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The Ticket to Work Program is the cornerstone of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act

People with disabilities now have more choices and expanded opportunities when attempting to go to work.  The Ticket Program provides a Ticket to Social Security disability and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability beneficiaries that may be used to obtain rehabilitation and employment services.  An individual may choose to receive services from a public or private service provider in their community.

Service providers, called Employment Networks, work with Social Security and SSI beneficiaries to provide assistance designed to help with the transition to work.

The Ticket Program is voluntary. People with disabilities who receive a Ticket are not required to work, but may choose to use their Ticket to attempt to work. Likewise, Employment Networks are not required to accept Tickets.

The program is being phased in nationally, starting in 13 states in February 2002.  The 13 states are Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Vermont and Wisconsin.   Within these 13 states, approximately 2.4 million beneficiaries with disabilities will receive a Ticket. Tickets will be mailed in stages

from early February through June 2002.  The remaining states will implement the Ticket Program in late 2002 and 2003.  (Editor's note:  In the second phase of the Program, SSA will distribute tickets in the following States: Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee and Virginia, and in the District of Columbia.  SSA intends to implement this phase beginning in November 2002.)

In addition to the Ticket to Work Program, other provisions of the law are already in place to help support people with disabilities as they go to work.

The law removes barriers that require people with disabilities to choose between health care coverage and work.  As of October 2000, Medicare hospital insurance coverage extends for eight years and six months after most Social Security disability beneficiaries go to work.  Medicare coverage continues even if an individual no longer receives a monetary benefit from Social Security.

Medicaid coverage for SSI disability beneficiaries may be extended.  Since Medicaid is a state health benefit, the individual states have the option to expand coverage to SSI beneficiaries who work.  State Medicaid offices can provide further information.

Beneficiaries may request expedited reinstate-ment of benefits if their disability benefits have ended because of earnings from work.  As of January 2001, people who go to work and then become unable to continue working because of their medical condition may have their benefits started again without filing a new application. The request for expedited reinstatement of benefits, including Medicare and Medicaid, must be made within 5 years after benefits are terminated.

Certain disability reviews are postponed while a person with a disability is using a Ticket.  Social Security will not conduct a regularly scheduled medical review of a person receiving disability benefits if that person is using a Ticket.  Benefits can still be terminated if a beneficiary has substantial earnings (currently defined by regulation as more than $780 per month or more than $1,300 per month for individuals who are blind).  As of January 2002, Social Security disability beneficiaries who have received benefits for at least 24 months will not have their disability reviewed solely because of work activity.  However, regularly scheduled medical reviews can still be performed and, again, benefits terminated if earnings are substantial.

Social Security established a network of community-based organizations in each state to provide benefit planning, assistance and outreach to disability beneficiaries who want to work.  These public and private organizations explain Social Security’s work incentive programs and provide direct advice to Social Security and SSI beneficiaries.

Social Security established protection and advocacy systems in each state to provide legal advice and services to disability beneficiaries.

Taken from a SSA fact sheet available from:
     SSA Press Office 4-H-9 West High Rise
     6401 Security Blvd
     Baltimore, MD 21235
     Telephone:  (410) 965-8904    FAX (410) 966-9973
    
http://www.ssa.gov/pressoffice/tickettowork-fact.htm

Contact the SD Advocacy Services in Pierre at toll free 1-800-658-4782 for more information.

 

Picture of a movie ticket.Many people are not aware of changes to Social Security that may make the transition to work easier. The SSA wants to help people receiving disability benefits understand their options. Their 2002 "Red Book" provides information about working while disabled, how work affects benefit payments and eligibility, the Ticket to Work program and other employment supports that can help. The latest edition is available online at http://www.ssa.gov/work/ResourcesToolkit/redbook.html or contact your local SSA office.

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