Social Security's Ticket to Work Program


In 2008, the Social Security Administration made major improvements to the Ticket to Work program. The new Ticket to Work rules have been in effect since July 21, 2008. In addition to the information on this page, you can find more information on the new Ticket to Work program at The Work Site on Social Security’s website.

The Ticket to Work program provides services to help Social Security beneficiaries with disabilities become employed. These services can include vocational rehabilitation, job training, job coaching, counseling, placement and referrals. For example, you might get help from a job counselor with finding jobs to apply for, advice on improving your resume, or instruction on how to successfully interview for a job. The Ticket to Work program can also coordinate resources to help you get training, education, and assistive technology.

In addition to providing employment services, a primary benefit of the Ticket to Work program is that Social Security will suspend medical Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs) while you are enrolled, as long as you are making enough progress towards your employment goals.

Important: The New Ticket to Work program is not linked to specific jobs and does not guarantee that you will find a job. This program provides services to help you become employed.

Eligibility for the Program

Under the New Ticket to Work Program regulations, all adult beneficiaries aged 18 to 64 who receive SSI or SSDI cash benefits are eligible for the Ticket to Work program. You can participate in the Ticket to Work program immediately if you meet these qualifications or you wait until a later time when you feel ready to work. The Ticket does not have an expiration date.

To check if you are eligible for the Ticket to Work program, contact it at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TDD).

How the Program works

By using the Ticket to Work program, you can access employment services provided by Ticket service providers called Employment Networks or by the California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR). ENs can be employment agencies, employers, schools, or other types of organizations. DOR is a California state agency that helps individuals with disabilities to become employed.

If you want to work with an EN instead of DOR, you can work with any EN that you choose so long as they agree to work with you. You can change your EN at any time if you are not satisfied with the services they provide. It is also possible to receive services first from DOR, and then switch to an EN to provide support once you start working.

You and your EN will determine which services you need to reach your employment goals. Your EN will use these decisions to create an Individual Work Plan (IWP) for you. If you work with DOR, this document will be called an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). The two types of plans are very similar documents and serve the same purpose – they map out the steps you’ll need to take to become employed.

As long as you are following your plan and making timely progress, Social Security will not subject you to a medical Continuing Disability Review (CDR).

This is a very important benefit of the Ticket to Work program because if Social Security conducts a CDR and determines that you are no longer disabled, you will lose your Social Security benefits. As long as your Ticket is active (that is, "in use"), you are exempt from these reviews.

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