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Social Security Ticket To Work 2021

Get The Facts About Ticket To Work

What is the Ticket to Work Program?

Ready to work and looking for support on your employment journey? Check out our fact sheet that tells you what you need to know to get started.

You may have received a paper Ticket in the mail, but you don’t need a paper Ticket to participate! The service provider you select will verify your eligibility. You can also find out your eligibility status by calling the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.

You may have received a paper Ticket in the mail, but you don’t need a paper Ticket to participate! The service provider you select will verify your eligibility. You can also find out your eligibility status by calling the Ticket to Work Help Line at or Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.

Making Timely Progress After You Assign Your Ticket

Your road to employment through the Ticket Program is a two-way street: You receive free assistance from your service provider to prepare for, find and keep a job, while you work your way towards financial independence. In return, you pledge to Social Security that you will take specific steps determined by the plan you developed with your service provider within specific timeframes set by Social Security to:

  • Work at a specified earnings level or,
  • Complete certain educational or training requirements.

When you participate in the Ticket Program, you are working with your EN or VR to reduce or eliminate your dependence on SSDI and/or SSI cash benefits.

Taking the agreed-upon steps toward employment within Social Security’s timeframes is called making “timely progress” towards:

  • Receiving the education and training you need to succeed at work and your long-term career
  • Becoming and staying employed
  • Reducing your dependence on SSDI or SSI payments
  • Earning your way off cash benefits, if possible

For you, the return for making “timely progress” is that you succeed in achieving a more financially independent life.

Social Security Ticket To Work Program

Ticket to Work is a voluntary work incentive program for Social Security Administrations Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries who are between the ages of 18 and 64 and interested in going to work. The goal of the TTW Program is to assist beneficiaries in obtaining employment and working towards becoming self-sufficient.

To learn more about the Ticket to Work Program, contact:

  • SSA’s TTW Help Line to verify your Ticket status and eligibility and answer your questions about TTW and Work Incentives: 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 and Web site: .
  • Social Security Administration : answers TTW or SSA questions: 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778 . SSA Ticket to Work Web site: www.ssa.gov/work .
  • Vocational Rehabilitation Ticket To Work toll free help line: answers general TTW inquiries and provides referral to local VR office: 1-800-563-1221 or 1-855-475-8194

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Dont Miss Out On The Upcoming State

Join the U.S. Social Security Administration for a full-day virtual event being held Tuesday, June 15, 9:45 a.m. 6:00 p.m. EDT to discuss lessons learned from past tests of policies and programs to improve beneficiary work outcomes and directions for future research. Register for the Lessons Learned from SSA Demonstrations State-of-the-Science Meeting today.

Verify Employment To Keep Your Portal Access

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Portal users must verify their employment every 6 months to maintain Portal access. Users receive a notification approximately 2 weeks prior to their Portal account being locked. To verify employment, send an email to with the subject line Employment Verification Your DUNS Number. Use one of the options below:

  • Option 1: Single user can send an email from a company email address stating they are still employed.
  • Option 2: EN can send one email listing all active employees with Portal access.

Contact for assistance.

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A couple of other benefits to consider: By working, youd be paying into Social Security, which could increase your retirement benefit. Also, when you earn money from a job, you can contribute to a retirement account, like a 401 or IRA.

The tax part of the equation complicates things a bit. While youd likely wind up paying some taxes, I dont think Uncle Sam would take too big of a bite. We have a progressive tax system that gradually increases tax rates according to income.

Suppose you have $20,000 of income from Social Security disability, plus $10,000 in wages for the year, bringing your income to $30,000 for the year. Between federal taxes and payroll taxes , youd wind up paying a little over $1,500.

Ultimately, its your call whether getting a job is worth owing a bit in taxes. The point is, you dont have to worry about taxes eliminating the benefits of working.

As long as you feel like you can work without risking your health, Id vote for at least applying for a few jobs to explore your options. Along with office jobs, you may also want to look at work-from-home jobs since remote work is the new normal for so many companies.

The current job market presents so many opportunities, particularly for older workers or those with a disability who often face a lot of barriers when they seek employment. Since you have options for working without risking your benefits, why not take advantage?

Looking For More Support

Work Incentives Planning & Assistance projects are organizations authorized by Social Security to provide free benefits counseling to eligible Social Security disability beneficiaries to help you make informed choices about work.

Have a disability related employment issue? Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security organizations represent eligible beneficiaries to remove barriers to successful employment and will help you understand your rights regarding conditions of employment.

The next step is deciding what kind of service provider is right for you. Authorized Ticket Program service providers, such as Employment Networks or your state Vocational Rehabilitation agency, provide services such as career counseling, vocational rehabilitation, job placement assistance and training. The service provider you choose will serve as an important part of your “employment team” to help you on your journey to financial independence.

Depending on your needs, you may choose to work with either an EN or your state VR agency. This worksheet provides important questions for you to consider when making your decision.

Concerned about long-term support? Many people find they need continued support once the state VR agency closes their case. That’s where an EN may be able to help by providing the continued support you need. This arrangement, known as Partnership Plus, can help you make a smooth transition to your new working life.

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State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies

A State Vocational Rehabilitation agency can help beneficiaries who want to return to work or to work for the first time, but who need more significant services to make work possible. State VR agencies can help beneficiaries get ready to work, and, when VR services have ended, the VR agency may be able to help the beneficiary find an EN who can help them keep the job and make more money. When a beneficiary chooses to receive services from a State VR agency, Social Security considers that the beneficiary is using the ticket and, therefore, is protected from medical CDR.

Use the Find Help to locate a State VR in your area.

Understanding Ticket To Work

What is the Ticket to Work Program?

Ticket to Work is a free and voluntary program that supports disabled workers aged 18 to 64 with job placement training and other services to aid workplace success. The program’s goal is to help disabled workers achieve financial independence without relying on benefits from the SSA.

For 2022, the maximum SSI federal cash payments for individuals are $841 for individuals and $1,261 for couples, while Social Security Disability payments for workers are $1,358, on average . If a disabled employee receives SSI or Social Security they automatically qualify. When eligible workers call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 , they are given a ticket number and a work placement through an employment network or vocational rehabilitation facility.

Ticket to Work allows individuals uninterrupted access to Medicare or Medicaid coverage for as long as they pay the premiums, for up to 93 months after their SSI or SSDI payments have stopped.

Participants will then design a career development plan with a timeline and be held accountable by the SSA to achieve specific goals within a set time frame.

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Explore The Ticket Program

The Ticket Program supports career development for people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits and want to work. Through this free and voluntary program, people who are eligible can connect with authorized service providers to receive the support they need to succeed in the workforce.

The Ticket Program offers employment support through service providers, like Employment Networks . Our service providers can help you:

  • Identify your skills
  • Prepare for the job search
  • Find employment opportunities
  • Prepare for interviews
  • Transition to work

Some ENs are a part of the Public Workforce System, a network of federal, state and local offices that supports all qualified people with their work goals. In addition to career planning and job placement supports, many Workforce ENs also offer training and special programs for veterans.

Your State Vocational Rehabilitation agency may also provide more extensive services and support to prepare you to return to work, such as rehabilitation and individual counseling, adaptive equipment such as wheelchairs and vehicle modifications and college-level training.

The Extended Period Of Eligibility

After your nine-month trial work period expires, you begin the 36-month extended period of eligibility. During this time, you can earn less than the SGA limit and still receive your full monthly SSDI benefits.

The first month you exceed the SGA limit, the SSA no longer considers you disabled. You will get your benefits for that month and the next two months, and then benefits will stop.

If your monthly income later falls below the SGA limit again, the SSA can restart your benefits without requiring a new application if you are still within the 36-month extended period of eligibility.

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How Expedited Reinstatement Works

Expedited reinstatement is a term that’s a bit of a misnomer. Individuals who have had their benefits stopped due to work are eligible for a faster decision and provisional payments while they wait for a decision. Ideally, the EXR process is fast, but in reality, beneficiaries can wait months for a decision and provisional payments are not always processed quickly. Like everyone, individuals on benefits who have started or returned to work and are concerned about a possible need to go back on benefits should have a robust emergency fund to weather any payment or decision processing delays.

Can A Ticket Holder Start A Business

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Yes. Some Ticket to Work Program service providers have experience helping people with disabilities start their own businesses. These service providers can help participants take the first steps to self-employment: thinking about developing business goals, determining target markets, making financial projections, identifying record-keeping requirements, and writing business plans.

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What Is A Substantial Gainful Activity Limit And How Does It Apply To The Benefits

The SSA sets an upper limit for how much earned income you can make and still fit their definition of disabled. This is the substantial gainful activity limit. The SSA adjusts this limit annually to account for changes in the cost of living.

In 2021, disabled workers can earn up to $1,310 per month and still qualify under the SGA limit. There is a higher limit for blind workers, who can earn up to $2,190 per month. If you earn above this limit, you may not qualify for SSD benefits. However, if you earn above this level while already receiving SSDI payments, it will not automatically stop your benefits. You may be entitled to a trial work period.

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Dear Penny: Will Getting A Job Cost Me My Social Security Disability

Dear Penny,

I receive full disability from Social Security. I am 64 and went out on disability at 48 years old.

Since there is now a shortage of labor, I thought I might like to try going back to work. Social Security has a Ticket to Work program, which gives you a limited time to try working without losing your benefits. Is there a downside in trying to go back to an office job? I believe I can work part time and earn less than $1,000 a month without disturbing my benefits.

Also, right now, I do not pay any income tax. Would I really be gaining anything if I went back to work just to have a tax bill wipe out my earnings?

Dear L.,

Getting approved for Social Security Disability Insurance is such a long and complex process, so I understand why you wouldnt want to put your benefits at risk. But I dont see much downside to what youre proposing.

The Ticket to Work program provides training, career counseling and help with finding a job for people who receive disability and want to work again. You can find out more about the services the programs offered at choosework.ssa.gov.

But you dont need to use Ticket to Works services to qualify for a trial work period. Basically, as long as you still have a disability, Social Security lets you test out a new job for up to nine months without affecting your benefits. Theres no limit on how much you can earn during these nine months.

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Take A Look At These Numbers

Are you interested in how the Ticket to Work Program performed throughout the pandemic? Though business has not been as usual, the numbers show that program performance has remained steady. While we have seen a decline in the number of Tickets in-use with state VR agencies, the number of Tickets assigned to ENs continues to grow.

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Meet Ben! An Introduction to Ticket to Work

The most beneficial features of the program are the associated work incentives, which reduce the risk for Social Security disability recipients to take the first step toward returning to work. These work incentives allow individuals receiving SSDI or other benefits, such as Medicaid or Medicare, to keep them while they transition back into the workforce. If it becomes necessary for an individual to stop working or leave the workforce for any reason during the transition, TTW ensures that participants will continue to receive their benefits.

A recent announcement could change the eligibility requirements for TTW and expand its reach to help even more Americans with disabilities. In April, Senator Rob Portman announced the re-introduction of the Senior Care Act. Currently, the maximum qualifying age is 65, but most individuals receiving disability benefits, and therefore eligible for TTW, will receive them until they reach their full retirement age. This proposal would make returning to work accessible and attainable for millions of individuals with disabilities, regardless of their age, making it an even more valuable resource for all those looking to reenter the workforce.

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How Long Can Ticket Holders Receive Health Benefits

After benefits stop, workers can apply for continued coverage of Medicare. This allows participants to receive healthcare for an additional 93 months, even though they no longer receive cash payments. After this free coverage period, participants can apply for coverage at a reduced rate with Medicare Savings Programs. It may also be possible to receive Medicaid, depending on the state where the ticker holder lives and their income level.

How The Extended Period Of Eligibility Works

The extended period of eligibility is a period of 36 consecutive months in which a beneficiary is still entitled to their Social Security check each month they earn less than the substantial gainful activity limit. They are not entitled to their check if they go over the limit. The SGA is based on gross earnings on W-2 income and net earnings from self employment. In 2022, the SGA limits are $1,350 a month for non-blind individuals or $2,260 a month for blind individuals. Once the 36 consecutive months of the EPE are over or a beneficiary goes over the SGA limit, their check stops entirely. The only way to get it back is through a process called expedited reinstatement .

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Start Where You Are: Ticket To Work Tips For Veterans

Each November 11, this country celebrates and honors the men and women who have served in the U.S. military. If you’re a veteran, we want to thank you for your service. If you have a disability , Social Security’s Ticket to Work Program is here to help.

We recognize that military veterans have a lot to offer employers. For veterans receiving Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance , the Ticket Program offers help to identify transferable skills, prepare for and find job opportunities and transition to the civilian workplace.

Employers value your military training and experience and recognize that because of your service, you have many skills to offer, including:

Here are 3 tips to help you get started on the path to employment today:

Supplemental Security Income Work Incentives

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One of our highest priorities is to help people with disabilities achieve independence by helping them take advantage of employment opportunities. Work incentive employment supports help disabled and blind SSI recipients go to work by minimizing the risk of losing their SSI or Medicaid benefits.

Some incentives allow us to not count some of your income or resources.

Other incentives let you continue to receive Medicaid coverage even though you are not receiving SSI cash benefits.

You may be entitled to take advantage of more than one work incentive program. Depending on the types of income you receive, it will change the amount we do not count and the SSI benefit amount.

Visit our websites at www.ssa.gov/disabilityresearch/workincentives.htm and www.ssa.gov/redbook for more information about work incentives.


We do not count the first $65 of earned income plus onehalf of the amount over $65. Therefore, we reduce your SSI benefit only $1 for every $2 you earn over $65.


If you are a student under age 22, as explained on trusts, we may exclude up to $2,040 of gross earnings in a month in figuring your countable income.

For more information, see the SSI Spotlight on Student Earned Income Exclusion.


We will exclude IRWE from your earned income when we figure your SSI monthly payment amount. This means your SSI benefit could go up.


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