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The Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work program offers disabled recipients of federal benefits opportunities to connect with employers and land a job or launch a career. As a participant in the program, one of the questions you may have is how employment through Ticket to Work will affect your benefits.

While you are permitted to earn income from employment through the Ticket to Work program and still receive your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, there are limits on how much you can earn and still qualify for those payments. Finding a Ticket to Work Program provider that can provide benefits counseling to discuss how the program may affect your benefits is important.

On the Job Track

One of the positives of Social Security Ticket to Work program is that it makes resources available for you to prepare for a return to employment. It may not be the job you are used to doing before your disability, but it could help you get on a track toward another career and even financial independence.

Ticket to Work provides career counseling, job referrals, and other related support. Once you decide to participate in the program, which is voluntary, you will be referred to an Employment Network (EN) or your state vocational rehabilitation agency. Your Social Security Ticket to Work employment team works with you to develop a plan for your work goals and helps you make progress toward those goals. The goals involve making timely progress, including maintaining employment, reducing your dependence on SSDI and SSI payments, and eventually earning your way off cash benefits.

Benefits Counseling

Many Social Security Ticket to Work providers offer benefits counseling as a service so that you may better understand how income affects your eligibility for the benefits you receive. The benefits counselor will offer in-depth guidance about your SSDI or SSI benefits as well as other benefits you receive, such as Medicare, Medicaid, housing, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The information provided by a benefits counselor can give you an understanding of how working will affect your benefits and what incentives are available to you. The benefits counselor will also explain to you the wage reporting requirements under Social Security rules to help you avoid encountering an overpayment situation.

Earning Guidelines

Benefits counseling is useful to you as you make the transition from dependence on a disability payment to employment. A counselor can work with you on your individual circumstances, and this can be important once you land a position through the Ticket to Work program.

The amount you are allowed to earn is different depending on what type of disability benefits you receive. For example, if you receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you are given a nine-month trial work period in which you can earn as much as you want without losing your benefits. Not every month counts as part of your trial work period, you have to earn over a certain amount in a month for it to count. In 2020, any month that you earn $910 in wages would be counted as part of your trial work period. If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, the rules are a bit different. Your benefit check with start to be reduced when you are working, with Social Security deducting about $1 for every $2 you earn in each month.

For both types of benefits, you may eventually lose your cash benefits if you are earning too much for too long. There are many work incentives available to help you maximize your cash benefits though, this is why you’d want to work with a benefits counselor to determine your career options based on your specific situation.

Experts Who Can Help

DisABLEd Workers is an official Employment Network with the Ticket to Work Program for Social Security. If you are disabled and in need of its job placement and career counseling services, call DisABLEd Workers today at 877-291-9806.