Managing Your Benefits While Working

The Ticket to Work Program

Many people with disabilities worry that if they go to work, they’ll lose their health care coverage and disability benefits. For most people this is not true. There are actually many Social Security rules (known as “work incentives”) that help people with disabilities try working without losing their benefits right away.

The Ticket to Work Program is a federal program for adults with disabilities who are 18 to 64 years old who are getting disability benefits from Social Security. The Ticket program offers people more choices on where they can get employment services and is designed to provide help that is carefully tailored to meet each individual’s needs.

The goal of the program is to help users become more self-sufficient by increasing their earned income. If the program works for you, you may be able to have more independence and rely less on Social Security disability benefits. Also, you will still be able to use other Social Security programs and work incentives to help you transition into work.

During the time that you are actively participating in the Ticket to Work program, you can get the help and support you need to find the job that is right for you. The Ticket program can help you get:

How the Program Works

Social Security doesn’t mail out a paper ticket anymore; it is all electronic now. After you have confirmed that you are eligible to begin the Ticket to Work program, you can “assign” your "ticket" to a Ticket to Work service provider called an Employment Network (EN). To locate and choose an EN, visit the Ticket to Work site. If you have any questions about this, Chat with a Hub expert.

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.

You can also ask to receive employment services from the Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation Services. Your ticket can only be used with one Employment Network at a time; Vocational Rehabilitation Services is considered an Employment Network.

Important facts about the Ticket program:

  • It is voluntary. It is fine if you choose not to use your ticket.
  • It is free. The services you get through this program are all paid for by the government.
  • It is safe. The program is set up so that you can learn about employment options or try working. Your Social Security disability benefits (SSI or SSDI) will not automatically end if you use your Ticket and go back to work.

To learn more, read DB101's Ticket to Work article.

Learn more