Managing Your Benefits While Working

The Ticket to Work Program

Many people with disabilities worry that if they go to work, they’ll lose their health care coverage and are unsure if they can support themselves without disability benefits. For most people this is not true. There are actually many Social Security rules (known as work incentives) that help people with disabilities try working without losing their benefits right away.

The Ticket to Work Program is a federal program for adults with disabilities who are 18 – 64 years old and are getting disability benefits from Social Security. The Ticket program offers people more choices on where they can get employment services and is designed to supply help that is carefully tailored to meet each person’s needs.

The goal of the program is to help users become more self-sufficient by raising their earned income. If the program works for you, you will be able to have more independence and rely less on Social Security disability benefits. Also, you will still be able to use other Social Security programs and work incentives to help you transition into work.

During the time that you are actively participating in the Ticket to Work Program, you can get the help and support you need to find the job that is right for you. The Ticket program can help you get:

How the Program Works

If you get Social Security disability checks and you are between 18 – 64 years old, you are eligible to participate in the Ticket to Work Program. But Social Security doesn’t mail out a paper ticket anymore; it is all electronic now. After you have confirmed that you are eligible to begin the Ticket to Work program, you can “assign” your "ticket" to a Ticket to Work services provider called an Employment Network (EN). Click here to find an employment network in your area. If you have a work goal or are currently working, a Work Incentive Consultant can answer your questions.

Once you find an EN who is willing to accept your Ticket, you and the EN will develop a written agreement called an Individual Work Plan. The plan will include details about the services the EN will offer and your responsibilities to reach your work goals.

In addition to the private ENs listed, you may choose instead to get employment services from the Arizona Rehabilitation Services Administration (AZRSA), which is a state agency considered an Employment Network by the Ticket to Work Program.

Important facts about the Ticket to Work Program:

  • It is voluntary. It is fine if you choose not to do it.
  • It is free. The services you get through this program are all paid for by the government.
  • It is safe. The program is set up so that you can learn about employment options or try working.

One great aspect of the Ticket to Work program is that while you are in it, Social Security will not make you do medical Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs). As long as you progress through your job search in a timely manner and continue working, you won’t lose your eligibility for SSI or SSDI for medical reasons.

To learn more about the Ticket to Work Program, click here.

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