Not surprisingly, there are a lot of myths floating around about disability benefits and employment. Fortunately, there are many resources online that explain exactly how your disability benefits will be affected when you find employment. Social Security also puts on webinars to educate people on the Ticket to Work program throughout the year. Here are some of the top questions they receive during their webinars.
1. “What is Social Security’s Ticket to Work program, and do I have to participate?”
The Ticket to Work program is a free and voluntary program offered by Social Security that is for people ages 18 to 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits. This program was created to help people with disabilities become financially independent by finding employment. To make this happen, the Ticket program will connect you with a variety of free services and support systems to help you succeed in the workforce.
You do not have to work with the Ticket program if you would like to go back to work, but the benefit of participating in the Ticket program is that it qualifies you for protection from the Social Securities Periodic Review. This is also known as a Medical Continuing Disability Review, or CDR. If you join the Ticket program and you make progress towards the work goals you set with your counselor, Social Security will not begin a new medical CDR.
2. Why Should I Choose to Work rather than Not Work?
For many people with disabilities, working again can seem like an overwhelming prospect. Working with a Ticket provider, however, is a great opportunity to find a job that you love, all while having the support of employment professionals. Perhaps you have new skills, a hobby, or a passion that you can use in a new job. Also, not only does working again give you greater financial independence, it is an opportunity to meet new people, make new friends, and build your self-confidence.
3. What If I Want to Change My Employment Network?
If you decide to sign up for the Ticket program, you’ll need to choose an employment network that will help you find employment and manage the changes in your benefits as you work. However, if you eventually find that the employment network you chose is not a good fit, you can always change your employment network. Social Security has a helpful worksheet called “Finding an EN and Assigning Your Ticket” that will help you keep track of every employment network you have contacted during your search. You can download the worksheet here: https://choosework.ssa.gov/library/finding-EN-assigning-your-ticket-worksheet
If you decide to change your employment network, the first step is unassigning your Ticket with your current service provider. Always let your employment network service provider know that you are unassigning your Ticket from them. You also need to submit a Ticket Unassignment Form, which you can find here: