Ticket to Work Puts People Back in the Driver’s Seat

woman wearing a apron in the kitchen Social Security encourages people to rejoin the workforce when they are able. Ticket to Work is our free and voluntary program that helps people get vocational rehabilitation, training, job referrals, and other employment support services.

This program is for people ages 18 to 64, who are receiving disability benefits, and need support re-entering the workforce or working for the first time. While many disabled individuals are unable to work and may never be able to return to work, we know that some are eager to try working again. Work incentives make it easier to work and still receive health care and cash benefits from Social Security while providing protections if people have to stop working due to a disability.

Social Security works with employment networks to offer beneficiaries access to meaningful employment. Employment networks are organizations and agencies, including state vocational rehabilitation agencies that provide various employment support services. Some services they may help with include résumé writing, interviewing skills, and job leads.

Ticket to Work gives individuals the opportunity to choose from several employment networks. Participants are free to talk with as many employment networks as they want before choosing one. If someone signs an agreement with an employment network, they’ll help the individual develop an employment plan. We’ll review their progress toward achieving the goals of their employment plan every 12 months. If they are making timely progress in their return to work plan, we will not conduct a medical review of their disability during the time they’re in the program.

Many people have successfully completed the Ticket to Work program. Anyone interested in the Ticket to Work program should call the Ticket to Work Helpline toll-free at 1-866-968-7842 (TTY 1-866-833-2967). More information on the program is available online at www.socialsecurity.gov/work.

Remember, Social Security is with everyone through life’s journey, providing resources that can help people reach their work and retirement goals.


71 thoughts on “Ticket to Work Puts People Back in the Driver’s Seat

  1. local resources in Montgomery county Maryland Potomac for an under 22 disabled adult who has endstage Glioblastomy Brain Cancer and is in need of benefits. the diagnosis was at age 18 the prognosis at diagnosis is 14 months at best it has done been 3 years an d he is in rapid decline

    • I’m very sorry to read this and my prayers go to you and your family.

      I had my husband’s brain autopsied by DURAY research foundation and my husband’s brain made for my history having LYME DISEASE and Lewy body dementia Plus they found a Filarial nematode parasitic worm that also had LYME DISEASE in it too.

      This foundation also did a glioblastoma autopsy as well. For your information only.

      Again best wishes to your entire family and what each of you is going through.

      Betty gordon

    • Hi Ellen. Disability Benefits are paid to people who are unable to work because of a medical condition that is expected to last one year or more or to result in death. Social Security pays only for total disability. We pay disability benefits through two programs: the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. The SSI program is a needs-based program that pays benefits to disabled adults and children who have limited income and resources. SSDI benefits, on the other hand, are based on earnings and are not subject to income and resource limits. We encourage everyone to apply for disability benefits as soon as when they become disabled. Individuals can apply for disability benefits online. If you cannot apply online or you decide not to finish applying online, for whatever reason, you can apply in person at any Social Security office or by calling our toll-free number, 1-800-772-1213. Representatives are available between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., Monday through Friday. Generally, you’ll have a shorter wait time if you call later in the week. Thanks.

  2. Please e-mail me the local SSA office and phone # the disable person uses a walker and doesn’t have handicap transportation in Potomac Maryland

    • Generally, we do not publish the phone numbers of our local offices. You can call us toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). By calling 1-800-772-1213, you can use our automated telephone services to get recorded information and conduct some business 24 hours a day. If you cannot handle your business through our automated services, you can speak to a Social Security representative between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. Thanks!

  3. Oh my gosh….Now SSA has come up with a program that allows people to “sign up” and then be excused from the medical review process during their time in the program? You say SSA reviews a participant’s “progress toward achieving the goals of their employment plan EVERY 12 MONTHS”!! You go to say that “many people have successfully completed the Ticket to Work program.” “. What was the average length to complete the program and how many of them got a job and what was the average salary? It would have to be more than what the person is receiving in taxpayer funded benefits. This is just one more Government program that requires a high paid, benefits rich bureaucracy of Government workers to operate in the name of serving the American public.

    • Sorry. I presume you have a political agenda. Knowing your sources, we can safely assume you won’t let facts get in the way of what you want to believe.

      This was created by George W Bush and employs contractors under rules written in Congress. The company administering the program is Maximus. Government bureaucrats are not making decisions.

      This is the very same George W Bush who invaded Iraq because as we all know WMD Saddam assisted the 9-11 hijackers and he also created the highly cost-effective Part D of Medicare.

      Too many facts?

      • Yes, and his post further demonstrates how little -if anything – he does knoe about the Social Security Administration, or the program at all. Ticket to Work in not new. Additionally, these people are trying to get back to work and this program is helping them to do that. This should be something the SSDI haters (the ones who insist disabled people are just “faking” because they’re “too lazy to work,” and they’re “living off my tax dollars.” You are so right. These cretins do not even posses a pasding acquaintance with the concept of facts. While we’re at it, here’s another fact – while the chronic complainers who constantly criticize Social Security, this Congress is quietly pushing through a bill which effectively eliminates the program. How tragic for them…whatever will they have to complain about once our entire government system has been dismantled?

