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What is the Ticket to Work program?

For many individuals, disability drastically changes the way they live their lives. Not only may their everyday tasks become difficult, but working may be impossible. For others, though, despite being disabled, they are still able to hold onto some semblance of their pre-disability life. For these individuals, work may still be an option. But those who have successfully obtained Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits might find themselves concerned about how working will affect their benefits.

The Social Security Administration has what is known as the Ticket to Work program, which is aimed at helping these individuals. Those who opt into the voluntary program receive career counseling, vocational rehabilitation, and even job training and placement. These services are free, and anybody who received SSD benefits and is between the ages of 18 and 64 qualify for the program.

In exchange for receiving these free services, though, an individual must show that he or she is making "timely progress" towards certain goals. Amongst these goals are obtaining training and education to find long-term career success, finding and holding a job, reducing reliance on SSD benefits, and even earning enough money so that SSD benefits are no longer needed. Throughout the process, the Social Security Administration might also conduct continuing disability reviews, which could affect one's benefits. This will be discussed in more depth in another post on this blog.

Deciding whether the Ticket to Work program is right for a particular individual is a complicated matter, requiring a close assessment of the situation at hand. However, those who are seeking SSD benefits or are disputing their benefits amount because of how it has been affected by Ticket to Work may want to consider speaking with a legal professional for guidance.

Source: Social Security Administration, "How it Works," accessed on May 2, 2016

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