Summary: SSA’s Ticket to Work Program helps transition you back into the workforce by allowing you to train and work while continuing to receive Social Security Disability benefits for a period of time.
If you are receiving Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, but would like to try to work again, the Ticket to Work program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) is your ticket to getting there.
How to Ease Back to Work and Still Get Disability Benefits
More Job Resources for Disability Beneficiaries
The Ticket to Work program is a free program. It is not mandatory to participate in it. Its purpose is to provide a resource of employment services and training opportunities to help ease you back into the workforce and test your ability to continue working during a trial work period (TWP).
The Ticket to Work program is available in every state and the services it provides are from state vocational rehabilitation agencies or, what SSA calls “Employment Networks.” These networks include private organizations or government agencies that provide employment services to persons with disabilities.
The Way it Works
SSA will give you a “ticket” that you give to an SSA-approved provider of vocational services. The provider will give you free training, job referrals and other support services to help you get back to work.
When you participate in the Ticket to Work program you gain access to more employment opportunities, and you retain your SSDI disability benefits and your Medicare benefits during your trial work period.
Trial Work Period
If you earn $720 (2010 earnings amount), or more, in one month, that month is considered a TWP month. The trial work period (TWP) continues until you accumulate nine months of work within a 60-month rolling period. These months do not have to be consecutive. Also, while participating in the Ticket to Work program, you will not have to undergo a medical review of your disability.
About Your Benefits When You are Back at Work
When the trial work period has ended, and you are back at work, you will no longer receive SSDI benefits for any month in which you earned more than substantial gainful allowance (SGA). For 2010 that amount is $1,000. However, your benefits will be reinstated if your income falls below SGA or if your disability prevents you from working within five years after your benefits were discontinued.
After five years, you will have to reapply for disability benefits, but you may get temporary disability and Medicare benefits, up to six months, while your case is being reviewed. You also get to keep your Medicare benefits for at least eight and one-half years after returning to work.
The Ticket to Work Program is part of the “Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999.” It is a work incentive program that removes barriers for people who want to try to get back to work but are resistant because of concerns that they may lose their monthly disability benefit and Medicare coverage.
The Ticket to Work Program provides all the support you need to help you get back into gainful employment.