Ticket to Work Program Overview

What is the Ticket Program?

Eligibility

Social Security's Ticket to Work Program is a free and voluntary program available to people ages 18 through 64 who are blind or have a disability and who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.

Goals

The goals of the Ticket to Work Program are to:

  • Offer beneficiaries with disabilities expanded choices when seeking service and supports to enter, re-enter, and/or maintain employment;
  • Increase the financial independence and self-sufficiency of beneficiaries with disabilities; and
  • Reduce and, whenever possible, eliminate reliance on disability benefits.

The beneficiary does not need a paper Ticket to participate. Under this program, eligible beneficiaries with disabilities who are receiving monthly cash benefit payments are entitled to participate by signing up with an approved service provider of their choice. This can be an Employment Network (EN) or a State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency. The EN/State VR agency, if they accept the Ticket assignment, will coordinate and provide appropriate services to help the beneficiary find and maintain employment. These services may be training, career counseling, vocational rehabilitation, job placement, and ongoing support services necessary to achieve a work goal.

What are the Advantages of the Ticket to Work Program?

While participating in the Ticket to Work Program, beneficiaries can get the help they need to safely explore their work options without immediately losing their benefits and find the job that is right for them. Beneficiaries also can use a combination of work incentives to maximize their income until they begin to learn enough to support themselves. Therefore, the individual can:

  • Go to work without automatically losing disability benefits;
  • Return to benefits if he or she has to stop working;
  • Continue to receive healthcare benefits; and
  • Be protected from receiving a medical continuing disability review while using the Ticket and making the expected progress with work or educational goals.

For a complete guide to the work incentives, go to: http://www.ssa.gov/redbook/

Who Can Help the Beneficiary Better Understand the Ticket to Work Program?

Employment Networks

An Employment Network (EN) is a private organization or public agency (including a State VR agency) which entered into an agreement to provide employment services, vocational rehabilitation services, and other types of support to beneficiaries with disabilities under the Ticket to Work Program.

Beneficiaries can contact any EN to see if the service and supports the EN offers are right for them. The beneficiary and EN must agree to work together and develop a plan that describes the beneficiary's employment goal and outlines the services and support the EN will provide to help the beneficiary reach the goal. Beneficiaries are free to talk with as many ENs as they wish before choosing to assign his or her Ticket. If a beneficiary assigns their Ticket to an EN and later changes his or her mind about working with that EN, the beneficiary can un-assign the Ticket and take it to another EN. When a beneficiary chooses to receive services from a EN, Social Security considers that the beneficiary is using the Ticket and therefore, is protected from medical disability review.

Use the Find Help to locate an EN in your area.

Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies

A State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency can help beneficiaries who want to return to work or to work for the first time, but who need more significant services to make work possible. VR can help beneficiaries get ready to work, and, when VR services have ended, the VR agency may be able to help the beneficiary find an EN who can help them keep the job and make more money. When a beneficiary chooses to receive services from a VR agency, Social Security considers that the beneficiary is using the Ticket and therefore, is protected from medical disability review.

Use the Find Help to locate a State VR in your area.

Work Incentive Seminar Events

Social Security conducts national Work Incentive Seminar Events (WISE) Webinars online each month for beneficiaries with disabilities and their families to learn more about the Ticket to Work Program and available work incentives through accessible, informal, learning opportunities. The goals of a WISE are to encourage SSDI and SSI beneficiaries to explore their work options and join the workforce.

Register for a WISE to learn more about the Ticket to Work Program and Work Incentives.