The United States Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program is the centerpiece of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999. This voluntary program is designed to help people who are receiving disability benefits from Social Security "find good jobs, good careers, and better self-supporting futures." To be eligible for the program people must be ages 18 through 64 and receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments under Title XVI of the Social Security Act. The Ticket program provides these beneficiaries more choices for receiving employment and other support services they need to reach their work goal.
Participants in this program may assign their Ticket to an Employment Network (EN) or receive services from the public Vocational Rehabilitation Agency in the State, in which they reside. Whichever provider they choose, beneficiaries will receive career counseling, job placement, and ongoing employment support services. Other services, such as transportation and workplace accommodation assistance may be available depending on the offerings of individual providers and the needs of beneficiaries. An EN works with each beneficiary to identify employment goals and write an Individual Work Plan (IWP) that both the beneficiary and EN agree upon.
The First Six Years of the Ticket Program: 2002 To 2008
The Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 (the Act) sought to provide SSDI and SSI beneficiaries a range of new or improved work incentives and employment-related services to support their movement to financial independence through work. The Act’s improved work incentives, including for example, the new Expedited Reinstatement provisions and improvements to the extended Medicare and Medicaid buy-in provisions, created a more secure financial and healthcare framework that encouraged more beneficiaries to work.
The Act also directed the Commissioner of Social Security to establish a Ticket to Work and Self Sufficiency program. The purpose of the Ticket program was to expand the universe of service providers available to Title II disability and SSI disability beneficiaries by awarding ENs with cash payments based on the work-related success of beneficiaries they served. Social Security (SSA) initially implemented the program in 2002 through 2004 by delivering Tickets to most Title II disability beneficiaries and SSI adult disability recipients in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, and five U.S. Territories. The information and Tickets mailed to beneficiaries informed them that they could voluntarily assign their Ticket to the EN of their choice or their State’s VR agency in return for receiving services to support their move toward financial self-sufficiency.
The new Ticket program as implemented from 2002 through 2004 was straightforward and designed to create incentives for providers to sign up as ENs and serve beneficiaries with Tickets. However, as Mathematica Policy Research reported in the 2004 Adequacy of Incentives Study, the original provider compensation schedule proved to be inadequate, even with annual increases related to average Social Security disability benefits. Most providers who signed up as ENs quickly realized that the original payment structure would not support their participation in the program.
These obstacles to EN and beneficiary participation in the original Ticket program brought about the need for change and by 2005, Social Security began the process of revising the regulations to make the program work better for ENs and beneficiaries alike.
The 2008 Amendments to the Ticket Regulations 
The Ticket to Work program underwent a major overhaul in 2008 with the publication of new regulations in the Federal Register on May 20, 2008. These regulations, which became effective on July 21, 2008, amended regulations originally issued on December 28, 2001. The new regulations dramatically revised the payment structure available to ENs, providing more money when beneficiaries make progress in their employment plans but before they reach the level of earnings that would terminate their benefits. Social Security, in its introductory summary to the final regulations, explained its approach to these amendments:
“We are revising our prior rules to improve the overall effectiveness of the program to maximize the economic self-sufficiency of beneficiaries through work opportunities. We have based these revisions on our projections of the future direction of the Ticket to Work program, our experience using the prior rules, and the recommendations made by commenters on the program.” 
Social Security, in substantially revising its Ticket program regulations, maintained the overall principles that are the foundation of this program, that private providers will participate and serve beneficiaries in the Ticket program, even if 100 percent of funding for the program is outcome-based. Beneficiaries will be more likely to participate in the program if:
- The newly enrolled ENs offer services that both complement and supplement what has been available through the traditional VR system.
- The moratorium on medical Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs) is based on timely progress requirements that realistically track beneficiaries’ progress toward achieving employment on their way to financial self-sufficiency.
- Safety nets, in the form of work incentives, are available to protect beneficiaries’ health insurance when a work attempt succeeds and to protect continued eligibility for cash benefits if a work attempt fails or is interrupted.
