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Individuals receiving Social Security disability benefits often inquire if they’re prohibited from working a regular job. Disabled persons on federal disability benefits are often encouraged to pursue attainable employment goals and return to work.

The federal Social Security Administration has a program in place for disability recipients who want to get back to work. The Ticket to Work Program has helped thousands of people with vocational training and job placement.

The Social Security Ticket to Work program is unique in that it allows recipients who meet certain criteria to re-enter the workforce or enter for the first time. The overall goal for the participants is financial independence and a self-supporting future. Read on to find out what this program entails and what it means for you.

Program Eligibility

The Ticket to Work program was established by federal legislation in 1999 to help people receiving disability benefits to achieve financial self-sufficiency by means of work. People ages 18 to 64 who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments are eligible for the program under Social Security Ticket to Work rules. The advantage for participants of the Social Security Ticket to Work program is they may continue to receive benefits, including medical benefits under Medicare or Medicaid, during their transition to a career, as long as they make progress toward their employment goal.

Employment Networks

The emphasis of the Ticket to Work program is on giving disability benefit recipients the tools to find a job. This is accomplished through vocational training, job referrals, and support services that are provided free of charge. The services are provided by Employment Networks.

Employment Networks are organizations that help individuals in the Ticket to Work program access employment opportunities and find and keep a job. The network can be a single provider or a group providing services. Participants are encouraged to talk with one Employment Network provider or several to determine which one can best help the participant reach their employment goals.

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Time Frames

Individuals who participate in the Ticket to Work program are required to make every effort to find and keep a job. That means receiving the education and training to succeed in their chosen field of work, obtaining employment, and earning their way off cash benefits. Individuals who participate in Ticket to Work must agree to meet these goals within specific time frames set by Social Security. Participants typically will undergo Social Security Ticket to Work program reviews to determine if they’re making progress.

The Next Step

This is what you could expect if you decide to participate in the Social Security Ticket to Work program. The next step is whether you believe it’s a program that’s right for you.

Most people would rather work than live on their benefits. If you’re one of them, you can rest assured that the Social Security Administration has your best interests in mind. The Ticket to Work program gives individuals receiving SSI and SSDI the opportunity to receive training and counseling to transition to the workforce. That means less dependence on government benefits. More importantly, it gives participants the personal satisfaction that they can earn a living on their own terms.

You may be disabled and receiving SSI or SSDI but want to get back into the income-earning workforce, or you may know someone who does. The Social Security Ticket to Work program and its job-training and career-preparation benefits is an option for people receiving federal disability benefits to consider changing their lives.