 of the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. 1611).

Beneficiary Eligibility:   State or local governments, public or private organizations, or nonprofit or for-profit organizations, including Centers for Independent Living, protection and advocacy organizations, Native American tribal entities, client assistance programs, State Developmental Disabilities Councils, State agencies administering the State program funded under Part A of Title IV of the Act, a State or local Workforce Investment Board, a DOL One-Stop Career Center System, or a State vocational rehabilitation agency.

Credentials/Documentation:   Costs and administrative requirements for grantees will be determined in accordance with Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regulations 45 CFR 74 and 92.

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APPLICATION AND AWARD PROCESS:
Pre-application Coordination:   Not applicable. This program is excluded from coverage under E.O. 12372.

Application Procedure:   The standard application forms furnished by SSA must be used for this program. When cooperative agreement opportunities are available. SSA publishes a notice in the Federal Register soliciting cooperative agreement applications. Application kits that contain the prescribed application forms and supplemental descriptive information on the priority areas are available from: Grants Management Team, Office of Operations Contracts and Grants (OOCG), Office of Acquisition and Grants (OAG), Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Finance, Assessment and Management (DCFAM), Social Security Administration, 1-E-4, Gwynn Oak Building, 1710 Gwynn Oak Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21207-5279. Contact: Ms. Phyllis Y. Smith, Grants Management Officer. Telephone: (410) 965-9518. Also, SSA cooperative agreement program announcements and application information can be obtained from the SSA/OAG Internet site. To be considered for a cooperative agreement award, all applicants must complete the prescribed application forms and submit them to the Grants Management Team. The application shall be executed by an individual authorized to act for the applicant agency or organization who will assume the obligations imposed by the terms and conditions of the cooperative agreement. At least three independent reviewers prepare written assessments of each program- relevant cooperative agreement application. Applications found irrelevant to program objectives are returned to the applicants.

Award Procedure:   OAG provides a Notice of Cooperative Agreement Award as official notice for approved applications. The notice indicates award amount, the purpose of the award, award terms and conditions, the budget period, the anticipated project period, and the awardee's cost- sharing requirement.

Deadlines:   Closing dates for receipt of cooperative agreement applications are published in the Federal Register announcement (usually 60 to 90 days after date of publication in the Federal Register).

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time:   Generally, 3 to 6 months after the closing date established in the Federal Register announcement.

Appeals:   There are no formal appeal procedures. If an application is not approved, the reasons will be stipulated in the denial notice.

Renewals:   Cooperative agreements can be continued via formal application, which is subject to approval. If an application is recommended for approval for 2 or more budget periods, the awardee must submit a formal request for funding continuation each year. Continuation applications are evaluated prior to a recommendation of additional funding.

ASSISTANCE CONSIDERATIONS:

Formula and Matching Requirements:   The formula is based on the amount appropriated and the percentage of beneficiaries with disabilities: maximum of $300,000 and minimum of $50,000. Awardees are required to share the cost of projects. The cost-sharing ranges from five to 25 percent of total project costs.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance:   Funds are usually granted for a period of 12 to 17 months. Funds, however, can be granted for a minimum of 3 months, and up to a maximum of 60 months.

POST ASSISTANCE REQUIREMENTS:

Reports:   Progress and financial reports are required on all projects. Quarterly reports are due within 30 days after the end of each quarter of the budget period. Comprehensive final reports are due no later than 90 days after the cooperative agreement expires.

Audits:   Audits shall be conducted in accordance with HHS regulations 45 CFR 74 and 92. In accordance with the provisions of (OMB) Circular A-133 (Revised, June 24, 1997), "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations, "nonfederal entities that expend financial assistance of $300,000 or more in Federal awards will have a single or a program-specific audit conducted for that year. Nonfederal entities that expend less than $300,000 a year in Federal awards are exempt from Federal audit requirements for that year, except as noted in Circular No. A-133.

Records:   Awardees must maintain financial records, supporting documents, statistical records and all other records pertinent to an award for 3 years after the end of the project. In the event of an audit, records must be maintained until all questions are resolved.

FINANCIAL INFORMATION:

Account Identification:   28-8704-0-7-999.

Obligations:   Grants and (Cooperative Agreements) FY 01 $19,844,416; FY 02 est $23,000,000; and FY 03 est $23,000,000.

Range and Average of Financial Assistance:  
Range $100,000 to $300,000, average $235,940.

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PROGRAM ACCOMPLISHMENTS:
In fiscal year (FY) 2001, SSA awarded $19,844,416 in cooperative agreements to provide benefit planning and assistance services. In fiscal year 2002, $23 million is available for cooperative agreements to provide benefit planning and assistance services and provide for their technical support. SSA issued cooperative agreements to establish benefits planning and assistance services for beneficiaries wishing to return to work in all 56 U.S. territories which include all 50 States, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Northern Mariana Islands.

REGULATIONS, GUIDELINES, AND LITERATURE:

None.

INFORMATION CONTACTS:

Regional or Local Office:   Not applicable.

Headquarters Office:  
Dionne J. Mitchell Social Security Administration Office of Acquisition and Grants 1540 Robert M. Ball Building 6401 Security Boulevard , Baltimore, Maryland 21235 Email: dionne.mitchell@ssa.gov Phone: 4109659534

Web Site Address:  
http://www.ssa.gov

EXAMPLES OF FUNDED PROJECTS:

(1) Poverty Among Older Women: A Cross National Perspective; (2) Disability Research Institute: Partnership in a New Paradigm; (3) Putting the Pieces Together for Employment; (4) Opening Doors to the Future for Adolescents with Special Healthcare Needs; (5) Making Work Pay: Reducing Medicaid and Social Security Barriers to Employment; (6) Work Incentive, Counseling, and Assistance Program for SSI Recipients; and (7) Individual Planning for Self Sufficiency.

CRITERIA FOR SELECTING PROPOSALS:

Generally, applications are evaluated on the following criteria: (1) Capability; (2) relevance and adequacy of project design; (3) resources and management; and (4) quality assurance.

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