Social Security has notified more than 17 million beneficiaries concerning their eligibility for participation in the Ticket program. As of December 2011, approximately 12.3 million beneficiaries are eligible to participate in the Ticket program, and on average, 89,000 new beneficiaries become Ticket eligible each month.
Social Security has established two collaborative entities to manage Ticket to Work and ensure the program’s continuity and operations for all participants (beneficiaries, ENs, and VRs). Beneficiary Access & Support Services (BASS) helps Social Security reach millions of eligible beneficiaries. BASS in turn helps beneficiaries find an EN by providing information, assistance, and outreach through web-based and traditional means, including a free, national Work Incentives Seminar Event (WISE) webinar held once or twice a month. The Operations Support Manager (OSM) provides information, training, activation, and technical assistance to existing ENs and State VR agencies, and recruits new qualified providers to serve Ticket program participants. OSM also oversees the payment process for all ENs and for those VRs that choose to act as ENs and to be paid by means other than the traditional cost reimbursement payment process. The overall tasking to support the Ticket program is fixed around the following roles:
Conduct Outreach to Beneficiaries
Ticket Assignment Administration and Support
Facilitate Beneficiary Access to ENs
EN Payment Administration and Support
Ensure Timely and Accurate Communication
Ticket Program Continuity and Operations for Beneficiaries, ENs, VRs
Conduct a National Survey to Measure Beneficiaries’ Satisfaction with the Ticket to Work Program
Recruiting service providers to become ENs
The Ticket to Work Program Components
Employment Network (EN)
An EN is a qualified Social Security-approved organization or agency that has entered into an agreement with Social Security to provide employment services, vocational rehabilitation services, and other types of support to beneficiaries under the Ticket to Work program. All ENs are required to provide career counseling, job placement (including job search, job development and job placement assistance) and ongoing employment support. Beneficiaries can contact any EN in their area or that services beneficiaries nationally to see if the services and supports the EN offers are right for them. The beneficiary and EN must agree to work together and develop an Individual Work Plan (IWP) that describes the beneficiary’s employment goal and outlines the free services and supports the EN will provide to help the beneficiary reach that goal. Beneficiaries are free to talk with as many ENs as they choose without having to assign their Ticket. If a beneficiary assigns the 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. Similarly, the EN can un-assign the Ticket at any time. Beneficiaries may also choose to first receive services from their state vocational rehabilitation agency (VR) then assign their Ticket to an EN once their case is closed with VR through an arrangement known as Partnership Plus.
The Ticket Holder and EN work together until the beneficiary reaches his or her work goal. The EN will continue to provide ongoing support services even after the beneficiary gets a job if the beneficiary needs help keeping the job or getting a better paying one. Once the Ticket Holder is earning income at a level that justifies a payment to the EN, according to the Ticket program’s predetermined standards, the EN applies to the OSM for payment from Social Security. The EN cannot charge the beneficiary for any services it provides through the Ticket Program.
Any qualified entity can apply to become an Employment Network. Groups and organizations that have become ENs include Arc of the United States, Career OneStops and other Workforce Development System entities, Easter Seals (U.S.) affiliates, local Goodwill Industries International organizations, Centers for Independent Living, United Cerebral Palsy affiliates, mental health and faith-based organizations, high school and youth transition organizations, employment agencies, and other employment service providers. Many vocational rehabilitation vendors are also ENs.
Social Security Work Incentives
Work Incentives are special rules that make it possible for a beneficiary to attempt work while still receiving health care and cash benefits. For beneficiaries who receive SSDI, cash benefits continue for a defined time period and are eliminated only when the beneficiary reaches a level of earnings, known as Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), through his or her job. SSDI beneficiaries who receive Medicare may be able to keep the coverage for at least eight-and-a-half years after returning to work. A Social Security provision known as 1619(b) allows SSI and concurrent SSDI/SSI beneficiaries who receive Medicaid coverage and depend on it in order to work to keep that coverage if their annual earnings from work are below State specific thresholds and they have limited resources. If a beneficiary’s earned income is high enough to disqualify him or her from coverage under 1619(b), many states enable beneficiaries who have returned to work to purchase Medicaid coverage at affordable rates through State-administered “Buy-In” programs. Social Security’s Red Book provides more information on Medicare and Medicaid continuation. Work Incentives, like these, help beneficiaries stay in control of their finances and healthcare benefits while they re-enter the workforce or often, work for the first time.
