About Ticket to Work
Social Security’s Ticket to Work program supports career development for people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits (SSI or SSDI) and want to work. The Ticket program is free and voluntary. It helps people with disabilities move toward financial independence and connects them with the services and support they need to succeed in the workforce.
To learn more about Ticket to Work, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/work and contact the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 (Voice) or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket to Work Find Help tool.
By Guest Blogger Sheriene Knox
As Veterans Day approaches on November 11, 2016, I believe it’s important to thank those who have put their lives on the line and remember those who paid the ultimate price for our freedom. There are many veterans looking for work who receive VA Service Connected Disability and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). But many veterans do not take advantage of services that the Ticket to Work (Ticket) program can provide.
What is Ticket to Work?
The Ticket program connects you with free employment services to help you prepare for work, find a job, decide if working is right for you, and be successful in the workplace. If you choose to participate, you can receive services such as career counseling, vocational rehabilitation, and job placement and training from authorized Ticket program 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.
Do I qualify for Ticket to Work?
As a Veteran, you may wonder if you qualify for the Ticket program. The Ticket program supports career development for people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits (SSI or SSDI) and want to work. The Ticket program is free and voluntary.
Can working affect my benefits?
If you receive VA Service Connected Disability, your wages—in most cases—will not affect the amount you receive! SSDI and SSI are different, however, so your wages could affect your continuing eligibility to receive cash benefits or the amount you receive. The good news is that Social Security has Work Incentives for people who receive SSDI or SSI. Work Incentives make it possible for people to test their ability to work and still receive Medicare or Medicaid and some cash benefits while they work. When looking for an EN, remember to ask if they have a Benefits Specialist on staff.
If you receive a Social Security disability benefit and are working, about to start a job, or looking for work, there are also free benefits planning services available through Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) projects in communities across the country. You can locate these service providers here.
Why should I try Ticket to Work?
- The Ticket program is about individualized services. It is about understanding you and your situation and identifying the help you need to get back into the workforce.
- There are ENs that specialize in working with veterans and understanding your particular needs. To participate in the Ticket program, you choose an EN that will provide you with one-on-one support. ENs are private or public organizations that can help with career counseling and job placement. Some are able to help you understand how working may affect your benefits.
- There are ENs that have Benefits Specialists who understand, monitor and share with you how working affects your SSDI benefit. These Benefits Specialists understand Social Security’s Work Incentives and how they can help you.
- ENs can continue to help you for almost five working years! The Ticket program is about building relationships and helping you find and maintain your career. This could include re-employment support, updating résumés and keeping you informed of ever-changing interview styles.
As you can see, there are many reasons veterans should explore the Ticket program and receive the services they deserve. Check out this success story on Renate Merritt and the podcast on Employment Resources for Transitioning Veterans with Disabilities.
Thank you for your service!
About the Guest Blogger
Sheriene Knox works for Operation: Job Ready Veterans. She has over 25 years of experience helping people with disabilities all over the United States find and keep employment that meets their interests and abilities. She is also a Benefits Specialist who believes in providing highly individualized services to those she serves: veterans, spouses, and caregivers. She has presented at the National Employment Network Association (NENA) Conference for three years and is on the NENA Board of Directors.