What should I know about the Social Security Disability Ticket to Work program?
Learn how the Social Security Disability Ticket to Work program can help you become financially independent while still keeping Medicare benefits.
The government created the Social Security Disability Ticket to Work, as an employment support program for people with disabilities. The program serves those who are receiving Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Disability and who are interested in starting full or part-time work or increasing the work they already do. The goal of the Ticket to Work program is to increase opportunities for Social Security Disability beneficiaries to access vocational rehabilitation towards part- or full-time employment. The Ticket also assists in connecting the disabled person with other support services from public and private providers, employers, and other organizations.
Each provider group that administers services under Social Security Disability Ticket to Work is called an employment network. Each network receives government funding, including performance-based compensation; that is, they receive payments when you, the ticket-holder, achieve certain employment-related milestones or outcomes. These milestones are defined by the Ticket to Work plan you and the employment network agreed upon including those related to the return-to-work incentives.
Usually during an active Ticket to Work in which you are reaching the benchmarks and goals you have set your claim will not be reviewed in a continuing disability review (CDR) to see if you have recovered medically.
How to Use a Ticket to Work
First of all the Ticket to Work program is voluntary. You are not required to use the Ticket to Work just because the Social Security Administration issues you one. However, it is a great opportunity.
If you are given a Social Security Disability Ticket to Work, you’re encouraged to contact the Operations Support Manager to learn about the various employment networks in your area and to select one. You can also initiate getting a Ticket to Work by contacting Social Security’s Ticket to Work hotline at 1-866-968-7842 and you can access more information on Social Security’s website at www.ssa.gov/work.
Employment networks are not required to serve everyone who selects them. They can elect which specific services they want to offer, which people they are capable of serving, and in which geographical area they will work. If, after considering your work experience, skills, disability, age, and location, the network decides to accept your ticket, it will coordinate and provide appropriate services to help you find and maintain employment. At any time, you can switch to another employment network or the employment network can end its agreement with you. While you use the Ticket, you will have access to Social Security’s other work incentives for SSDI and SSI beneficiaries including continuation of Medicare for SSDI beneficiaries even when benefits end due to a successful, sustained return to work. See our article Can I Keep Getting Benefits When I Am Working on Social Security Disability? for more information about Social Security’s return-to-work incentives including the Trial Work Period and the Extended Period of Eligibility for SSDI beneficiaries.