        • What program is quietly being eliminated? Ticket to work? If this is the case perhaps it’s because it is found to be a waste of money since very few disabled take advantage of it and perhaps it’s being replaced by something that people can use. Yep, don’t let the facts hit you in the butt.

          • Low-income housing assistance, home, loans through FHA & HUD, SNAP, Medicaid, Medicare, FDA approval
            process, FDA enforcement, USDA inspections & enforcement, Community assistance (including Meals on Wheels, LEAP, services for the aging and /or disabled, Social Security, portions of the EEOC and ADA, the Guaranteed Student
            Loan program, public school funding, public health funding, the CDC, NOAA (where the Weather
            Channel gets its info), the entire Earth Sciences division of NASA, all funding for mass transit and highway
            projects, funding to the US Forest Service, 40%of funding to the SPA including enforcement, Amtrak, NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) which regulates air travel, among other modes;
            air traffic control student CFPB (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, banking regulatiins…read all these bills & more in their actual form at Congress.gov. That’s where I get my information. You should, too.

          • Ticket To Work was a blessing for me! It got me motivated to get out there after a suicide attempt (my 3rd–I decided God must want me to stick around a while). I was in my 50’s at the time and getting back out there was scary. In AZ there’s a program that offered refresher courses in resume writing, mock interviews and the last three months was an internship. For three months I scanned documents and photos onto the computer, external hard drives, USB’s-it paid $60 a week but I got so much more. I got my confidence back and that was priceless. I eventually found a job and was able to get off disability. I realize this is not an option for a lot of people. However, nowadays working at home, telecommuting is getting more popular. It might be worth looking into for those for home ditching disability altogether is not an option. You’ll be surprised. People have gotten off disability by working at home! Just watch out for scams.
            Phone work, document editor, web designer, accountant, virtual assistant–anything that doesn’t require you be in an office or other specialized environment you can do at home!

        • Wow!!! What a jerk! I hope if they “disable” it, they pay everyone every dime they or their employer on their behalf, paid into the system…..plus the interest I would have earned had I been allowed to put that money in a retire account or invested it!!!!! You need to get a brain!!!!

      • Is the last paragraph supposed to be snark? Because if it’s not, you are extremely misinformed.

        The commenter you replied to made the point that the program is actually redundant and heavy on bureaucracy, which is true. Reliance on government contractors (“partners”) doesn’t make it less so. It’s merely another example of the attempt to privatize government services, which is NEVER a savings to taxpayers. Period. Pretending otherwise is an example of your own political agenda.
        FACT: TTW doesn’t do anything that wasn’t already available. Beneficiaries were always able to choose voc rehab services, either through voc rehab or other community service orgs. TTW just adds a tedious, complicated monitoring system which is pointless and frustrating to beneficiaries.
        Beneficiaries who want to work are better off working with a WIPA coordinator to understand the many safety nets the SSDI work incentives provide, without the hassle of the TTW nonsense.
        And I believe it is Booz Allen, the military contractor, who for some strange reason was put in charge of this program. Which only goes to show who really runs DC and our so-called “public agencies.”
        Wake. Up. Sheeple.

  4. I tried this a few years ago. I had not been informed that I could be paid less than minimum wage, or about how wages would reduce benefits, or about the length of time between receiving one’s final paycheck and having full benefits restored. When I asked what sort of training was available (DVR, etc.), I was told that it consisted only of “teaching” people to punch in on time, and follow instructions. I ended up greatly regretting the experience.

    • I am also concetned about how this will transpire. While I have significant hralth issues, I do my best to bring in enough to pay my way. I am thankful for the help up, as I gained a degree.
      Unfortunately, even with a degree and the hours I can work, my pay may not pay for my expenses in this inflated housing market.
      I worked in Grant & Aid, for children’s tuition, and heard of people having benefits suddenly taken, one was an older person whose husband had just passed, but a child was still.at home. They stopped her payment and asked for several thousand back. This took place after Obama took office, and I saw a video in the local office touting his “recovery ” of so many billions. I was one, and I am assuming I wasn’t the only one who became homeless because of it. I worked too much in a four month period.
      The strange thing is that, while we are stretching ourselves to do the very best we can, even taking on more illness to do so, we are penalized for trying.
      I still cant tell you all of the guidelines to stay within the guidelines, and for how long. I was told just to remember not to earn over $1,100 per month. I would like to know how that covers the expense?
      You get over that amount, and it counts against you. In the end hou go into a higher tax bracket and take on more expense while working, all the while working away this benefit.
      I’m doing my best. I am thankful, when I get this benefit that I have paid into all of my life. Some have given up trying, but I have not felt any sort of stability receiving this. Often, it causes more illness to work a full 40 hour per week. Drs just say its part of the disease, so no help there.
      This all transpired after a dr botched a surgery that I was later advised was unneccesary. Not enough evidence to prove their fault. Can’t seem to catch the right break here.

