SSVE Government Affairs Fundraiser Enters Final Stage

The SSVE section of IARP has taken a leadership role in representing the interests of Social Security Administration Vocational Experts. We have met with the Commissioner of ODAR, the SSA Inspector General’s Office, and the SSA Office of Finance to discuss SSVE issues. We also interviewed several government relations firms(lobbyists) to discuss what services they could provide to our organization and what our current goals were in working with SSA. After careful consideration, Akerman-Senterfitt was selected as the firm most appropriate to our goals.  They have experience and connections in working with the Social Security Administration and in Disability Public Policy. What is important for us to do now is fund this very important project in which government affairs experts, D.C. insiders and other professionals will advocate on our behalf, leveraging their knowledge of Congress and SSA to advance our cause.

While initially our goal was to bringing fees up to current market rates, the is effort will also focus on a comprehensive overhaul of the BPA contracting process, including: VE availability, clear statements of work product/services provided, clear expectations of ODAR and VEs, and prompt payment of fees.

Hiring a government relations representative will require an investment of $100,000 for a year's representation. This is in line with costs borne by similar organizations in their successful efforts to effect relevant change within SSA. We have raised approximately $72,000. We are in a unique position this year as the SSA OIG is conducting an audit of the SSVE program and the contracting process. This audit was initiated based on grassroots pressure from IARP-SSVE and within the next 90 day should be presented to Congress and it coincides with the final budget requests prior to the October 2012-2013 fiscal year. This will be the first time that the SSVE contract, who we are and what we do will specifically be discussed by Congress.

That being the case, I suggest that each of us carefully consider the ultimate value of investing in our earning potential by contributing to our representation before Congress and the Administration.  Consider the significant increase in earning power if we are successful - and the magnitude of the bureaucracy poised against change.  If we expect to make BIG change, BIG resources are required to make that possible.  Divided by the 1,000 SSVEs across the county, our fundraising goal of $28,000 is a very manageable number if EVERY IARP SSVE contributes.  Those able to contribute more will help bring us toward our objective with greater certainty. The professionally managed IARP-SSVE Section will be the conduit for pledged contributions.

Why donate and what will a Goverrnment Relations Representative do?

  • The Social Security Vocational Experts fee schedule has remained relatively unchanged since 1979. In April 2009, after 30 years, the fees were increased by 10% as a result of meetings with IARP-SSVE—this is just a start. You have already received thousands of dollars in increase income since April 2009 as a result of IARP-SSVE efforts.
  • We are suggesting each SSVE's donate $500 (=6 hearings) and we will meet our fundraising goal, engage the lobbyist and secure a fair and appropriate contract now and going forward. We would hope that all SSVE’s would make this investment in their profession and future income.
  • All donations regardless of the amount move us closer to our goal.
  • Donations can be accepted online on the IARP website, by clicking on: Donate to the SSVE Government Affairs Fund 
  • Donations can also be mailed to: 
    International Association of Rehabilitation Professionals, 
    1926 Waukegan Road, 
    Glenview, IL 60025-1770 
    **note on the check--SSVE Govt. Relations
  • The goal of the government relations fundraising is to engage representation that will be part of a well crafted campaign that addresses the important role and function SSVE's play in the system, ensuring that ODAR is meeting the federal contract requirements for procuring fixed price BPA's and highlighting the specific manner in which we can assist the agency in meeting their production goals and provide the highest quality expert opinions. 


Amy Vercillo