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Youth Employment


Good work habits start young, which is why the Social Security Administration is devoted to providing information on employment and employment-related opportunities for the one million youth under the age of 18 receiving SSI payments.

Facts About Youth in Transition and the Ticket to Work Program

International Exchange Programs: What you need to know

What Americorps can do for you

Facts About Youth in Transition and the Ticket to Work Program

Today there are almost one million youth under the age of 18 receiving SSI. Approximately 70 percent of those youth will receive a Ticket to Work when they turn 18.

The Ticket to Work program serves beneficiaries receiving SSI or SSDI who are age 18 or older and have not reached age 65. The program is completely voluntary, and eligible youth will automatically receive a Ticket in the mail upon reaching age 18 and remaining on SSI or SSDI after their first Continuing Disability Review under adult criteria.

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International Exchange Programs: What you need to know

To be successful in an increasing number of jobs, young adults need to develop leadership and cross-cultural skills. These skills can be developed and enhanced through international exchange or study abroad during high school or college.  Some people with disabilities are eligible for assistance in this area under the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program if they meet the definition of disability and their income and resources are within the allowed limits.

The Social Security Handbook:

"A student of any age may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits while temporarily outside the U.S. for the purpose of conducting studies that are not available in the U.S., are sponsored by an educational institution in the U.S., and are designed to enhance the student`s ability to engage in gainful employment. Such a student must have been eligible to receive an SSI benefit for the month preceding the first full month outside the U.S."

To continue to receive SSI while studying abroad, ensure that:

  • The international exchange course of study is not available to you in the U.S.
  • The study abroad program is sponsored by a school in the U.S.
  • Participation is critical to your educational and vocational success
  • You are eligible for SSI for the one month immediately prior to leaving the U.S.
  • You will earn academic credits towards your high school or college degree while abroad

If you receive SSI payments and plan to study abroad for up to one year, work with your transition or benefits specialist to arrange to continue your SSI payments while you are abroad.

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) funding options:

VR funding is available to some individuals with disabilities. Students with disabilities who receive VR funding for their education should consider studying abroad to be competitive in their future careers.

Propose the Inclusion of Study Abroad in Your VR Plan

  • Visit your campus study abroad or department head office to find out about study abroad programs related to your major.
  • Contact the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange for other programs, accommodations abroad, and financial aid resources.
  • Check with your international exchange advisor and health insurance provider to find out about medical coverage abroad.
  • Bring information on a study abroad program that is required or supports your educational/vocational goal to your VR counselor`s attention.
  • Write down the program information in a letter to your VR counselor.
  • Clearly state how the experience will enhance your educational and vocational goals.
  • List all the study abroad program expenses (students can request cost information from the study abroad office, and consider any disability accommodation expenses).
  • Include how much you are able to financially contribute towards the expenses.

Study abroad expenses that VR has funded:
  • Tuition, books and supplies for a student with a visual impairment to study for a semester in the Czech Republic and Greece.
  • Personal Care Attendant (PCA) wages when a PCA was needed for a student who uses a wheelchair to spend a summer session studying in Scotland.
  • Tuition and room/board for a student who is Deaf to study Spanish for one semester in Costa Rica, and for one month of summer school in Mexico.
  • The program fee for a student who is blind participating in a summer educational program in Costa Rica.
  • Rental of a golf cart for transportation for a student using a wheelchair on a large university campus in Australia.
  • Tuition, housing, fees and books for a student who has a visual impairment to study for a year in England.

Get the experience you need to get a job:

It is important that young people with disabilities recognize the importance of international experience, and when possible, include it as part of education and employment preparation. The National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange (NCDE) offers free information and resources related to the numerous international exchange options available to people with disabilities of all ages. NCDE is managed by Mobility International USA and sponsored by the United States Department of State. International Exchange Flyer for Printing and Distributing Microsoft Word Format

For more information contact:

Mobility International USA and The National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange; PO Box 10767
Eugene, OR 97440
Telephone/TTY: (541) 343-1284
Fax: (541) 343-6812

Christa Bucks Camacho, Youth and Transition Coordinator
Office of Program Development and Research
Social Security Administration
6401 Security Blvd.
3656 Annex Building
Baltimore, MD 21235
Tel: 410 966-5147
Fax: 410 597-0825

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What AmeriCorps Can Do For You

Many young people with disabilities are interested in the opportunity to volunteer in their communities. AmeriCorps provides grants to State and local groups and to nonprofit organizations for community service projects such as educational programs, environmental activities, and disaster relief. This program gives participants the opportunity to serve communities while developing valuable entry-level employment skills.

AmeriCorps participants receive a stipend or living allowance generally based on minimum wage requirements. Stipends or living allowance payments are wages and are subject to the general rules regarding wages and earned income exclusion for SSI. For those who are considered "students," SSI disregards up to an additional $6,100 per year of wages. As an AmeriCorps participant, you are considered a student if you are not married or head of a household, and under age 22.

AmeriCorps participants are eligible to receive an educational award after the completion of a specified time of service.  Educational awards must be applied to college tuition, vocational training or outstanding college loans. AmeriCorps must pay the educational award directly to an educational institution or to a loanholder for repayment. Educational awards are considered wages but are subject to the income exclusion allowed for grants, scholarships and fellowships. This means that any portion of a grant, scholarship or fellowship used for paying tuition, fees, or other necessary educational expenses is excluded from income for SSI beneficiaries considered "students." This exclusion does not apply to any portion set aside or actually used for food, clothing, or shelter.

To find out more information about AmeriCorps, please visit their web site at

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Last reviewed or modified Monday Jul 14, 2008
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