Self-sufficiency: Ticket to Work
The self-sufficiency program is called Ticket To Work, a voluntary work incentive program for Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries who are between the ages of 18 and 64 and interested in going to work.
The goal of the program is to assist beneficiaries in obtaining employment and working towards becoming self-sufficient.
This program entitles you, the ticket holder (SSI/SSDI beneficiary), to receive employment-related services at no cost from your choice of approved service providers. These services will help prepare you for employment, if you can and choose to do so.
What Is Ticket To Work?
You have may have received a booklet from Social Security that explains the program and how to use your Ticket. This is information Social Security has sent out just to let you know that there is a program of services and service providers to help you with employment if you are interested in going to work. If you need to have it resent to you call the Beneficiary Call Center at 1-866-968-7842. The Beneficiary Call Center can provide answers to your questions.
Why did I receive a letter regarding Ticket to Work?
You received a letter regarding the Ticket to Work program in the mail because you are between the ages of 18 and 64, receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) because of your disability or blindness. The SSA mails this letter to everyone who meets these criteria, regardless of their ability or desire to work.
What Happens If I Choose Not to Use the Ticket Or I Am Not Interested In Going To Work?
This is a voluntary program. If you choose not to participate in the program, it will not affect your SSI or SSDI benefits. There is not a penalty for not using your Ticket. If you are not interested in working right now but may want to work in the future, you can save the Ticket and use it at a later date. If you choose not to use your Ticket, you will be subject to medical Continuing Disability Reviews (CDR) conducted by Social Security.
What is the benefit to using my Ticket?
The decision to use your Ticket offers these benefits:
- It will stop the initiation of Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs) by the SSA as long as you are meeting the Timely Progress Guidelines.
- It will allow you to choose a provider of employment-related services that you feel can best meet your needs and to receive them at no cost to you.
- It will allow you to try working without risk of losing your cash benefits from Social Security in case that employment does not work out for you.
What Is A Medical Continuing Disability Review?
From time to time Social Security will review your medical case to see if you still qualify as disabled. If Social Security determines that you are no longer disabled, they may terminate your benefits. As a participant in the Ticket to Work program, Social Security will not conduct these medical reviews as long as you have assigned or are using your Ticket with DVR or some other Employment Network and are making timely progress towards employment and self-sufficiency.
How do I use my Ticket?
To use your Ticket, you can take your letter to an Employment Network where a qualified individual will help you develop a plan to go to work, and then provide you with the employment-related services you need.
Will using my Ticket affect my cash benefits in any way?
The ultimate goal of this program is to reduce or eliminate your dependence on Social Security entitlements. While you are working and making "timely progress" toward self-sufficiency, your Social Security cash benefits will not be reduced or stopped. Working and receiving any income may affect other benefits that you receive (i.e., food stamps, medical, housing, etc.). There are a number of work incentives available that can help reduce or eliminate potential benefits problems. You are strongly encouraged to contact a Benefits Planner who can help you, free of charge, learn how working may affect your benefits.
Where can I find a Benefits Planner?
You can call a Benefits Planner at 1-877-772-2982 or learn more at: www.employmentworks.org/benefitsplanning.htm
What if I go off cash benefits by working but later find out that I cannot continue to work?
The Ticket to Work Program has a provision called "expedited reinstatement". If you have been working for no longer than five years and find that you cannot continue to work, you can ask Social Security to re-start your benefits. They will do so as quickly as possible, usually the following month. You will receive cash benefits for up to six months, during which time SSA will review your case to see if you still meet the eligibility guidelines for the same disability. If you are found eligible for cash benefits, those benefits will continue. If you are not found eligible for benefits again, you will not have to repay SSA for any benefits you received during the review period.
If I go off cash benefits will I lose my healthcare coverage?
If you receive SSI and lose your benefits because you go back to work, you can continue to receive healthcare coverage through the 1619B program and wage earnings. (Please verify the earnings threshold for the 1619B program). If you receive SSDI and begin working, you are eligible for the "Medicaid for the Working Disabled" program which will allow you to keep your healthcare coverage through the Medicaid program even if you go off SSDI.
What is an Employment Network?
An Employment Network is any organization or person that has entered into an agreement with SSA to provide employment, vocational rehabilitation and other support services to ticket holders. Staff must be certified, licensed, or registered according to professional requirements or otherwise qualified by education or experience. DVR is the only state-run vocational rehabilitation program in Colorado and is one of several Employment Networks in the state.
Why should I choose DVR as my Employment Network?
Many employment networks only provide services to a limited population, or only offer a limited number of services. DVR serves individuals with all types of disabilities and maintains partnerships with over 5,000 service providers in Colorado, allowing us to provide a wide range of services. This helps us ensure that our program will meet your specific needs for vocational rehabilitation.
It is important for you to know that an Employment Network can elect not to serve beneficiaries requesting services if the beneficiary is not a good match for their program. DVR is the only Employment Network in Colorado that is required by law to accept you for services unless you are too severely disabled to work.
Where can I find information about other Employment Networks in Colorado?
Information about current Employment Networks in Colorado can be found online or, you may call the Beneficiary Access and Support System (BASS), the organization who manages the Ticket to Work program at this toll free line: 1-866-YourTicket (1-866-968-7842). M - F 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM EST
What if I already have an open case with DVR?
DVR would like to continue working with you on your employment goals. We want you to know the Individual Plan for Employment (IPE) that you and your counselor developed or are in the process of developing can continue without change. However, if you have completed an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE), SSA considers your ticket “in use”. You do have the right to choose any Employment Network that you feel will serve you best. You also have the right to move your Ticket assignment from one Employment Network (EN) to another at any time. If you have an IPE you must request case closure with DVR before you can assign your ticket to another EN.