PABSS: Choose a Pathway to Work

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Disability Rights Texas Handout

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The PABSS Program and How It Works

The Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) program was established under the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act (TWWIIA) of 1999. Funded by the Social Security Administration (SSA), the PABSS program protects the legal rights of Social Security beneficiaries in their efforts to secure, maintain, and regain employment. The PABSS program in Texas is administered by Disability Rights Texas.

Barriers to Employment

Barriers to employment can include:

  • Accommodations in employment or post-secondary education
  • Work-related transportation
  • Assistive technology
  • Housing (when lack of housing is an obstacle to obtaining or maintaining employment)
  • Access to supports and services
  • Transition services
  • Employment discrimination
  • Other issues directly affecting the beneficiary’s ability to secure, maintain, and regain employment

PABSS staff can provide information, referral, short-term advocacy, technical assistance, advocacy, as well as investigate complaints and provide legal consultation and representation with issues posing barriers to employment.

They also can connect beneficiaries with vocational rehabilitation services from agencies such as Texas Workforce Solutions-Vocational Rehabilitation Services (TWS-VRS), Employment Networks, One-Stop Centers, or local mental health/developmental disabilities services agencies. This may include referrals, supervised applications, and explain the process of plan development, informed choice, and the provider’s scope of services.

Fears About Returning to Work

PABSS understands the three main fears beneficiaries have in returning to work, which are listed below.

  1. Beneficiaries feel there is a lack of resources and assistance with services helping people prepare to enter the workforce.
  2. There is fear of loss of benefits and healthcare coverage if employment is secured.
  3. Beneficiaries do not think they can gain employment due to their disability and at a level that they are self-supporting.

Get Help

PABSS staff can help by:

  • Providing information and referrals to programs, services, and supports that assist individuals gain, retain, or re-enter the workforce.
  • Providing information about SSA’s Work Incentives. Work incentives are social security rules that help beneficiaries enter, re-enter, or continue in employment by protecting their eligibility for cash payments and/or health care coverage until they achieve self-supporting employment.
  • Advocating on your behalf to address discriminatory actions affecting your ability to secure, maintain, and regain employment.


To be eligible for PABSS services, you must meet the criteria below.

  • You must be a current Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits beneficiary due to your disability.
  • You must be currently seeking to secure, retain, or regain gainful employment or begin self-employment.
  • Individuals on extended period of eligibility are considered PABSS eligible, as is anyone on 1619 (b).

Requesting PABSS Services

If you are an SSA beneficiary with a disability in Texas and are experiencing a legal problem, please contact us to submit a request for services. Be prepared to provide proof of your SSA benefits.

You can call our intake line at 1-800-252-9108 Monday through Friday, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm CT, OR you can apply online at any time at intake.DRTx.org.

Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing can call our toll-free video phone at 1-866-362-2851 or our Purple 3 video phone at (512) 271-9391.

Self-Advocacy Tips

Follow the tips below when you are advocating to secure, maintain, or regain employment.

  • Get all the facts
  • Keep written records and a log of who you speak with and the information given to you
  • Keep all paperwork given to you
  • Attempt to resolve the issues you are encountering by discussing with parties involved
  • Go through the proper chain of command
  • Know your appeal rights
  • Follow up
  • Use your communication skills
  • Meet your deadlines
  • Believe in yourself and know your rights


Last updated: March 1, 2020
Publication Code: EM11

Disability Rights Texas logo

Statewide Intake: 1-800-252-9108
Sign Language Video Phone: 1-866-362-2851
Purple 2 Video Phone: 512-271-9391
Online Intake available 24/7: intake.DRTx.org

Disclaimer: Disability Rights Texas strives to update its materials on an annual basis, and this handout is based upon the law at the time it was written. The law changes frequently and is subject to various interpretations by different courts. Future changes in the law may make some information in this handout inaccurate.

The handout is not intended to and does not replace an attorney’s advice or assistance based on your particular situation.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has reviewed this information for technical accuracy only; it should not be considered an official SSA document. This handout was created at taxpayer expense.

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