The Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improve Act of 1999 (TWWIIA) was passed by Congress to provide SSDI and SSI disability beneficiaries (individuals between the ages of 18 and 64, who are receiving disability benefits from Social Security) a “Ticket” they could use to access free pre-employment and post-employment support services.
Learn more about how the Ticket to Work program works in this introduction. Don't forget to visit the resources at the end for even more helpful information!
Ticket to Work is:
- A free and voluntary program,
- An opportunity for beneficiaries to obtain free employment assistance leading to gainful employment,
- A great way for SSA Beneficiaries to achieve self-sufficiency and an improved quality of life, while protection of benefits remain in place.
Participants may choose from several different types of Ticket to Work Service Providers. All Ticket to Work Providers assist with career counseling, resume development, interview preparation, job searches and/or job placement. Some Providers also provide skill assessments, trainings or refresher trainings for certifications, work incentive counseling, and long-term, on-going support.
Services to Beneficiaries participating in the Ticket to Work may be provided by VRs or ENs through in-person onsite visits or virtually through phone appointments, virtual meetings, and email.
In some cases, depending on the types of assistance needed, services may be provided by both VR and ENs who partner for the benefit of the Ticket to Work participant.
State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Agencies may provide:
Rehabilitation Services, Benefits/Work Incentive Counseling, Career Planning/Counseling, Job Search and Placement, Training Programs, Tuition Support for College or Coursework, adaptive or rehabilitative equipment, and more!
Employment Networks may provide:
Benefits/Work Incentive Counseling, Career Planning/Counseling, Pre-employment trainings and services such as Resume Development, Interview Preparation, Job Search and Placement, as well as long-term support to retain employment, promotions, new employment as needed, and more!
By working together, State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies and Employment Networks can provide:
Initial assistance such as rehabilitative assistance and/or educational needs may be provided by VR, who, upon case closure, can make a referral to an EN who assists with finding or retaining employment and providing long-term support such as continued Benefits/Work Incentive Counseling, assistance with earning reporting, and in some instances, gift card programs to assist with work-related expenses.
The benefits of this partnership include:
- Providing multiple supports needed by Ticket participants,
- Increasing the likelihood of participants’ long-term success,
- Reducing the number of participants who return to VR for additional services,
- Increasing revenue for VR due to ENs providing on-going support which results in long term employment for Ticket participants.
The more beneficiaries served means more opportunities for VR and ENs to partner under Ticket to Work. An increase in the number of beneficiaries who go to work and stay at work results in more revenue for VR and ENs to support the service delivery infrastructure, which equates the ability to serve more beneficiaries who are paying into the system, and a reduction in the funds SSA pays out to beneficiaries. Partnership Plus is a great WIN-WIN approach.
For more information on Partnership Plus please see - https://yourtickettowork.ssa.gov/program-operations/partnership-plus.html
The "Choosing the Right Employment Network for You," fact sheet provides guidance with the EN selection process. The "Finding an EN and Assigning Your Ticket Worksheet," is designed to provide important questions to ask ENs as they are contacted, and to track the ENs that have been contacted.
To find an EN, use the on-line “Find Help” tool:
Did you know? SSA pays Employment Networks based on work and earnings outcomes for the beneficiaries they serve. In Fiscal Year 2021 $96.6 million dollars for approximately 483 Employment Networks or an average of $200,000 per EN.
Any for profit or non-profit organization meeting the experience and other requirements may apply to become an Employment Network! Requirements!
The requirements, expectations, and process instructions are available at:
For more information on qualifications see: EN Qualifications - yourtickettowork.ssa.gov
To apply to become an EN See: RFA and TPA - yourtickettowork.ssa.gov
There is no cost for submitting an application!
Social Security Regional Contacts
Area Work Incentive Coordinators (AWIC) are Social Security employees who specialize in Social Security's Work Incentives and employment support programs. Each AWIC serves a specific geographic area. The AWIC manages and coordinates training on Work Incentives, conducts public outreach and provides support to beneficiaries with disabilities who want to work. ENs may want to contact their local AWIC to learn of or coordinate outreach events in their area.
Service Provider Outreach Toolkit
This is your one-stop resource for Ticket to Work Program materials. These powerful materials were created to support the activities of Employment Networks (ENs), Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies and other SSA-approved disability employment-focused organizations as they assist people with disabilities as they enter or re-enter the workforce.
The materials are designed to be tailored to suit your organization's messaging about its involvement in the Ticket to Work Program and will be updated periodically to reflect program changes and posted to this site. Put these materials to work for you!
For more information on tools for EN outreach see - Service Provider Outreach Toolkit - yourtickettowork.ssa.gov