Ticket to Work Program FAQs

We know readers have various questions regarding the Social Security Ticket to Work Program. We decided to set up this Ticket to Work Program FAQs page to address the most common questions we get.

Essentially, the Ticket to Work program pays for services to help disability recipients (SSI and SSDI) find paid work.

More questions will be added as and when we receive reader feedback.

"Ticket to Work Program FAQs"

What is the Ticket to Work Program?

The Ticket to Work program supports career development for Social Security disability beneficiaries age 18 through 64 who want to work.

Under the program, most disability beneficiaries are sent “tickets,” which they can take to local “employment networks,” (ENs), or their state’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency.

The ENs are businesses or organizations that help the ticket-holders with their job searches without collecting any fees upfront.

If the person finds and keeps a job, the EN would be paid for their services by the Social Security Administration.

In addition, the ticket-holders could keep their disability benefits and their health insurance while they were looking for work, or if they didn’t find it.

Participation in the program is completely voluntary and free.

There is no penalty if you decide not to participate.

Furthermore, while you participate in the program, Social Security will suspend medical Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs).

Ticket to Work FAQs

Here are the most frequently asked questions about the Ticket to Work program.

What is Ticket to Work?

The Ticket to Work and Self Sufficiency (Ticket) Program is a Federally-funded employment program for Social Security disability beneficiaries.

It is designed to provide SSI and SSDI recipients the choices, opportunities, and support they need to enter the workforce and maintain employment.

The overall goal is to help them to become economically self-supporting over time.

Do I have to participate in the Ticket Program?

No. The goal of the Ticket to Work Program is to help people receiving Social Security disability benefits obtain employment.

It is designed to help SSI and SSDI beneficiaries work toward greater independence and increased self-sufficiency.

By using the Ticket to Work program, you can access employment services provided by Ticket service providers called Employment Networks (ENs)

In addition, you can use the services of your Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency.

Social Security pays ENs when the people receiving Social Security disability benefits they work with achieve certain milestones and outcomes.

The Ticket Program is free and voluntary.

This means that you do not have to pay for services received under the program and there is no penalty for not participating.

How do I find Ticket to Work Providers?

There are two ways to search for Ticket to Work providers:

Option 1 – Guided Search

The Guided Search asks a series of questions to determine your readiness for the program and provides a list of service providers that best fit for you.

Click here to be taken to the “Guided Search” page.

Once there, click on “Start Your Guided Search” as shown in the image below.

Option 2 – Direct Search

The Direct Search option allows you to view a list of service providers serving your ZIP code.

This tool can search based on the type of provider and whether services are provided in person or virtually.

Furthermore, you can narrow the results further by services offered, disabilities served, or other specialized expertise.

Click here to be taken to the “Direct Search” page.

Once there, click on “Start Your Direct Search” as shown in the image below.

"How do I find Ticket to Work Providers"

I lost the paper Ticket sent to me by Social Security. What Should I Do?

First, you do not need to have the paper Ticket to start working either an Employment Network (EN) or your state Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency.

The EN you select or the or state Vocational Rehabilitation agency can contact the Ticket Program Manager to verify your eligibility to participate in the program.

Can I Assign my Ticket after CDR Notice?

Yes, you can, however, this will not stop the CDR review.

If you assign your Ticket after you receive a CDR notice, Social Security will continue with your scheduled medical review.

How long can you be on the Ticket to Work Program?

Once you assign your ticket to an EN or your state’s Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency, you begin a seven-year program of education, job training, and work.

Timely progress requirements are required during the first six years.

However, this varies depending on whether you are a student during those years.

In addition, during the seventh year, you must complete six months of work at the SGA level AND receive no SSDI or SSI benefits due to work during those six months.

What is an Employment Network (EN)? How do I find information on ENs in my area?

Employment Networks (ENs) provide services to those eligible for the Ticket to Work program.

SSI and SSDI beneficiaries can use the Ticket issued to them by SSA to obtain services with an EN.

ENs supports to assist Ticket to Work eligible participants in preparing for work and entering and maintaining employment.

These services can include vocational rehabilitation, training, referrals, job coaching, counseling, and placement services.

You can contact any EN in your area to see if the services and supports they offer are right for you.

To locate an EN near you, use the Find Help Tool to get a customized list of providers that are available to help you.