Work Incentives Seminar Event (WISE)
Sponsored by Social Security, Work Incentives Seminar Events (WISE) feature information to help Social Security disability beneficiaries make the decision to re-enter the workforce or to work for the first time. Various employment service providers, including Vocational Rehabilitation agencies, Protection and Advocacy Services, and Employment Networks discuss the services and supports they offer, while former beneficiaries who have used the Ticket to Work program to become employed offer first-hand accounts of their success. As of January 2012, all WISE will take place via free internet-based webinars. Some of the webinars are designed to address a broad range of disabilities, while others target people in specific disability categories or age ranges. The webinar-based format allows beneficiaries to learn about vital employment resources without having to travel to another location, and to access the information 24 hours a day, at their convenience.
- Official and informational websites
- Further reading
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Using Your Social Security Ticket To Work
Your Ticket to Work gives you an opportunity to use all the work incentives and benefits that Social Security has available for recipients that want to work or go to school.
Does your EN (Employment Network) know the intricacies of how work affects your benefits? We can help make sure you know!
We'll help you understand how you can keep your Medicare/Medicaid while
In this we will discuss the Ticket to Work Program and jobs for the disABLEd.
I received help through my State VR, but if they are not going to help you to reach your goal, then why turn your Ticket into them? You have a choice!
Maybe we're the Ticket to Work choice for you!
If you are interested in school make sure you check out our other pages to use your Ticket to Work and PASS plan together!
Turn Your Ticket To Work Us and We Will Offer You Things Like:
- While your Ticket to Work is assigned, active, and you are meeting Timely Progress, you will not be subject to medical review.
- We can give work support payments of $500 once every quarter for the first 12 months that you earn over $850/month. (There are eligibility requirements.)
- In addition, we will help you by tracking your TWP, EPE, Extended Medicare months, Medicaid 1619b, IRWEs, subsidies and more, as long as wages are reported.
- If you assign your Ticket to Work to us, we will provide you with helpful instructions on how to get your PASS Plan approved. We will also help you contact your Regional PASS Cadre where your PASS will be reviewed for approval. (Example costs covered: training expenses, transportation assistance, assistive devices, etc.)
- We can help you to show your potential employers how they can receive a $2400 - $9000 tax benefit by hiring you!
- Referrals to other agencies or websites if needed.
- We will help you use your Ticket to Work to benefit you in any way we can!
Ready to Sign Up?
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Ticket To Work Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Ticket to Work program?
The Ticket to Work Program provides most people receiving Social Security benefits (beneficiaries) more choices for receiving employment services. Under this program, most beneficiaries become eligible for the Ticket to Work Program when they start to receive SSDI or SSI benefits based on disability.
Beneficiaries may choose to assign their ticket to an Employment Network (EN) of their choice to obtain employment services, vocational rehabilitation services, or other support services necessary to achieve a vocational (work) goal. The EN, if they accept the ticket, will coordinate and provide appropriate services to help the beneficiary find and maintain employment.
What is the goal of the Ticket to Work Program?
The ultimate goal of the Ticket to Work program is to assist people receiving Social Security disability benefits in reducing their reliance on disability benefits. The Ticket program also seeks to promote increased self-sufficiency and greater independence for people receiving Social Security disability benefits through work.
Who can use this program?
Anyone between the ages of 18-64, who receives either an SSDI or SSI disability check can use the Ticket to Work program.
Do I need to have an actual ticket to participate in the program?
No, the EN (Employment Network) you choose can verify your eligibility to participate in the program with the Social Security Administration.
Will I lose my Medicare eligibility if I participate in the program?
