Social Security Disability (SSD) provides important benefits for individuals who can no longer earn a living because they have become disabled. However, many people may find the benefits insufficient to live the lives they want. Others may just want to feel more self-sufficient. In 1999, the President signed legislation into law that offers disability benefit recipients under SSD and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) a way to try out employment options voluntarily and without affecting their benefits — at least until such time as their earnings exceed the limits for their disabilities. The program is known as Ticket to Work.
You no longer need an actual paper ticket, but you qualify for the program as long as you are between the ages of 18 through 64 and you receive disability benefits. To get started, you just need to get in touch with an Employment Network in your area that is under contract with the Social Security Administration (SSA). These networks offer a range of services, such as the following:
- Career counseling
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Job training
- Job placement
An added potential benefit to the Ticket to Work program is its effect on the Continuing Disability Review (CDR) that the SSA periodically performs for all recipients of disability benefits. If you participate in the program and make timely progress following an employment plan before you receive a CDR notice, the SSA will not conduct a review of your medical condition. You can also continue to receive other benefits, such as Medicare, as long as you continue to receive disability benefits. However, every situation is different. A knowledgeable Social Security Disability lawyer can assess your specific circumstances and help you understand what to expect if you decide to participate in the Ticket to Work program.
From the time you first apply for benefits and throughout the time you receive them, any number of issues can arise that change SSA requirements or your needs. To make sure you understand all requirements and available options, get in touch with a Social Security Disability attorney who has the skills and experience to guide you every step of the way.