Social Security’s Ticket to Work Program is a free and voluntary program accessible to those between the ages of 18 – 64. Those in the program are blind or have a disability, and receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
What are the goals of the program?
In a nutshell, the goal of the Ticket Program is to offer additional resources and assistance when it comes to entering, re-entering or maintaining employment. The program helps increase your financial independence and self-sufficiency, so you aren’t solely relying on the disability benefits.
Those in the program receive monthly cash benefit payments, and participate by signing up with an approved service provider. These approved providers can be employment networks or a state vocational rehabilitation agency. If the agency accepts the ticket assignment, they’ll put together services to help you find employment, and stick to it. Some of these services might include training, career counseling, etc.
Why is the Ticket Program worth it?
In addition to the benefits stated above, the great thing about the Ticket Program is the ability to safely explore your options without immediately losing your benefits. This will give you time to find the right job for you, with less stress. You can also use a combination of work incentives to maximize your income until you earn enough to support yourself.
To recap, being a member of the Ticket Program ensures that you can:
- Go to work without immediately losing disability benefits
- Return to just benefits if you’ve stopped working
- Be protected from receiving a medical Continuing Disability Review (CDR) while using the ticket and make progress towards your educational goals.
How do I get involved in the Ticket Program?
Remember those approved providers we mentioned above? They’re the ones that can help! Let’s break those down further.
Employment Networks (or EN): These are private organizations or public agencies that have agreed to provide employment services, vocational rehabilitation services, or other types of support to those with disabilities in the Ticket Program. You can reach out to these EN’s directly, and don’t hesitate to ask them questions. And research multiple EN’s if you need to! If you change your mind later on the EN you choose, you can un-assign the ticket and take it to another one. When you choose to receive services from an EN, Social Security considers the use of your ticket and therefore, you’re protected from medical CDR. Visit this link to find EN’s in your area.
State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies (or VR’s): These are agencies similar to EN’s who can help you return to work for the first time. But they also provide more significant services to make that possible. They can help get you ready to work and once you are working, they can even help you find an EN to help you keep the job (and make more money). Same as an EN, Social Security considers you are using the ticket and therefore, you are protected from medical CDR. Visit this link to find State VR’s in your area.