|What is the Ticket to Work Program?||How does work affect my check benefits?|
The Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program is an employment program for people with disabilities who are interested in going to work. The Ticket Program is part of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 – legislation designed to remove many of the barriers that previously influenced people’s decision about going to work because of the concerns over losing health care coverage. The goal of the Ticket Program is to increase opportunities and choices for Social Security disability beneficiaries to obtain employment, vocational rehabilitation (VR), and other support services from public and private providers, employers, and other organizations.
Under the Ticket Program, the Social Security Administration (also referred to as the Agency) provides disability beneficiaries with a Ticket (Click here to see an image of a Ticket) they may use to obtain the services and jobs they need from a new universe of organizations called Employment Networks (ENs).
MAXIMUS, a private company, has been contracted by the Social Security Administration to function as the Operations Support Manager (OSM) and the Ticket Program Data Operations Center Manager (TPDOCM). It is MAXIMUS responsibility to adminsiter oversight and process support necessary to sustain ongoing Ticket Program Operations.
The Ticket Program is flexible and voluntary – Social Security Administration beneficiaries are not mandated to participate and in most cases, ENs can choose which services they want to provide, where, and to whom. Beneficiaries receiving Tickets can contact one or more ENs to discuss services and once an agreement between the beneficiary and EN is reached, the two work together to develop a work plan to assist the beneficiary in reaching his or her goal.
Every month a Ticket-holder is employed at a certain wage level, ENs receive revenue.
Any agency or instrumentality of a state (or political subdivision), or a private entity that takes responsibility for the actual delivery of services or the coordination/referral of services is eligible to apply to be an Employment Network (EN).
Employment Networks can be a single entity, a partnership or alliance of entities (public and/or private), or a consortium of organizations collaborating to combine resources to serve Ticket-holders.
While you are actively participating in the Ticket to Work program, you can get the help you need to find the job that is right for you and you can safely explore your work options without losing your benefits.
- You can easily return to benefits if you have to stop working (known as “expedited reinstatement of benefits”)
- You can continue to receive health care benefits
- You will not receive a medical continuing disability review (CDR) while using your Ticket
First, you should know that if you go back to work, you will NOT automatically lose your disability benefits. The Ticket to Work and special rules called “work incentives” allow you to keep your cash benefits and Meidcare or Medicaid (Medi-Cal) while you test your ability to work. For the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program, there is a trial work period during which you can receive full benefits regardless of how much you earn, as long as you report your work activity and continue to have a disabling impairment.
The trial work period continues until you accumulate nine months (not necessarily consecutive) in which you perform what we call “services” within a rolling 60-month period. We consider your work to be “services” if you earn more than $780 a month in 2015. After the trial work period ends, your benefits will stop for the months your earnings are at a level we consider “substantial” – currently $1,090 in 2015. Different amounts apply to people who are disabled because of blindness. The monthly SGA amount for statutorily blind individuals for 2015 is $1,820. Amounts changed in 2015 from 2014 numbers.
For an additional 36 months after completing the tiral work period, we can start your benefits again if your earnings fall below the “substantial” level and you continue to have a disabling impairment. For more information about work incentives, we recommend that you read the pamphlet, Working While Disabled – How We can Help (SSA Publication Number 05-10095).
If you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) your work may affect the amount of your check. However, we do not count the first $65.00 of earnings in a month plus one-half of the remainder. This means we count less than one-half of your earnings when we figure your SSI payment amount. You may still qualify for other work incentives, such as Ticket to Work, and continue to receive Medi-Cal.
Medicare is an insurance program. Medical bills are paid from trust funds which those covered have paid into. It serves people over 65 primarily, whatever their income; and serves younger disabled people and dialysis patients. Patients pay part of costs through deductibles for hospital and other costs. Samll monthly premiums are required for non-hospital coverage. Medicare is a federal program. It is basically the same everywhere in the United States and is run by the Centers for Medicare & Meidcaid Services, an agency of the federal government.
Meidcaid (Medi-Cal) is an assistance program. Medical bills are paid from federal, state and local tax funds. It serves low-income people of every age. Patients usually pay no part of costs for covered medical expenses. A small co-payment is sometimes required. Medicaid is a federal-state program. It varies from state to state. It is run by state and local governments within federal guidelines.
For more information regarding Medicare and its components, please go to www.medicare.gov.
For more information on Medicaid, please go to www.medicaid.gov.
For more information on Medi-Cal, please go to www.medi-cal.ca.gov.
In October 2006, the Social Security Administration (SSA) replaced the Benefits Planning, Assistance and Outreach Program with the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) program. The Program was renamed because of an increased emphasis on work incentives, return to work supports and jobs for beneficiaries.
SSA, as authorized by the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999, awarded 99 cooperative agreements to a variety of community organizations to serve as WIPA projects. These WIPA projects provide all SSA beneficiaries with disabilities (including transition-to-work aged youth) access to benefits planning and assistance services. Cooperative agreements were awarded throughout most States, The District of Columbia, and the U.S. Territories of Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. A new request for applications has been released for WIPA services in those areas not yet covered. SSA has a contract with Imagine, Inc. to provide WIPA services in those areas until cooperative agreements can be authorized.
The goal of the Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) Program is to better enable SSA`s beneficiaries with disabilities to make informed choices about work. Each WIPA Project has Community Work Incentive coordinators (CWICs) who will:
- Provide work incentives planning and assistance directly to SSA’s beneficiaries with disabilities to assist them in their employment efforts
- Conduct outreach efforts in collaboration with SSA’s Program Manager for Recruitment and Outreach contractor to beneficiaries with disabilities (and their families), who are potentially eligible to participate in Federal or State work incentive programs
- Work in cooperation with Federal, State, and private agencies and nonprofit organizations that serve beneficiaries with disabilities
- Refer beneficiaries with disabilities to appropriate Employment Networks based on the beneficiary’s expressed needs and types of impairments
- Provide general information on the adequacy of health benefits coverage that may be offered by an employer of a beneficiary with a disability and the extent to which other health benefits coverage may be available to that beneficiary in coordination with Meidcare and/or Medicaid (Medi-Cal)
- Provide information on the availability of protection and advocacy services for beneficiaries with disabilities and how to access such services