SSA logo: link to Social Security Online home519. The Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program

519.1 What is the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program?

The Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program (Ticket to Work Program) is designed to give Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability or blindness beneficiaries more choices to obtain vocational rehabilitation (VR) and employment support services to begin working or to increase their earnings. Beneficiaries ages 18-65 are eligible for the Ticket to Work Program. Organizations called Employment Networks (ENs), consisting of private, nonprofit, and public organizations, including many State VR agencies, have agreements with SSA to provide services to assist beneficiaries in meeting their individual work goals.

519.2 How Does the Ticket to Work Program Work?

The Ticket gives eligible beneficiaries access to a network of ENs who can provide job training, career preparation, job placement and retention, and other employment support services at no cost to the beneficiary. SSA pays ENs for assisting individual beneficiaries in reaching certain monthly work-related milestones or outcomes that eventually eliminate financial dependence on SSDI and SSI benefits.

A beneficiary who wants to use his or her Ticket to return to work or increase earnings may contact an EN directly. ENs may also initiate contact with beneficiaries. When an EN and a beneficiary decide to work together, they must develop an individualized work plan outlining services and supports needed to achieve the beneficiary's vocational goal. The beneficiary's ticket is assigned when there is a signed work plan between the beneficiary and the EN and the beneficiary meets all Ticket regulation requirements. SSA will not conduct a continuing medical disability review while the beneficiary is using a Ticket with an EN or State VR agency as long as the beneficiary is making the expected progress.

VR agencies and ENs can both receive payment sequentially - VR under reimbursement and EN under the Ticket after VR closure. This is called Partnership Plus, and allows flexibility for increased collaboration among VR agencies and ENs.

519.3 For More Information about Ticket to Work

There are a variety of resources available on SSA's Work Site: http://www.ssa.gov/work for those who wish to learn more about the Ticket to Work Program. Beneficiaries may contact the Ticket Call Center by calling toll-free: 1-866-968-7842 (TTY 1-866-833-2967) for additional information. For a list of ENs in your geographic area, please visit the EN Directory on the web at http://www.yourtickettowork.com/endir.

519.4 Work Incentives Planning and Assistance and Protection and Advocacy

SSA has established cooperative agreements with community-based organizations called Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) organizations to provide benefits planning and other assistance to SSA beneficiaries with disabilities. The goal of the WIPA program is to provide Social Security and SSI beneficiaries with disability-related support to achieve a work goal. WIPA projects assist beneficiaries to understand, and effectively use, work incentives. WIPA staff members, called Community Work Incentives Coordinators (CWICs), also assist beneficiaries to connect to vocational and financial supports. These supports include not only the SSA work incentives, but also services provided by ENs or State VR agencies, and a host of Federal, State, and local programs including Medicaid, housing, Food Stamps, etc. CWICs analyze a beneficiary's current benefit status, assist them to connect to needed supports, and follow the individual long-term as the beneficiary works towards economic self-sufficiency, or if that is not possible, improvement of the person's economic situation through earnings.

The Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) program was also authorized by the Ticket to Work legislation. In every State and U.S. territory, there is a designated Protection and Advocacy agency that receives Federal funding to provide advocacy services to individuals with disabilities. SSA provides grant funds to these agencies to administer the PABSS program. These agencies provide information and advice about vocational rehabilitation and employment services provided by ENs and State VR agencies. PABSS also provide systemic advocacy to improve available services or individual advocacy to assist beneficiaries to secure other related services that beneficiaries with disabilities need to secure or regain gainful employment. Both PABSS and WIPA services are free to individuals receiving SSDI or SSI benefits based on disability or blindness. A list of WIPA and PABSS grantees, with their contact information, is located in our Service Provider Directory at https://secure.ssa.gov/apps10/oesp/providers.nsf/bystate.

Last Revised: Aug. 8, 2011