If I go back to work, will I automatically lose my disability benefits?
No, the Social Security Administration has several work incentives that may help you to return to work without losing your benefits.
What is the Ticket to Work Program?
The Ticket to Work is an innovative program from the Social Security Administration that:
- Increases beneficiary choice in obtaining rehabilitation and vocational services to help them go to work and attain their employment goals;
- Removes barriers that require people with disabilities to choose between health care coverage and work; and
- Assures that more Americans with disabilities have the opportunity to participate in the workforce and lessen their dependence on public benefits.
The Ticket Program is free and voluntary and will offer Social Security beneficiaries with disabilities/blindness a greater choice in obtaining the services they need to help them go to work.
Where would I take my Ticket to Work to receive services?
You should take your Ticket to an employment network. An employment network is a private organization or public agency, including the state vocational rehabilitation agency, which has agreed to work with Social Security to provide services under the Ticket to Work program.
You may contact Maximus, the Operations Support Manager at the toll-free numbers below for information about employment networks that serve the area where you live. You may also find this information on their website at https://choosework.ssa.gov/.
Also, some employment networks may contact you to offer their services. You can get information from MAXIMUS by calling them at their toll-free numbers, 1-866-968-7842 (1-866-yourticket) or 1-866-833-2967 TTY (1-866-TDD2work).
What are Work Incentives?
Work Incentives are disability program rules that allow you to reduce your countable income so that you can continue to receive a cash benefit while you explore work or look for a job that is right for you. Examples of such Work Incentives include the extension of Medicare and Medicaid coverage while working, Impairment-Related Work Expenses, and Plans for Achieving Self-Support. In addition, if your work attempt is unsuccessful, SSA has made it easy for you to get back on benefits when and if needed.
View our “Determine Work Incentives” tab for more information about Work Incentives!
Going to work seems complicated. Is there someone who can help me understand the disability program rules and Work Incentives?
Plan to Work Community Work Incentive Coordinators provide information and planning services about work and Work Incentives to individuals 14 to full retirement age who are eligible for SSDI and/or SSI benefits. They can answer questions about how part-time, full-time, or seasonal work would affect your benefits.
Plan to Work can also discuss your individual employment goals, assist you in identifying possible barriers to reaching those goals, and help you find the resources or services to overcome those barriers. Services are FREE, and available in all counties in Washington State, except Pacific, Lewis, Wahkiakum, Cowlitz, Clark, Skamania, Klickitat, Benton, Franklin, and Walla Walla Counties. Call Plan to Work at (866) 497-9443 or the Ticket to Work Helpline at (866) 968-7842 for more information.
What if I have questions about my rights under the Ticket and other Social Security programs? Is there someone I can ask?
Yes. There is a program called Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS). Protection and Advocacy (P&A) systems are publicly funded entities that provide protection and advocacy services free of charge to individuals with disabilities. SSA provides funding to the P&As to implement the PABSS program. PABSS staff assist people receiving Social Security disability benefits with disabilities in obtaining information and advice about receiving vocational rehabilitation and employment services.
P&As provide advocacy and other related services that people receiving Social Security disability benefits with disabilities may need to secure or regain gainful employment. Many P&As administer the Client Assistance Program (CAP) that assists individuals with disabilities in securing services from State VR agencies.
Disability Rights Washington is the PABSS in Washington State. Visit their website for more details about who they are and what they do!