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For People with Disabilities: A Ticket to Work


According to the U.S. Social Security Administration, more than 13 million working-age people in the U.S. receive Social Security disability benefits; that's almost one in every 15 adults. Some may consider returning to work, but have important concerns regarding health care, cash benefits, job placement and job accommodations. The good news is that Social Security's Ticket to Work program that supports career development for people with disabilities is here to help.

The following is an overview of the Ticket to Work program and how it works from the Social Security Administration.


The Lottery Ticket, Digital ID 1259097, New York Public LibrarySocial Security's Ticket to Work program supports career development for people with disabilities who want to work. Social Security disability beneficiaries 18 through 64 qualify. The Ticket program is free and voluntary and exists specifically to help people with disabilities progress toward financial self-sufficiency. The Ticket program is a good fit for people who would like to improve their earning potential and who are committed to preparing for long-term success in the workforce. Ticket to Work offers beneficiaries with disabilities improved access to meaningful employment with the help of specialized providers. If you are ready to go to work, Ticket to Work Incentives professionals are available to help you.

The career development services and support you need are unique to you. The Ticket program can connect you with a variety of free employment support services that will best serve you.

The Ticket program and Work Incentives allow you to keep your benefits while you explore employment, receive vocational rehabilitation, or gain work experience. Cash benefits often continue throughout your transition to work and are eliminated only when you maintain a level of earnings, known as Substantial Gainful Activity.

How It Works

You became eligible to participate in the Ticket to Work program when you started receiving SSDI or SSI benefits based on disability. Social Security no longer sends paper tickets in the mail, but don't worry-you don't need a paper Ticket to participate. Participation in the Ticket program is free and voluntary; If you decide to participate, you can contact any authorized provider in your area to see the services they offer are right for you. These providers, called Employment Networks (ENs), offer specialized services such as career counseling, vocational rehabilitation, and job placement and training. Feel free to talk with as many ENs as you would like to see what they have to offer! You may also receive services from your local vocational rehabilitation agency and then receive ongoing services from an EN.

Work Incentives that go with the Ticket to Work Program

Work Incentives make it possible for you to explore work while receiving health care and cash benefits; they are designed to help you succeed!

  • You may keep your Medicaid/Medicare while you work.
  • You have access to individualized support services.
  • You can select part-time or work-from-home alternatives to help you reach your goal of financial independence.
  • You can try work with confidence, knowing your benefits continue during your transition period.

The Ticket to Work program is just one of many Work Incentives available to you. When you assign your Ticket to an Employment Network, you are eligible for several Work Incentives:

  • Trial Work Period (TWP) for SSDI recipients only.

The TWP allows you to test your ability to work for at least nine months. During your TWP, you will receive full SSDI benefits no matter how much you earn as long as your work activity is reported and you have a disabling impairment.

  • Expedited Reinstatement (EXR) for SSDI and SSI recipients

If your benefits stopped because of your earnings level, you can request to have your benefits reinstated without having to complete a new application. While Social Security determines your benefits reinstatement, you are eligible to receive temporary benefits for up to six months.

  • Protection from Medical Continuing Disability Reviews (CDR) for SSDI and SSI recipients

You will not have to undergo a medical continuing disability review (CDR) while you are participating in the Ticket to Work program.

One of the best ways to learn more about Work Incentives including the Ticket to Work program is to attend a free Work Incentives Seminar Event (WISER) online webinar.  The Ticket to Work program hosts an accessible online event for you and your family to learn about Work Incentives, including Ticket to work. You can join a webinar on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Register online or call 1-866-968-7842 (V) or 1-866 -833-2967 (TTY)

If you want to learn more about Social Security's Ticket to Work program, please visit Job Search Central at 188 Madison Avenue and 34th Street.


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