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Living with a disability can be a great physical, personal, and financial challenge, and for many people, the only option available to them is to apply for Social Security disability benefits. Many applicants are unable to work in a position that would ensure a long-term income.

Enrollment continues to rise in the federal Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, which provides benefits to people who have paid into the system and can no longer work because of a disability. Enrollment also continues to rise for Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which gives benefits to people with low incomes and very limited assets. Baby boomers are aging and living longer, and beneficiaries on SSDI are receiving benefits for a longer period as well.

Policymakers have sought to come up with ways to reduce disability payments after decades of increasing enrollments. In 1999, the Social Security Administration created the Ticket to Work Program to help people on disability benefits find jobs, earn income, and put them on the path to financial self-sufficiency.  Here are several reasons that disabled persons should seriously consider enrolling in the Social Security Ticket to Work program.

Voluntary Program

The Ticket to Work program is open to individuals 18 to 64 receiving SSDI or SSI. It is a voluntary program, and while it is part of a broader effort by the Social Security Administration to encourage recipients of disability payments to be more self-sufficient, recipients are not required to participate as a condition of receiving their benefits.

The Ticket to Work program offers beneficiaries access to employment opportunities. This is done through job providers called Employment Networks (EN).

The EN Role

The EN coordinates with the beneficiary to help them with job search assistance and career counseling and prepares them to re-enter the workforce. The EN will also help with monitoring your earnings or other support services useful to the beneficiary.

Any public or private entity, with the exception of federal agencies, can be an EN under Social Security Ticket to Work rules. Nonprofits may also qualify as state labor department job centers and vocational rehabilitation agencies.

Man Works in Factory

Reasons to Consider Ticket to Work

  • The program helps individuals on disability benefits reach employment goals that put them on the path to financial independence by reducing their reliance on federal benefits.
  • Beneficiaries receive assistance and support from the ENs to not only land a meaningful job, but to maintain employment for long-term success.
  • Beneficiaries participating in the program continue to receive their health care and cash benefits for a defined time.
  • The program is voluntary and does not cost the beneficiary any money to participate.

Support System

The Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work program is a support system for disabled individuals. Motivated individuals return to the workforce or start a new career, and eventually reduce their dependence on federal benefits.

Are you interested in participating in the Social Security Ticket to Work program? Visit DisABLEd Workers at www.disabledworkersusa.com for all the information you need.