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Ticket to Work job program for the disabled.

Learn how the Ticket to Work program helps people with a disability get a job, make extra money and find satisfying employment. People on Social Security Insurance (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can have an income while they also receive cash assistance from the government. The Ticket to Work allows disabled adults to both get financial assistance from the government and earn extra money at a part time, or work from home job.

For people with disabilities, finding and maintaining a suitable and enjoyable job can prove difficult. It is even more challenging due to some of the government regulations around how monthly disability payments work. Social Security's Ticket to Work program may offer the solution.

Ticket to Work, often referred to as the Ticket program, has helped hundreds of thousands of disabled individuals or people with a handicap find a job, often times it can be a career including gainful employment. Anyone from age 18 to 64 who receives Social Security disability benefits via either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is eligible. The program is voluntary, free and there is no penalty for choosing to participate.

The goal of the Ticket program is to offer persons with disabilities the choices, opportunities and support they need to find and maintain employment while, in turn, reducing dependence on government cash benefit programs. The Ticket program allows people to test their ability to enter or re-enter the workforce and to increase their incomes without losing disability or healthcare benefits, including Medicare.

What is the Ticket to Work

Originally, eligible program participants received a paper ticket that could be assigned by the participant to an employment service provider called an Employment Network (EN) or to a state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agency. Today, paper tickets are no longer provided. An individual's "ticket" is now his or her Social Security number.

Eligibility to participate in the program is verified by the service provider (see below). As noted, anyone with a physical or mental disability, and that is on social security payments, can participate. The EN or VR then offers services tailored to each person's need to help them prepare for employment.

Assistance is provided to locate suitable part or full time jobs and ongoing support is available to help the person succeed at the new job. There are also work from home and gig type jobs available as part of the Ticket to Work.




Employment networks include private, public and non-profit organizations, major corporations. state and local agencies, postsecondary institutions, employers and national organizations. In general, ENs provide career counseling, assistance with job placement, job coaching and long-term employment support.  Some ENs serve local communities while others offer services to people located throughout several states. Most ENs work with individuals in-person but may also provide services by phone or online.

Vocational rehabilitation agencies are typically established as independent state agencies, but they can choose to act as a service provider for the Ticket to Work program. VR agencies generally work with individuals, such as handicap people with a mobility issues, who need more substantial services than an EN can often provide. This could include specific vocational skills training and college courses, medical equipment and vehicle modification. Individuals may sometimes begin their Ticket program with a VR agency and later transfer to an employment network.

To locate the ENs or VRs in your area, you can request a list by calling the Ticket to Work Helpline at 1-866-968-7842 or you can enter your zip code using the Ticket program's Find Help tool online at

If you think you're eligible to use the Ticket program, contact an EN or VR agency to obtain more information and to determine if the services offered will meet your needs. Once you and a service provider have decided to work together, you will collaboratively identify employment goals and design a plan to achieve them.

The plan recognizes that the Ticket program has mutual responsibilities. In return for receiving free training, job preparation services, extra income from an employer and assistance locating employment, you pledge to Social Security that you will take steps within specific timelines as outlined in the plan to complete training or education requirements or work at a set earnings level. Taking these agreed-upon steps shows you are making "timely progress" towards becoming employed.

One tradeoff for making "timely progress" is that Social Security will no longer conduct Continuing Disability Reviews of your medical condition. These reviews are usually required at regular intervals for persons receiving Social Security disability cash benefits.

A disabled person who is enrolled into the ticket to work program may only have one job at a time. They cam work with one EN or VR at a time. However, the ticker holder may change service providers by unassigning the ticket and simply reassigning it to a different provider.





Ticket to Work benefits

The Ticket program can be used for work-at-home jobs, employment at a “traditional” corporation, or to create self-employment opportunities. The disabled also work part time, full time, or as a contractor. Many local as well as national employers are providing a greater number of opportunities for work-at-home employment. Self-employment has also increased as people have chosen to put their skills and talents to work and create new businesses.

Numerous ENs specialize in remote work. If you are interested in creating a business or working from home on your own or for an employer, discuss those goals with your service provider to ensure the EN can provide the direction and assistance you need.

Ticket to Work also helps arrange free transportation for people with a disability. There are rides, Volunteer Services, Paratransit, ADA services and more. Sometimes the employers arrange the transportation, in some cases the federal government provides a voucher or free card to the handicapped person so they can pay for rides to the worksite. More on free rides for people with a disability.

The Ticket Program does not stop you from getting your current Social Security disability payments and healthcare insurance. Those government assistance programs continue while you receive training and gain work experience. You will continue to receive your existing cash disability benefit until your wages or self-employment income exceeds SSI or SSDI earning limits for an extended period.

While the income rages adjust each and every year. In general SSDI recipients can earn up to $1,500 a month or $2,500 if blind and continue to receive SSDI benefits. However, achieving that income level even for several months will not cause disability benefits to stop.

The Ticket program includes a trial work period of nine months during which you can exceed the income limits and not lose SSDI or SSI public assistance benefits. The nine months can be spread over five years. For example, if you exceed the income limits twice in one year and three times the following year, your SSDI benefits will still not be affected. The bottom line is that the disabled can still receive cash assistance from Social Security while making extra money from the Ticket to Work program.

Should you achieve stable employment with a steady income above SSDI income limits for more than nine months, disability payments will eventually terminate. However, as added protection, Social Security provisions allow your disability benefits to resume without having to reapply should your income drop or a medical condition require you to stop working for an extended period.

Program participants can generally control the number of hours they work to ensure the continuation of disability benefits. As a result, the Ticket program can help people obtain a higher standard of living by allowing them to combine employment income with existing disability payments.

Most SSDI recipients receive health care coverage through Medicare. Ticket program participants who receive SSDI benefits remain eligible for Medicare coverage. Some employers may also provide other additional benefits to the disabled, such as supplemental health insurance, vacation, or retirement plans. Even if a participant begins earning enough to eventually terminate SSDI or SSI payments, the participant will still be eligible for Medicare coverage for up to 93 months after disability payments stop.

Ticket to Work services include benefits counseling to ensure that people understand how program participation and employment may affect benefit payments and health care coverage. Individual Ticket programs can last up to seven years. Social Security conducts annual reviews to ensure program participants are making timely progress toward vocational goals.







Ticket to Work serves all 50 states. While the numbers fluctuate each year, in general anywhere from 200,000 to 500,000 people with a disability (Social Security beneficiaries) participate each year.  It is a great way to make some extra money, gain experience and a purpose, while also continuing to receive social security disability payments.

Having a job with a disability

Many people eagerly look forward to their retirement day when they can leave their job behind. For others, being employed provides more than just a paycheck. Working provides many with a sense of accomplishment, positive self-esteem and the opportunity to use their skills and talents.

If you are receiving Social Security disability benefits but hope to earn additional income through wage-earning or self-employment, the Ticket to Work program offers you an opportunity to explore and pursue options without giving up your current financial benefits and health care coverage. To obtain more information about the Ticket to Work Program, you can call the Helpline at 1-866-968-7842 or go online to


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