Whether you are looking for a job or want to maintain success on the road to financial independence, explore the Path to Work for tips at every part of your journey.

Ticket to Work logo and The Seal of the United States Social Security Administration
Ticket to Work logo and The Seal of the United States Social Security Administration
Ticket to Work logo and The Seal of the United States Social Security Administration
Access to Employment Support Services for Social Security Disability Beneficiaries Who Want to Work
 
search icon
GO

Welcome to the Path to Work!

Whether you are just considering working, ready to find a service provider to help you, are looking for a job, or already working and want to keep on the road to financial independence, explore the Path to Work to learn more at every part of your journey. Select the phase that best describes where you are on your journey at the top and then use the blue buttons to navigate to each article.

Phase 1: Ticket to Work discusses what you should know about when considering working while on benefits. It discusses the Ticket to Work program, dispels myths about working on benefits, and provides you the success stories of real people who used the program to inspire you.

Work Your Way to a Better Future

Many people who are on Social Security disability benefits ask themselves: “Am I ready to work?”

Thousands of people each year say, “YES” to this question and begin the journey to employment!  Many people find that returning to work, or working for the first time, changes their lives.  They find they can earn more money, gain greater financial independence, meet new people and learn new skills.

But, many people who think they might want to try working are not sure where to start. The good news is that help is available for people who want to work their way to a better future: Social Security’s Ticket to Work program!

Ticket to Work is a free and voluntary program offered by Social Security that can help people age 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits and who are interested in returning to work or working for the first time. By participating, you or someone you know who is interested in working receives support throughout your journey to financial independence. And, as long as you are making good progress toward your employment goal, Social Security will not review your case to see if you still have a disability. Not only that, but you may continue to access your cash and Medicare and/or Medicaid health care benefits as you transition to full-time work; and, you may be able to return to benefits if you are no longer able to work due to your disability.  

Meet Ben. He wants to learn more about his options before assigning his Ticket to a service provider. This four-minute video explains his choices. There is also a video in American Sign Language (ASL) that explains how the program works. And, you can also read, listen or view one of our many success stories here to inspire your own journey or the journey of the person you know who is interested in working!

select arrow to go back to top

Myths about Work and Medicare or Medicaid

You may have heard this myth:  “If I try to go to work, I will automatically lose my Medicare and/or Medicaid.”

Here are the facts if you or someone you know is interested in working while receiving Social Security disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits:

  • If you earn enough that your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payments stop, you can still continue to receive Medicare for more than seven years (at least 93 months) after you use your nine-month Trial Work Period.
  • If you currently receive Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), you could be eligible to continue to receive Medicaid even after you stop receiving SSI benefits due to work.
    • To be eligible you need to meet certain requirements, which include earnings below a threshold amount set by your state.
    • Even if your earnings exceed your state's threshold, you may still be eligible and should talk to Social Security if you have high Medicaid costs. In some states, you may be able to apply to buy Medicaid from the state Medicaid agency if you are working.
  • Read more about Keeping Your Medical Benefits after SSI Cash Benefits Have Stopped. Learn even more by referring to the Red Book.

Working does not necessarily mean losing access to federal or state health care benefits. There are protections in place to help people who receive disability benefits and who work keep those important benefits. Contact the Ticket to Work Help Line via phone or email to get your questions about health care protections answered by our knowledgeable representatives.

select arrow to go back to top

The Medical Review Myth

You may have heard this second myth: “If I use my Ticket to go to work, Social Security will conduct a medical review of my case, and I will lose my benefits.”

Here are the facts if you or someone you know is interested in working while receiving Social Security disability benefits:

  • Social Security ordinarily reviews your medical condition from time to time to see whether you still have a disability, using a process called the medical Continuing Disability Review, or medical CDR.
  • If you participate in the Ticket program and make “timely progress” following your individual work plan, Social Security will not conduct a review of your medical condition.
  • If a medical CDR has already been scheduled for you before you assigned your ticket, Social Security will continue with the medical CDR.

If you have more questions about CDR, contact the Ticket to Work Help Line via phone or email to discuss your concerns with one of our knowledgeable representatives.

select arrow to go back to top

The Myth about Reapplying for Benefits

You may have heard this third myth: “If my benefit checks stop because I started making more money through work, and then I have to stop working because of my disability, I will have to reapply for benefits all over again.”

Here are the facts if you or someone you know is interested in working while receiving Social Security disability benefits:

  • If your benefits ended because you worked and had earnings, you have up to five years to request that your benefits start again without a new application if your disability keeps you from working. This is a work incentive called Expedited Reinstatement.
  • Under Expedited Reinstatement, you can receive temporary cash benefits, as well as Medicare and/or Medicaid, for up to six months while Social Security reviews your case.  These benefits usually do not have to be repaid if Social Security determines that you are not eligible to have your benefits reinstated.   

 

Contact the Ticket to Work Help Line via phone or email to get your questions about Expedited Reinstatement answered by our knowledgeable representatives.

select arrow to go back to top

Is Work the Right Choice?

Making the decision to work is an important step toward achieving financial independence. When you or a person you know is ready to work, the Ticket program is here to help.

Being ready to work means that you are committed to making enough money to replace Social Security cash benefits with the income you earn through work. In return, you can look forward to a better, more fulfilling life by meeting new people, learning new skills and gaining financial independence. It may not be easy, but it could greatly pay off in the end.

We’ve created a tool to help you explore these issues. Take the Work Readiness Quiz!

We hope that the Work Readiness Quiz will help you think through some of the factors about work that you need to consider. The decision to work is a personal choice, and Ticket to Work is a voluntary program. Thousands of people every year make that choice, and you, too, might be our next Success Story!