Ticket to Work connects you with free employment services to help you decide if working is right for you, prepare for work, find a job or maintain success while you are working. If you choose to participate, you will receive services such as career counseling, vocational rehabilitation, and job placement and training from authorized Ticket to Work service providers, such as Employment Networks (EN) or your state Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency. The service provider you choose will serve as an important part of your “employment team” that will help you on your journey to financial independence.
Learn more about the type of service providers that will help you as part of your employment team.
Everyone age 18 through 64 who receives Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits because of his or her disability is eligible to participate in the Ticket to Work program. Participation in the Ticket to Work program is free and voluntary.
Social Security no longer sends paper tickets in the mail, and you don't need a paper Ticket to participate! Your eligibility will be verified by the service provider with whom you choose to work. You can also find out about your eligibility status by calling the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 / 866-833-2967 (TTY).
How to Get Started
If you decide to participate, getting started is easy! First, call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 / 866-833-2967 (TTY) to verify your eligibility. Our customer service representatives will explain to you how the program works and answer any questions or address any concerns you might have. They will also offer to mail you a list of service providers, or if you prefer, you can use the Find Help tool to get a customized list of providers that are available to help you.
The next step is deciding what service provider is right for you. You may work with either an Employment Network (EN) or your state Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency, depending on your needs. The "Finding an EN and Assigning Your Ticket Worksheet" can help you keep track of the ENs you are interested in and provides important questions for you to ask. You may also receive services from your VR agency and then receive ongoing services from an Employment Network.
Some ENs are also part of a state’s public workforce system. These workforce ENs provide access to additional employment support services including training programs and special programs for youth in transition and veterans. A Ticket to Work participant who assigns their Ticket to a workforce EN will either work with a workforce EN directly or via other providers in the workforce system, including American Job Centers.
Learn more about choosing the right service provider on the Path to Work: Ready to Work
Once you and your service provider decide to work together, you will collaboratively develop a plan to help you reach your work goals. Your employment team will then help you make progress towards those goals and, eventually, a more financially independent future.
Making Timely Progress After You Assign Your Ticket
Your road to employment through the Ticket program is a two-way street: You receive free assistance from your service provider to prepare for, find and keep a job, while you work your way towards financial independence. In return, you pledge to Social Security that you will take specific steps – determined by the plan you developed with your service provider – within specific timeframes set by Social Security to:
- Work at a specified earnings level or,
- Complete certain educational or training requirements.
When you participate in the Ticket program, you are working with your EN or VR to reduce or eliminate your dependence on SSDI and/or SSI cash benefits.
Taking the agreed-upon steps toward employment within Social Security’s timeframes is called making “timely progress” towards:
- Receiving the education and training you need to succeed at work and your long-term career
- Becoming and staying employed
- Reducing your dependence on SSDI or SSI payments
- Earning your way off cash benefits, if possible
For you, the return for making “timely progress” is that you succeed in achieving a more financially independent life.
Ordinarily Social Security reviews your medical condition from time to time to see whether you still have a disability through a process called the medical Continuing Disability Review, or CDR. If you assign your Ticket to an approved service provider before you receive a CDR notice and make “timely progress” following your employment plan, Social Security will not conduct a review of your medical condition. If you assign your Ticket after you receive a CDR notice, Social Security will continue with your scheduled medical review.
I'm Interested! What's Next?
Here are four actions you can take right now to learn more about the Ticket to Work program and Social Security’s Work Incentives: