Who is eligible for the Ticket to Work Program?

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The Ticket to Work Program is for people who have already been awarded Social Security disability benefits under the adult rules and are getting cash benefits. Under the 2008 Ticket to Work Program rules, all adult beneficiaries aged 18 – 64 who get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) cash benefits are eligible for the Ticket to Work Program. You can participate in the Ticket to Work Program immediately, if you meet these qualifications. To check if you are eligible for the Ticket to Work Program, contact the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TDD).

I'm eligible but I didn’t get a Ticket. How do I get one?

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Social Security no longer mails out a paper ticket. It is all electronic. To verify if your Ticket is assignable and to get a list of Employment Networks (ENs), call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TDD). You can also contact them using the Ticket to Work website.

How do I use my Ticket?

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After you have confirmed that your Ticket is assignable, you may locate and choose an Employment Network (EN) from a list of organizations approved by the Social Security Administration (SSA). You may use only one EN at a time. You can also choose to assign your Ticket to the Arizona Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA).

You and the EN discuss what services are needed to help reach your employment goal. This is a key step in the Ticket to Work Program. When you come to an agreement, you and the EN develop the plan into a written Individual Work Plan (IWP). If you’re working with RSA, then you’ll develop an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) with them instead. It contains all of the same information.

After you and the EN agree to work together, you both sign the IWP. At this point, Social Security considers the Ticket assigned to that Employment Network. Tickets in use with Vocational Rehabilitation may not be assigned to an EN until VR services are complete or the VR case is closed.

How do I stay enrolled in the program and eligible for my Ticket?

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To keep using the services made available by your Ticket — for the Ticket to be considered in use — you and your Employment Network (EN) must meet the provisions you agreed to in the Individual Work Plan (IWP). After you start working above a certain amount, your EN continues to offer services for up to 45 months (3 years and 9 months) if you are on SSDI and up to 87 months (7 years and 3 months) if you are on SSI.

Things aren't working out with my Employment Network (EN). Can I go elsewhere?

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Yes. If delays or problems continue with the work plan or between you and the Employment Network (EN), you or the EN can end the relationship. You can then go to another EN with no questions asked, though you must document the change.

Do my wages affect my eligibility for the Ticket to Work Program?

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Earnings (wages) have the same effect on benefits eligibility, whether you participate in the Ticket to Work Program or not. The SSI Work Rules and SSDI Work Rules describe how wages affect these benefits.

What's in it for the Employment Network (EN)? How do they get paid?

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Employment Networks are not paid on a traditional fee-for-service basis. The Employment Network gets paid when you succeed —that is, as your income goes up and you stop getting Social Security benefits.

How much does the Ticket cost?

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The Ticket is free to all eligible persons.

Are there rules for immigrants?

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The Ticket to Work Program uses the same rules that establish eligibility for Social Security disability programs. You must be a legal United States resident. The Social Security Administration has an explanation of the rules.

What happens if I cannot make timely progress in the Ticket to Work Program due to illness or disability?

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If you are unable to make timely progress on your Individual Work Plan (IWP) due to illness or disability, you may ask for a temporary suspension and the clock stops on the monthly progress review schedule. You will not be penalized for the delay. However, you will be eligible for medical Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs). If you are not making timely progress for other reasons (e.g., you haven’t found a job), your Ticket and the Employment Network's (EN) services continue. The only difference is that you will be subject to CDRs until you make timely progress.

What happens if my medical condition improves while I'm using the Ticket?

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Because Social Security stops your periodic medical Continuing Disability Review (CDR) while your Ticket is in use, your eligibility for the Ticket to Work Program and Social Security disability benefits will continue if there is an improvement in your medical condition.

Can I be self-employed and still participate in the Ticket to Work Program?

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Full-time, part-time, and self-employment goals can work in the Ticket to Work Program. As with current work incentive rules, the amount of earnings Social Security considers is what affects the benefits rules, not whether the job is full-time, part-time, or self-employment. However, the goal of the Ticket to Work Program is to eliminate your reliance on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and become self-supporting.

Who manages the Ticket to Work Program?

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Although the Ticket to Work Program is a project of the Social Security Administration (SSA), responsibility for the day-to-day management of the program has been given to a private firm called MAXIMUS. As program manager, MAXIMUS offers outreach, recruitment, training, and processes payments for Employment Networks (EN) in the Ticket to Work Program. The Ticket to Work website has more information.