Those receiving Social Security Disability benefits may access the support they need to gain and maintain employment through the Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work program. Participation in the program may help people transition from dependence on cash benefits to self-support.
What Is the Ticket to Work Program?
Ticket to Work is a voluntary federal program offered through the SSA that enables people to receive employment support services to help them go back to work while still providing them access to Social Security services, including Medicaid and Medicare. Since its inception, the SSA reports that more than 316,000 people have participated in the program.
Entering the workforce to earn a living may not be right for everyone receiving SSD benefits. For those who are able, however, The Ticket to Work program puts them on the path toward financial independence and allows them to potentially earn a higher standard of living for themselves and their families. Through involvement with the Ticket to Work program, people can test the possibility of returning to work without the risk of losing the benefits they may still need.
How Does the Ticket to Work Program Work?
Through the Ticket to Work program, Social Security benefit recipients work collaboratively with their state’s vocational rehabilitation agency or an employment network to progress toward specific work goals. Vocational rehabilitation agencies may offer career and benefits counseling, training and education, and job search support. Employment networks are public or private organizations that provide career counseling, help with job placement, and offer other such services.
In exchange for the program’s benefits, participants take certain steps within timeframes as determined by them and their chosen service providers. Program participants must make timely progress toward getting the education and training needed to succeed at work, obtaining and maintaining employment, decreasing their dependence on SSD benefits, and eventually eliminating their need for cash benefits, if possible.
Who Is Eligible for the Ticket to Work Program?
The Ticket to Work program is available to most adults between the ages of 18 and 64-years-old who receive Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, Supplemental Security Income, or both due to qualifying disabilities. There is no cost to benefit recipients for the program, and as it is voluntary, claimants are under no obligation to participate.