In addition, if you need help in choosing an EN, you can also call the Ticket to Work hotline at 1-866-968-7842 / 1-866-833-2967 (TTY).

Can I change my Employment Network (EN)?

Yes, you are free to contact as many ENs as you like while you are looking for the one that is a good fit.

If you are not happy with your current EN, you are free to switch to a different one.

To change ENs, you will need to un-assign your Ticket.

Here’s how:

First, notify your current EN that you plan to un-assign your Ticket with them.

Next, submit a Ticket Un-assignment form. Click here to download the form.

Complete the form and include all of the required information.

Do I need to pay to participate in the Ticket Program?

No. The Ticket Program is free.

In addition, it is also and voluntary for people receiving Social Security disability benefits (SSI and SSDI).

The program allows you to receive vocational services and supports at no cost to you to help you obtain employment

The Social Security Administration pays the Employment Network you chose to work with when you achieve certain milestones and outcomes associated with work and earnings.

Will my Disability Benefits Be Reduced or Stopped if I Participate in the Ticket to Work Program?

No. You will continue to receive your benefits until you begin earning wages or self-employment income above the applicable earnings limits for SSI or SSDI.

In addition, while you participate in the program, Social Security will suspend medical Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs).

However, how much you can earn before it will affect the amount of your monthly disability benefit will vary for each individual.

What is the Trial Work Period?

This is a program that applies to recipients of Social Security Disability Income (SSDI).

The Trial Work Period (TWP) is a Social Security Work Incentive that allows SSDI recipients to test their ability to work for at least 9 months.

During your TWP, you’ll receive full SSDI benefit payments, no matter how much you earn.

However, you must report your work activity and continue to meet Social Security’s rules for disability.

The TWP continues until you accumulate 9 TWP service months (not necessarily consecutive) within a rolling 60-month period.

TWP Changes in 2020

The Social Security Administration made an adjustment to the TWP amount in 2020.

As a result, any month you earn more than $910 will count toward your TWP.

Furthermore, if you are self-employed, here’s what you need to know:

Any month that you work 80 or more hours in your business, or have net earnings from self-employment (NESE) of more than $910 per month, will count toward your TWP.

For example, if you earn $1,700 in January 2020 and $800 in February 2020, only January will count toward your TWP.

What is Substantial Gainful Activity?

Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) describes a level of work activity and earnings under Social Security rules.

If you receive SSDI, Social Security uses SGA to decide if your eligibility for benefits continues after you return to work and complete your TWP.

Generally, the SSA compares your monthly earnings to set amounts, known as earnings thresholds, to evaluate if your work activity is SGA.

SGA Changes in 2020

The Social Security Administration made an adjustment to the SGA amount in 2020.

As a result, the SGA monthly threshold is $1,260 in 2020.

However, the amount is $2,110 for people who are blind and receive SSDI.

How much money can you make on the Ticket to Work program in 2021?

During the Trial Work Period (TWP), there are no limits on how much you can earn.

However, during the 36-month extended period of eligibility, you usually can make no more than $1,260 a month in 2020 or your benefits will stop.

The amount is $2,110 for people who are blind and receive SSDI.

What does Ticket to Work terminated mean?

Your ticket will terminate if and when you are no longer eligible to participate in the Ticket to Work program.

If your ticket terminates, you may not assign or reassign it to an EN or State VR agency.

Furthermore, the Social Security Administration will not pay an EN (or a State VR agency) for milestones or outcomes achieved in or after the month in which your ticket terminates.

Does Ticket to Work Program Pay for College?

No, the program does not pay for college educations. However, you can get Vocational Rehabilitation Services under the Ticket to Work program.

Is the Ticket to Work program a Trap?

No. As long as you follow the program rules, the Ticket to Work is a great way to ease yourself back into working again.

In addition, you get to keep your disability benefits and healthcare.

Furthermore, while you participate in the program, Social Security will suspend medical Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs).

Ticket to Work Program Summary

We hope this post on the Social Security Ticket to Work Program was helpful.

If you have further questions about Stimulus checks, Social Security, or Disability benefits, please let us know in the comments section below.

Be sure to check out our other articles on Social Security and Direct Express, including Social Security Stimulus Check UpdateDirect Express Stimulus Check and Top Questions and Answers on Direct Express.