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Many people living with disabilities who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits long for an opportunity to expand their financial horizons. While SSI and SSDI benefits can be a critical source of assistance for recipients, there’s a lot to be said about the financial upward mobility and personal rewards of carving out a career. However, many recipients fear that any attempts to explore vocational opportunities could put their benefits in jeopardy, which leads them to be hesitant about reentering the workforce. Fortunately, through the program known as Ticket to Work, SSDI and SSI recipients can receive training and job network assistance while exploring the potential for a career.

Thanks to the Ticket to Work program, recipients can enhance their career potential and receive valuable training and job placement without jeopardizing their needed benefits. That can give many the freedom they need to branch out and seek employment. Ticket to Work provides SSI and SSDI beneficiaries with a true road to future employment that carries no risk for the individual. Keep reading to learn more about the path to employment that many people realize through the Ticket to Work program.

What Is Ticket to Work?

SSI and SSDI recipients between the ages of 18 and 64 are eligible to participate in Ticket to Work. Participants are provided resources such as vocational training and job placement assistance in their chosen field, and they can begin working without immediately losing eligibility for their SSI and SSDI benefits. The resources are available to participants free of charge, and they’re designed to help guide recipients into suitable employment in the workforce.

Getting Started

Because the Ticket to Work program is free and voluntary, all that an eligible SSI or SSDI recipient needs to do is sign up! You’ll be connected with an adviser who can handle the enrollment and answer any questions you may have about the program and how it works. At that time, you may receive a list of service providers in your area so that you can begin your path to employment.

Selecting a Service Provider

The next step is an important one, as you’ll need to choose the service provider that best meets your specific vocational needs. There are two types of service providers in the Ticket to Work program. They are Employment Networks, or ENs, and State Vocational Rehabilitation agencies, or VRs. Social Security guidelines state that you are only allowed to receive services from one provider at a time, but you are free to move your Ticket to any agency that you think will be able to best serve you at any given time.

VRs are state agencies that can offer some more intensive services while ENs can be private or public organizations, some of which are part of their state’s public workforce system as well.

Disabled garden center employee

Assigning Your Ticket

The Ticket to Work program’s path to employment runs two ways, as you’ll be expected to meet some guidelines as you work towards financial independence. Once you’ve selected the right service provider you work with your EN or VR to develop an individualized plan to reenter the workforce. That could include the services mentioned above. Once the plan is developed, you assign your Ticket to that provider. The Social Security Administration expects you to make steady progress towards your reemployment goals in exchange for the services and benefits you’ll continue to receive.

For many individuals on SSDI or SSI,  the Social Security Ticket to Work program provides a road to a better financial future with increased earning potential and stability. To learn how to take your first step down the path to employment, contact DisABLEd Workers at (877) 291-9806.