      • Your example is typical. That is why the program and programs like it such as “trial work periods” are failures. Few are really benefited and for the few that are helped, it takes a massive bureaucracy (Millions of man hours) to support it.

      • I would find the evidence against those quacks! If surgery was botched and you’re still suffering for it, you should be compensated. I wouldn’t let slide easily. That’s serious!
        Anyway, the only time I ever heard of people having their benefits taken away quickly and having to pay back large amounts, is if they work for several months at significantly above the income cap and don’t report it OR they were paid an overpayment by Social Security and didn’t report it. One would know if they were overpaid.
        The income cap is low–true. However, for the first 9 months you can make as much money as you want. If you find after that time that you can keep on working, inform Social Security and they will adjust or stop your benefits accordingly. Those first nine months are just to see if you can handle full time work. The goal of Ticket To Work, is to see if you can come off disability (at least that’s the way I see it). I used Ticket To Work to come off disability-not work and collect it. If you’re having significant health problems and that’s not an option, I’d try freelance work or a work at home job.
        This year, the income cap for SSDI is $1,220–not much. However, people combine that low income with subsidized housing, and other benefits. They secure the subsidized housing and whatever other benefits they can get before going to work. If you’re capable of earning significantly more than that, they you don’t need disability.

        If your job offers 401K’s and/or HSA’s–jump on that to lower your taxable income when coming off Disability. HSA’s are the best thing they’ve come up with yet! I’m waiting I’m almost retirement age and I’m waiting for HSA’s that Medicare beneficiaries can participate in!
        I’ve never worked at home but a co-worker of mine left the job to do phone work at home (she was a young mother).
        I don’t know what your skills are but you have college so working at home might be worth looking into considering you have health issues. You can set your own hours, keep your own books, and control how what you make and report (a lot of people are doing that). The majority of my working life has been spent working freelance. The best clients paid in cash.

        If you have any extra living space-(room, couch, floor, sleeping bags)–rent it out! You can do that in a one bedroom apt. Collect your rent in cash.
        If weed is legal in your state–become a dispensary (be sure to follow all laws, regulations & obtain the proper licensing). That’s not an option for me in AZ.

        Bottom line? All it takes is hustle–and nerve!

        If you work for an employer, depending on your salary and whether your job offers them, 401K’s and especially HSA’s are the way to go to lower your taxable income!

          • How Work Affects Your Benefits only mentions retirement and age. I am 38 and on Disability. Do you have any information regarding HOW MUCH or IF I CAN work? And how am I supposed to get a job with uncontrolled seizures and tonic-clonic amnesia, just to name a few of my disabilities? Thank you

        • You get 9 months within a 60 month period where you can make any amount. If you get a permanent job that pays significantly more than the income cap, go for it and get off disability. You don’t need it. That’s what that 9 month period is for.

  5. My niece was diagnosed with colon cancer . she had radiation and chemo and surgery. she wears a bag. She has had 1 surgery to repair this and faces 1 more. She has been off work for almost a year. She lost her place her job her car and insurance. She has applied for disability and has been denied 3 times . She needs the help to get back on her feet. what else can we do ? Thanks

    • She needs a lawyer. They will help get benefits and take a cut of back due benefits. Shame we have to pay a lawyer to get benefits we worked for but at least it’s a way to get them. Good Luck.

    • Tell her to keep applying. Almost nobody gets disability on the first try unless it’s a serious mental health issue and the doctor/shrink Social Security sends you too, reads your mental health history and approves you, no questions asks, because he’s afraid not to!

      Tell her to get statements from her doctors, keep a record of hospital stays and any treatment she ever received. Sometimes it takes a while but for her medical issues, she should get it. I’ve known people who applied 7-8 times. You niece might want to speak to a disability lawyer as well.

  6. It’s a damn shame our system claim to assist you but denied everyone who files for benefits, in actuality one have to pay an attorney to receive what our tax $$$$$ pay to employ them and they are the main ones gather ur life history send you out the door with no assistance, People have worked most of their lives and can not receive any assistance from any of the programs that their tax $$$ was used to put them in office and the taxpayers receives a serious raw deal. Life’s a B—h and isn’t FAIR at all to the people who came before them and programs like yall sends them out the door with NOTHING, cruel people in society who makes this sorry ass system up to FAIL the very ones who paid for them to be in OFFICE, And We get DENIED SAID SOCIETY of peoples.

  7. Why is 64 the ending age for ticket to work program? I believe there are still some able bodied seniors that have the capacity to work in some categories of the employment world

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