An empty wheelchair.

Ticket to Work is an innovative employment program specifically created to help people with disabilities minimize or stop their dependence on benefit payments. This Social Security Administration (SSA) program provides training, career planning/counseling, job search support, rehabilitation services, and other crucial services to assist individuals with disabilities to resume work or find new employment opportunities. The objective is to help disability benefit recipients attain financial independence.

Qualifying for Ticket to Work Program

This program is available to recipients of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits who are between 18 and 64 years. The program offers free and voluntary participation. Social security lawyers in Chicago usually assess the situation of benefit recipients to determine their eligibility for participating in the Ticket to Work program.

Types of Ticket to Work Service Providers

Ticket-to-Work participants enjoy a wide array of services offered by workforce-development organizations that collaborate with the SSA. The main service providers include:

Employment Networks (EN)

ENs are private or public organizations that provide career planning/counseling and job placement support. They also help participants understand how work may affect their disability benefits.

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Agencies

VR agencies generally work with people who require more substantial services, such as education, rigorous training, and rehabilitation.

Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS)

This program is designed to help recipients of SSDI and/or SSI who might be struggling with a disability-related employment problem. It offers legal assistance, unwavering support, and information to help beneficiaries tackle employment-related issues.

Work Incentives Planning & Assistance (WIPA) Projects

These projects help individuals who collect SSI and/or SSDI benefits due to their qualifying disabling conditions make smart decisions about work by offering them free benefits counseling.

How Ticket to Work Affects Disability Benefits

The SSA places strict caps on the income of disability benefit recipients because it describes disability as an inability to perform most work-related tasks. A recipient may lose benefits if he or she can engage in what SSA refers to as a substantial gainful activity (SGA). In 2021, SGA constitutes work that pays over $1,310 per month and $2,190 for those who are blind.

SSA offers a nine-month trial work period to enable disability recipients to test their ability to work while still collecting their benefits. Ticket to Work participants can, therefore, keep receiving their benefits for some time while preparing to return to work or enter a new job.