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Breaking Down The Benefits Of The Ticket To Work Program

By News Creatives Authors , in Leadership , at September 24, 2021

For people who have suffered from a debilitating injury or illness, the path to recovery can be lengthy and challenging. When the time comes to return to work, whether out of desire or necessity, the transition from full-time recovery to a full-time job can feel impossible to manage and discourage people from trying.

The good news is that the Ticket to Work Program (TTW) was designed with these challenges in mind. TTW is a voluntary program administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) that connects people with free employment services to help them return to work.

Many people in need of this assistance remain unaware of the criteria and benefits of TTW. It is invaluable for individuals living with a disability to understand how TTW can ease the process of reentering the workforce, as this could be the key to taking back control of their financial future.

To begin, it’s important to know who qualifies. Any individual who receives Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits is eligible to participate in Ticket to Work. At Allsup, everyone who is eligible and ready to get back to work is encouraged to enroll in the program. Generally, SSDI recipients are those who have worked five out of the last 10 years and have a severe disability that prevents them from working. With medical stability or recovery, the situation can change – and that’s when TTW is so valuable.

TTW offers many resources to help individuals prepare for work, find a job or maintain success while working. Those who choose to participate have access to services such as career counseling, vocational rehabilitation, and job placement and training from authorized service providers, such as an Employment Network (EN) or a State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency.

The most beneficial features of the program are the associated work incentives, which reduce the risk for Social Security disability recipients to take the first step toward returning to work. These work incentives allow individuals receiving SSDI or other benefits, such as Medicaid or Medicare, to keep them while they transition back into the workforce. If it becomes necessary for an individual to stop working or leave the workforce for any reason during the transition, TTW ensures that participants will continue to receive their benefits.

A recent announcement could change the eligibility requirements for TTW and expand its reach to help even more Americans with disabilities. In April, Senator Rob Portman announced the re-introduction of the Senior Care Act. Currently, the maximum qualifying age is 65, but most individuals receiving disability benefits, and therefore eligible for TTW, will receive them until they reach their full retirement age. This proposal would make returning to work accessible and attainable for millions of individuals with disabilities, regardless of their age, making it an even more valuable resource for all those looking to reenter the workforce.

The past year’s emphasis on the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic repercussions have made the decision to return to work that much more difficult for individuals with disabilities, especially those who are immunocompromised. But as the public health situation continues to improve, it’s imperative that all those who are willing and able to return to work have the opportunity to do so.

The TTW program is an underutilized benefit available to millions of Americans. However, the lack of awareness about who qualifies and the value it offers is keeping many people from reentering the workforce. Demystifying the qualifying criteria and benefits of this important program is a step in the right direction, which will help individuals with disabilities find the support they need to achieve financial independence.

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