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Social Security's Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act

Primary Tasks

    Secondary Tasks

      The Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 increases beneficiary choice in obtaining employment services, vocational rehabilitation services and other support services; removes barriers that require people with disabilities to choose between health care coverage and work and insures that more Americans with disabilities have the opportunity to participate in the workforce and lessen their dependence on public benefits.

      What is the Ticket to Work Program?

      The Ticket program was instituted as part of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999. The purpose of the Ticket program is to give Social Security beneficiaries interested in working options in choosing an approved Employment Network that can provide them with vocational services and assistance in finding employment. Social Security gives eligible Social Security beneficiaries a ticket. The beneficiary can then take that ticket to an approved Employment Network for vocational assistance.

      The Ticket program was also intended to benefit private and public agencies that provide vocational services to individuals with disabilities by bringing new individuals to their services and by providing payments when they were successful in helping a Social Security beneficiary find employment at specified earnings milestones. To participate in the Ticket program, these agencies are required to apply to Social Security to become Employment Networks. Once approved as an Employment Network, an agency can take a beneficiary's ticket and request payments when their client achieved the specified earnings milestones.

      Do Beneficiaries Have to Participate in the Program?

      No, the ticket program is voluntary. Beneficiaries do not have to participate. If beneficiaries choose not to participate in the program, this decision will have no effect on their benefits. As always, the Department will continue to provide vocational rehabilitation, employment support services, and all of our other services as we have in the past to eligible individuals regardless of whether they are a ticket recipient or not.

      How Does the Ticket Program Benefit Me?

      The Ticket program is designed to benefit individuals receiving Social Security by providing them with options in selecting an agency they have determined is best suited to assist them in obtaining employment.

      You will not be required to complete a medical Continuing Disability Review with Social Security as long as:

      1. Your ticket is assigned to an Employment Network or in use with a vocational rehabilitation agency, such as the Department; AND
      2. You are making timely progress in your vocational goal.

      While your ticket is In Use or Assigned, you will be required to complete a Timely Progress Report each year. As long as you continue to meet the Timely Progress requirements, you will be protected from the medical reviews. If you do not meet the Timely Progress requirements, you will once again be subject to medical reviews. You will experience no other impact on your benefits for failing to meet the Timely Progress requirements.

      Who Provides the Services to the Beneficiaries?

      Beneficiaries participating in the ticket program will receive employment services, vocational rehabilitation services, or other support services from organizations called Employment Networks. Beneficiaries will assign their ticket to an Employment Network when they agree to work together. These Employment Networks are under contract to the Social Security Administration, which will pay them for helping beneficiaries work. Employment Networks cannot charge beneficiaries for the services they provide.

      The Department for the Blind is an approved Employment Network.

      Is there a Time Limit for Using the Ticket?

      No, not as long as the beneficiary is eligible to participate in the ticket program. Basically, beneficiaries are eligible to participate in the ticket program as long as they are receiving a cash benefit from Social Security that is based on a disability.

      What are the Timely Progress Requirements?

      As long as you continue to meet the Timely Progress requirements, you will be protected from the medical reviews. If you do not meet the Timely Progress requirements, you will once again be subject to medical reviews. You will experience no other impact on your benefits for failing to meet the Timely Progress requirements.

      Below are the Timely Progress Review requirements:

      1. 12 month review - 3 months work at Trial Work level ($670 in 2008) or 60% of full time college credits for 1 year earned.
      2. 24 month - 6 months work at TW level or 75% of full time college credits for 1 year earned.
      3. 36 month - 9 months work > SGA or completed 2 year program or an additional 1year of full-time college credit earned.
      4. 48 Month - 9 months work > SGA or an additional 1 year of full-time college credit earned.
      5. 60 months - 6 months @ $0 payment level or an additional 1 year of full-time college credit earned.
      6. 72 months - 6 months @ $0 cash payment level or completed 4 year college program.

      Am I eligible for a ticket? How do I know if my ticket is assigned or in use?

      MAXIMUS is a private company that Social Security contracts with to provide administrative support for the Ticket program. One of their main duties will be to provide information to beneficiaries and the general public about the ticket program. You can contact MAXIMUS by calling 1-866-968-7842 or TDD Line 1-866-833-2967 to find out if you are eligible for a ticket and, if so, the status of your ticket (Assignable, Assigned, or In Use with a VR agency).

      If you have any questions about the Ticket to Work program or Work Incentives, please call Keri Osterhaus at the Department at 1-800-362-2587, or (515) 281-1281. You may e-mail Keri: keri.osterhaus@blind.state.ia.us

      Related Links

      www.yourtickettowork.com
      www.ssa.gov/work