What is the Ticket to Work program?

The Ticket to Work program is a federal program that helps people ages 18 – 64 who get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. It offers a variety of free services to help you prepare for, find, get, and keep a job, including:

  • Vocational rehabilitation
  • Training
  • Referrals
  • Job coaching
  • Job counseling
  • Placement services

Who is eligible for the Ticket to Work program?

The Ticket to Work program is for adults ages 18 – 64 who get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) cash benefits. To check if you are eligible for the Ticket to Work program, contact the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY).

I'm eligible but I didn’t get a Ticket. How do I get one?

Social Security doesn’t mail out a paper ticket; it is all electronic. To verify that you can begin the program and to get a list of Employment Networks (ENs), call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY). You can also contact them using the Ticket to Work website.

How do I start doing the Ticket to Work program?

After you have confirmed that you are eligible to begin the Ticket to Work program, you may look for an Employment Network (EN). To locate and choose an EN, click here. You may use only 1 Employment Network at a time. You can also choose to assign your Ticket to Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation Services.

You and the EN discuss what services are needed to help reach your employment goal. This is a key step in the Ticket program. When you come to an agreement, you and the EN develop a written Individual Work Plan (IWP).

After you and the EN agree to work together, you both sign the IWP and the EN will send it to the Ticket to Work program manager to complete the assignment process. If you are not happy with the services you are getting from the EN and want to get services from another EN, you can change your EN.

How much does the Ticket to Work program cost?

Nothing. The Ticket to Work program is free.

Things aren't working out with my Employment Network (EN). Can I go elsewhere?

Yes. If there are delays or problems with the Individual Work Plan (IWP) or between you and the Employment Network (EN), you or the EN can end the relationship. You can then go to another EN with no questions asked. To do that, you have to unassign your Ticket with the current EN and then go through the necessary steps to assign it to a new EN.

What is a medical Continuing Disability Review?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is required by law to review on a regular basis whether or not you still experience a disability. During these reviews, called medical Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs), SSA is looking to see if you medically improved to the point that you no longer meet their definition of disability. If they decide you have medically improved, you may lose your benefits.

For this reason, many people with disabilities worry that if they try to get jobs, Social Security will decide they have medically improved and will take away their benefits. One of the biggest advantages of the Ticket to Work program is that as long as you are in it and making timely progress, Social Security will not do medical CDRs and therefore can’t decide that you’ve medically improved.

What does “timely progress” mean?

Once you and your Employment Network (EN) have created and signed an Individual Work Plan (IWP), you must make timely progress towards reaching your employment goals. To make timely progress, you must fulfill specific requirements for each 12 months you are in the Ticket to Work program. The exact requirements depend on how long you’ve been in the program, but they are always related to how much you have worked and earned money or how much you have gone to school. The longer you have been in the program, the higher the requirements are.

As long as you make timely progress, you will not be subject to a medical Continuing Disability Review (CDR) by Social Security. If you don’t make timely progress, you can keep doing the Ticket program, but may be subject to a medical CDR until you start meeting the timely progress requirements.

To see the complete timely progress requirements for each additional year in the Ticket to Work program, read Social Security's guidelines.

What happens if I cannot make timely progress in the Ticket to Work program due to illness or disability?

If you are unable to make timely progress on your Individual Work Plan (IWP) due to illness or disability, you may ask for a temporary suspension of your participation in the Ticket to Work program. This means that the program will freeze your status on the timely progress review schedule. During this time, you will be in “inactive status.” During inactive status, Social Security can require you to have a medical Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs).

If your health gets better and you can work again, you can reactivate your status and pick up where you left off, meaning that you will be back on your original schedule to fulfill the requirements of making timely progress.

What happens if my medical condition improves while I'm using the Ticket?

Because Social Security does not do medical Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs) while you are participating in the Ticket to Work program and making timely progress, your eligibility for it and for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) will continue, even if there is an improvement in your medical condition.

Note: If you become ineligible for your benefits for another nonmedical reason, such as being over SSI’s asset limit or income limit, you could still lose your benefits.

Can I be self-employed and still participate in the Ticket to Work program?

Full-time, part-time, and self-employment goals are fine in the Ticket to Work program. The Social Security Administration only cares about how much you earn, not how you earn it, because the goal of the Ticket to Work program is to stop your dependence on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).