No, as long as you continue to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefit payments, you will continue to remain eligible for the same medical coverage. There are also Work Incentives that allow you to continue your medical coverage once you begin earning enough that you stop receiving SSDI payments. If you currently receive medical coverage through Medicare, you can continue to be eligible for coverage for at least 93 months after the last month of your Trial Work Period.
Will I lose my Medicaid coverage if I participate in the program?
No. As long as you continue to receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, you will continue to remain eligible for the same medical coverage.
If you currently receive Medicaid, you might be eligible to continue to receive Medicaid even after you stop receiving SSI benefits due to work. Your coverage might be extended in two ways. First, you might be eligible through a Work Support Payment created by Section 1619(b) of the Social Security Act. You need to meet certain other requirements to qualify for this Work Incentive.
What happens if my benefits stop due to my earnings and then I can no longer work due to my disability?
If your benefits ended because you worked and had earnings, you can request that your benefits start again without having to complete a new application. While the Social Security Administration (SSA) determines whether you can get benefits again, Social Security can give you provisional (temporary) benefits for up to 6 months. This is because of a Work Incentive called Expedited Reinstatement. You can ask for your benefits to start again using Expedited Reinstatement for up to five years after you stop receiving benefits.
Is there ever any cost for your help?
No, there is never any charge for our services.
What is Timely Progress?
Every 12 months after you assign your Ticket to Work to an EN, SSA must decide if you are making the expected progress toward your vocational goal. SSA look at progress such as completing certain educational goals or getting and keeping a job. SSA refers to this as a "Timely Progress Review."
Click Here for a complete breakdown.
Can I use the Ticket to Work Program if I am self-employed?
Yes, we cannot count self-employment income (SEI) until we receive IRS data showing earnings for the closed tax year or until the beneficiary has reported earnings evidence and it has been verified by SSA. Then to receive a support payment you must have earned over SGA for the year.
What is EXR - Expedited Reinstatement?
If your benefits ended because you worked and had earnings, you can request that your benefits start again without having to complete a new application. While the Social Security Administration determines whether you can get benefits again, they can give you provisional (temporary) benefits for up to 6 months.
Am I eligible for EXR?
If you are an SSDI or SSI beneficiary who:
- Stopped receiving benefits because of earnings from work,
- Are unable to work or perform substantial gainful activity,
- Are disabled because of an impairment(s) that is the same as or related to the impairment(s) that allowed you to get benefits earlier, and
- Make the request within 5 years from the month your benefits ended.
Why should I choose DisABLEd Workers over another EN?
We try very hard to make sure you are always receiving accurate information so that you can make an informed decision about your benefits and TTW choices.
DisABLED Workers is also one of the few ENs that can offer you a work support payment to pay for expenses, and we are the only one that offers the Ticket To Work program in conjunction with the PASS plan.
DisABLEd Workers' goal is to assist the disabled community to help them reach their goals with accurate, detailed benefit information. As you might have read on our “About Us” page, our company was started by a disabled individual. He has always made it a top priority that we help those that are disabled in any way we can and to never sign a client until they are completely informed about the positives and/or negatives related to them.
We hope that with our programs we can help you reach your goals.
How do you use the Social Security funds your EN receives?
The EN receives no funds until the beneficiary finds work and is earning over the TWL amount.
Most ENs keep all the funds to pay for the services they have provided. We give you a good portion of what we receive back, as we feel you are doing your share of the work. Since we believe education will help you land a better job, we provide you with assistance through the PASS Plan even though we receive no compensation.
I am not comfortable with giving you my Social Security information
We completely understand your concern.
Please call Maximus at 1-866-968-7842. You will reach the Social Security program manager for the Ticket to Work program. You will find we are an approved Employment Network (EN) called "DisABLEd WORKERS". Our DUNS Number - 139944404 will verify that we have a contract with Social Security. We are only listed in Maximus' Directory of ENs for some states; we choose not to be listed in all states as it would overwhelm our ability to provide you with the best service. We will be listed lower down, as the ENs in your state are listed at the top, then those serving multiple states.
How do I assign my ticket to DisABLEd Workers?
Click here to Apply - this will take you to our application page to get started!