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The Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Advisory Panel
Strategic Plan for 2006-2007
Version 1.2

1 Introduction

Public Law 106–170, the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 (the Act) represents a shift in the Nation’s attitude toward the employment of people with disabilities and the contributions they can make to our economy. Through this program, millions of Social Security recipients received tickets, thousands seeking employment assigned them to an employment network (EN) or a State vocational rehabilitation agency (SVRA), and thousands of others went to work using new State Medicaid Buy-In Programs and other work incentives now available under the Act.

Section 101(f) of the Act establishes the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Advisory Panel (the Panel) within the Social Security Administration. The Panel is to advise the Commissioner of Social Security (the Commissioner), the President, and the Congress on issues related to work incentives programs, planning and assistance for individuals with disabilities as provided under section 101(f)(2)(A) of the Act. The Panel also is to advise the Commissioner on matters specified in section 101(f)(2)(B) of the Act, including certain issues related to the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program established under section 101(a) of the Act. The Panel has an important role to play in the implementation of this very significant law, which provides a great opportunity for America's citizens with disabilities to return to work.

The Panel is a bipartisan group of twelve private citizens, four of whom were appointed by the President, four by the Senate and four by the House of Representatives. The Panel represents a cross-section of individuals with diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds and with diverse experience and expert knowledge as recipients, providers, employers and employees in the fields of employment services, vocational rehabilitation and other disability related support services. 

This Strategic Plan covers the remainder of the Panel’s duration, Panel Years Seven and Eight. The statutory timeline for Panel Year Seven extends from December 17, 2005 through December 17, 2006; Panel Year Eight extends from December 17, 2006 through December 17, 2007, and the Panel terminates January 17, 2008.

1.1 Purpose Statement

The Panel Charter provides a very specific and somewhat lengthy list of duties for the Panel. It has been summarized in the Panel Charge presented in Appendix A, and the full Panel Charter has been provided in Appendix B. The Panel developed the following straightforward and brief purpose statement to provide a crisp summary of why the Panel exists and what it is supposed to do:

The purpose of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Panel is to provide insight, advice, and recommendations to the President, Congress, and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration that will lead to increased employment and greater economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities.
This purpose is supported through the strategic goals that are set forth in this strategic plan, in the following key goal areas:
  1. Elevate and incorporate the beneficiary perspective.
  2. Improve implementation of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act.
  3. Develop a national employment investment policy, to transform approaches to assets, income, health care, and supports for people with disabilities.

1.2 Guiding Principles and Values

Panel members identified the following guiding principles and values. These principles and values will guide their behavior and decision making as they work to implement the Strategic Plan.

Guiding Principles

  1. All people should be afforded a meaningful opportunity to participate in the economic mainstream with or without on-going supports and services.
  2. As expressed by the disability rights slogan, “Nothing about us without us” , the perspectives of the beneficiaries must be heard, communicated, and integrated into the recommendations of the Panel. The diversity of beneficiaries must be recognized to include people from various age groups, with different impairments, levels of education, work experience and capacities for working, cultures, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.
  3. Programs should not harm those they are designed to help. As the Panel works to promote employment and economic self-sufficiency, the Panel will thoughtfully consider the full spectrum of potential consequences.


  1. Commitment
  2. Communication (open and accurate)
  3. Respect for all.

1.3 Strategic Planning Process

Figure 1-1 illustrates the strategic planning process at a high level. An environmental scan was conducted in May 2005 to inform the strategic planning process, and a goal setting workshop was conducted at the August 2005 Panel meeting. Appendix C presents the participants in the process.

The environmental scan, together with informal stakeholder feedback, was used as input in the development of a purpose statement, drafting of key themes and initial thoughts about a committee structure. The key themes were used as the basis for the development of goals. A committee structure was defined to support the goals. Guiding principles were drafted during an administrative/fact-finding lunch. The Panel’s existing standard operating procedures were analyzed as a basis for defining the roles and responsibilities to support implementation of this strategic plan.

The draft strategic plan was further refined with input from Panel Members, resulting in a final strategic plan. The plan will be a living document and as such is identified by a version number. As the plan is implemented, results will be evaluated and learning will occur based on the evaluation. This learning will then feed back into the process, to inform the next strategic planning cycle, if there is one before the Panel’s charter ends.

Strategic Planning Process Diagram

spacerFigure 1 1. Strategic Planning Process

1.4 Environmental Scan

The May 2005 meeting of the Panel included conducting an environmental scan to inform the development of this Strategic Plan. The results of the environmental scan were presented in a written document dated June 20, 2005. The most important points are summarized below.

The greatest strength of the Panel was identified as being its ability to directly communicate with Congress, the President, and the SSA to promote change. The Panel has the ability to speak to high-ranking Government officials and speak and write openly on topics, which Government agencies themselves cannot do. The Panel is a bi-partisan, multi-talented group from across the nation that brings a wide diversity of perspectives to its deliberations.

The greatest weaknesses faced by the Panel were identified as being:

  • The immense complexity of regulations and the bureaucracy of the SSA make change difficult.
  • Although the Panel has diverse political support, that support is often not applied in a consistent, effective manner.
  • Low expectations are the biggest barrier to employment of people with disabilities.
  • There is insufficient outreach to SSA beneficiaries who are seeking employment now.

The threats identified by the greatest numbers of Panel members were the threat of getting pulled away from Panel priorities by every issue that comes along, and further delays in Panel staffing, particularly coupled with the 2007 Panel deadline.

Opportunities identified by the greatest numbers of Panel members could result in moving the nation toward a paradigm shift. Opportunities that were identified for consideration in developing this Strategic Plan include:
  • Encourage beneficiaries to organize to have a voice for themselves on the Panel, from unique perspectives.

  • Address ways to deal with the issue of low expectations, creating a mentality that assumes everyone works to the level of their ability and discourages inactivity.

  • Help the Administration to think through IDAs, Medicare Part D, and partial disability.

  • Improve marketing of the Ticket to Work.

  • Explore the compatibility of the Medicaid Buy-In and SSI, SSDI, and asset accumulation.

  • Develop a model that decouples cash and medical benefits.

  • Explore ways to accomplish early intervention.

  • Explore continued participation in and access to SSI, SSDI, and Medicare / Medicaid programs as work incentives, encouraging people to work

  • Investigate braiding of services.

1.5 Organization of Document
The purpose of this document is to serve as a strategic roadmap for the Panel for the remainder of its charge. This plan is the result of workgroup goal setting at the August 2005 meeting, and committee review of goals and objectives. It will be a living document, and will set the agenda for action planning by the committees.

This Strategic Plan contains the following sections:
  1. Introduction, which introduces the Strategic Plan and includes the environmental scan
  2. Strategic Goals and Objectives, which presents the strategic goals and related objectives for the Panel for 2006 to 2007
  3. Strategy Map, which describes how the goals and objectives interact and contribute to achievement of the Strategic Plan
  4. Panel Structure, which defines the committee structure the Panel will use to implement the Strategic Plan
  5. Roles and Responsibilities, which provides an overview of the roles and responsibilities of Panel members and staff
  6. Implementation Plan, which introduces implementation planning to support this Strategic Plan
  7. Panel Results Tracking, which includes tracking of panel actions and panel recommendations.
The Panel Charge is provided as Appendix A, and the Panel Charter is provided as Appendix B. The strategic planning participants are listed in Appendix C.
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