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Are you Receiving Benefits and Interested in Working?
If you are interested in working, the Ticket to Work Program is the key to unlocking vocational rehabilitation, training, job referrals, and other ongoing support and services to help you reach your employment goals. The program is available for people who are between the ages of 18 and 65 and receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for people who are disabled or blind.
You can take your Ticket to any Employment Network (EN) or State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency to request assistance in job training, preparing materials to use to find a job, locating employers informing you about work incentives and other assistance in you may need to work.
What are the advantages of using the Ticket and Work Incentives?
While you are actively participating in the Ticket to Work program, you can get the help you need to find the job that is right for you and you can safely explore your work options without losing your benefits.
In addition, you will still be able to use other Social Security Administration programs and work incentives to help you transition into work:
How does work affect my check benefits?
First, you should know that if you go back to work, you will NOT automatically lose your disability benefits. The Ticket to Work and special rules called "work incentives" allow you to keep your cash benefits and Medicare or Medicaid while you test your ability to work. For the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, there is a trial work period during which you can receive full benefits regardless of how much you earn, as long as you report your work activity and continue to have a disabling impairment.
The trial work period continues until you accumulate nine months (not necessarily
consecutive) in which you perform what we call “services” within
a rolling 60-month period. We consider your work to be “services” if
you earn more than $670 a month in 2008. For 2007, this amount was $640.
After the trial work period ends, your benefits will stop for the months your
earnings are at a level we consider "substantial" -- currently $940
in 2008. For 2007, this amount was $900. Different amounts apply to people
who are disabled because of blindness. The monthly SGA amount for statutorily blind individuals for 2008 is $1,570.
If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) your work may affect the amount of your check. However, we do not count the first $65.00 of earnings in a month plus one-half of the remainder. This means we count less than one-half of your earnings when we figure your SSI payment amount. You may still qualify for other work incentives, such as Ticket to Work, and continue to receive Medicaid.
To find out specifically how your participation in the Ticket to Work Program could affect your disability benefits, you may contact a Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) project in your state. You can find a list of the WIPA projects by state using the Service Provider Directory.
How does work affect my Medicare and/or Medicaid?
Effective October 1, 2000, the law extended Medicare Part A (Hospital) premium-free coverage for 4.5 years beyond the current limit for disability beneficiaries who work. This means that you could work and still potentially retain your Medicare, for FREE, for up to four and a half years. Follow this link to find out more about Medicare.
If you are not on Medicare and are instead receiving Medicaid, there are provisions for you as well. For example, most States have the option of providing Medicaid coverage to more people between the ages of 16-64 with disabilities who work. To find out if this coverage is available in your State, call the State Medicaid office in your area. You can find more information on Medicaid here.
What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid?
Medicare is an insurance program. Medical bills are paid from trust funds which those covered have paid into. It serves people over 65 primarily, whatever their income; and serves younger disabled people and dialysis patients. Patients pay part of costs through deductibles for hospital and other costs. Small monthly premiums are required for non-hospital coverage. Medicare is a federal program. It is basically the same everywhere in the United States and is run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, an agency of the federal government.
Medicaid is an assistance program. Medical bills are paid from federal, state and local tax funds. It serves low-income people of every age. Patients usually pay no part of costs for covered medical expenses. A small co-payment is sometimes required. Medicaid is a federal-state program. It varies from state to state. It is run by state and local governments within federal guidelines.
For more information regarding Medicare and its components, please go to www.medicare.gov.
For more information on Medicaid, please go to www.cms.hhs.gov/home/medicaid.asp.
Who can help me better understand the Ticket to Work (TTW)?
Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA)
The goal of the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) Program is to better enable SSA`s beneficiaries with disabilities to make informed choices about work. The WIPA program replaced the Benefits Planning, Assistance and Outreach program effective October 1, 2006. Each WIPA Project has Community Work Incentives Coordinators who will:
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)
State Vocational Rehabilitation agencies furnish a wide variety of services to help people with disabilities return to work. These services are designed to provide the client with the training or other services that are needed to return to work, to enter a new line of work or to enter the workforce for the first time.
Employment Networks (ENs)
The Employment Network works for Social Security in the Ticket to Work program. If you are eligible for a Ticket to Work, you can contact an Employment Network for help in going to work. You can contact any Employment Network in your area to see if it is the right one for you. Both you and the Employment Network have to agree to work together to attain your employment goals. You are free to talk with as many Employment Networks as you choose, and you are not obligated to give an EN your Ticket simply because you have spoken with them. You can stop working with one Employment Network and begin working with another, or with the State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency. If you need help in choosing an Employment Network you may contact the Ticket to Work Operations Support Manager, MAXIMUS.
Protection and Advocacy Programs (P&A's)
What are Work Incentive Seminar Events (WISE)?
WISE are community events held by WIPAs. These are held for beneficiaries with disabilities and their families to learn more about available work incentives through accessible, informal, learning opportunities.
Employers, Vocational Rehabilitation, Protection and Advocacy Services, Employment Networks and other employment supports are invited to these meetings to share information about available services and opportunities for beneficiaries in the community.
To see if there is an upcoming WISE in your state, please Click Here.
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Last reviewed or modified Wednesday Aug 20, 2008