California’s protection & advocacy system

For legal assistance call 800-776-5746. For all other purposes call 916-504-5800 in Northern CA

or 213-213-8000 in Southern CA. TTY 800-719-5798.

Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA)

Disability Rights California’s WIPA Project offers free individualized work incentives counseling to eligible individuals who live in San Diego, Riverside and Imperial Counties.

Eligibility for our Services

Individuals with disabilities who are at least ages 14 years old and have not yet reached retirement age, and are currently receiving benefits based on a disability:

  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
  • Childhood Disability Beneifts (CDB)
  • Disabled Widow(er) Benefits (DWB)
  • Cash benefits have been suspended recently due to earned income

    And meet one of the following criteria:

    • Currently working or self-employed
    • Looking for work
    • Decided to pursue work

If you meet our eligibility criteria, WIPA can empower you with the knowledge you need take the next step toward your employment goal.

Several public benefits have work incentives which encourage employment. These work incentives can be confusing or difficult to understand. WIPA can help you understand them.

The goal of the WIPA Project is to enable beneficiaries with disabilities to make an informed choice about work. Informed choice means knowing all of your options so you can take the next step toward your employment goal. 

To contact a Community Work Incentives Coordinator call (888) 768-7058 in San Diego, Riverside or Imperial Counties. For other county WIPA Projects please locate your local project at

If you are not yet ready to go to work and want general information about the work rules, please call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1(866) 968-7842 from 5:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time.

Although Social Security reviewed this document for accuracy, it does not constitute an official Social Security communication.

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Robert, a Social Security Disability Insurance beneficiary, wanted to return to work. He was not sure what type of work he could do. He called WIPA to discuss his employment goals, one of which was to work for himself as a handy man. After talking to him, WIPA created a written analysis to explain how Social Security will look at his self-employment earnings. After reviewing the analysis, Robert was happy to know that Social Security would consider his income, after business expenses, rather than gross income to determine Substantial Gainful Activity. WIPA also told Robert that his daughter’s free assistance, tracking business expenses and accounting, is considered Unpaid Help, a work incentive.  After reviewing his options and understanding the Social Security work rules, Robert purchased some tools. He took on his first job, in hopes it will lead to additional work in the future.


Transition-Age Youth and Social Security – Age 18 Re-Determination (pdf) (rtf) (Pub #5598.01)

Transition-Age Youth and Social Security – The Student Earned Income Exclusion (pdf) (rtf) (Pub #5599.01)


Helpful links

Social Security Red Book

Disability Benefits 101

Finding Your Path to Employment with Ticket to Work (ASL)



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