Working with an EN after VR Services Have Ended
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Adults age 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits are eligible to participate in the Ticket to Work program. Under the Ticket program, you can receive free services to help you prepare for, find or maintain employment. State Vocational Rehabilitation agencies (VR) and authorized service providers known as Employment Networks (ENs) both offer these types of services. Your state VR can be a good place to begin exploring your options. Many people gain skills and find work with help from a VR. Others find their needs are better met with an EN. If you received services from your state VR to find work, you can then use your Ticket to receive ongoing services from an EN after you are on the job.
Service Providers and the Services They May Offer
ENs and VRs both offer a range of services to help you prepare for and find work. ENs also offer continuing support services that can help you remain employed or advance your career.
While ENs are all required to provide career planning and assistance with job search activities, some are better equipped to serve people with certain disabilities.
Specialized services offered by some ENs include benefits counseling, career counseling, resume writing and interview skills. It’s important to find an EN or VR that offers services that meet your needs.
After you have found work, an EN may help you:
- Get Job Accommodations
- Communicate with your Employer
- Stay in Touch with Social Security
- Stay Organized
- Report Earnings
- Find Answers to your Questions about how Working can Affect your Benefits
ENs help you stay organized and communicate with Social Security so you can remain focused on advancing your career. Having a resource in your corner can make the adjustment to work easier.
If you found help with a state VR agency, your case may be closed approximately 90 days after you start working. After VR services end, many people find that they need continuing support services to help them keep their job and increase their earnings over time. That’s why state VR agencies often partner with ENs that provide job retention services and other types of ongoing support. This arrangement, known as Partnership Plus, gives Ticket program participants continued access to individualized employment services, if needed. After VR services have ended, you can assign your Ticket to an EN of your choice to receive these additional services. Partnership Plus sets you up for success by providing the support you need at each step to financial self-sufficiency.
Someone in Your Corner
Entering or re-entering the workforce can be an adjustment. Having a place to go for answers to your questions can make this transition easier. For example, Ticket program participants must contact Social Security and report their earnings monthly. Some ENs help you stay organized and communicate with Social Security so you can avoid worrisome overpayments and remain focused on advancing your career. ENs that offer benefits counseling are equipped to help you take better control of your finances. They will be able to inform you about rules called Work Incentives, which make it easier to enhance your job skills and gain experience. Working with an EN is like having a resource in your corner to help you succeed.
Partnership Plus can extend the advantages of certain Work Incentives after a VR case is closed. For example, the law requires Social Security to periodically review your disability to determine whether you are still eligible for benefits. You will not have to undergo this process, called the medical Continuing Disability Review (CDR), as long as you are making timely progress toward your employment goals in the Ticket program. Assigning your Ticket to an EN after VR closes your case is voluntary, and it extends the medical CDR protections of Ticket to Work. To continue protection from the CDR without a break, you need to assign your Ticket to an EN within 90 days after your VR case is closed.
Finding the Right EN
Several resources are available to help you find an EN that is right for you. Your VR counselor may be able to help. Read tips on choosing the right EN, and use the “Find Help” tool to connect with providers that offer the services you need. Representatives on the Ticket to Work Help Line can also send you a list of ENs in your area. You may need to talk with several providers before you find a good fit.
Partnership Plus arrangements vary from state to state. Ask your VR counselor how it can work for you! For more information about the Ticket to Work program and Partnership Plus, call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 (V) or 866-833-2967 (TTY).
Ticket to Work and Work Incentives will still be there for you after you have found a job.