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RI Department of Human Services
Office of Rehabilitation Services
"Helping Individuals with Disabilities to Choose, Find
and Keep Employment"

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Ticket to Work

"Frequently Asked Questions"


What is the Ticket to Work?

The Ticket to Work, which we will refer to as the Ticket, is a new Social Security Program designed to give recipients aged 18 to 64 who receive SSDI and/or SSI greater choice in getting the services they need to earn enough money from working so they will no longer need Social Security cash benefits. The goal of the program is to help the individual with a disability earn enough money so that they will not be dependent on Social Security cash benefits.

Will I get a Ticket?

If you receive SSDI, you will receive a Ticket if you are between 18 and 64 and are not expected to medically improve to the point that you will be ineligible for benefits. If you are expected to medically improve to the point you would be ineligible but have had a least one continuing disability review and were continued on benefits, you will receive a Ticket.

If you receive SSI, are between 18 and 64, have been found eligible based on the standard for adults, and are not expected to medically improve to the point that you will be ineligible for benefits, you will receive a Ticket. If you are expected to medically improve to the point you would be ineligible but have had a least one continuing disability review and were continued on benefits, you will receive a Ticket.

What is a Ticket and How Does It Work?

Blue Ball The "Ticket" is a document that shows SSA's commitment to pay an Employment Network (EN) or a State VR agency (ORS), for providing employment services, vocational rehabilitation services, and other support services to a Ticket holder.
Blue Ball Use of Ticket to Work is voluntary. If you decide that you are not interested in the program, or that you are not able to work, you do not have to take part.
Blue Ball You may decide when to use a Ticket to obtain services from an EN or from a State Vocational Rehabilitation agency.
Blue Ball You may assign the Ticket to any EN willing to accept it.
Blue Ball If you are not happy with the services you receive, you may take back your Ticket from the EN or from ORS at any time by contacting Maximus. You may reassign it as long as you continue to meet Ticket eligibility rules.
Blue Ball Lost Tickets may be replaced by calling Maximus, Social Security's Program Manager, at 1-866-968-7842.
Blue Ball You may assign your Ticket to only one EN at a time. You may not assign your Ticket to an EN and ORS at the same time. (An EN, to whom you have assigned your Ticket, may refer you to ORS for services only if the EN has a signed agreement with us.)
Blue Ball Whether you decide to work with your State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (ORS) or another EN, you will be developing a plan that outlines your work goal and the steps to reaching that goal. EN and/or ORS will ask you to assign your Ticket to them when you sign this plan.
·Blue Ball Should you want to work, but not at a level where you stop receiving SSA monthly benefits, ORS will still assist you in reaching your work goal.

If You Choose ORS as your Ticket provider

Blue Ball ORS, your State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, serves all eligible individuals.
Blue Ball ORS is regulated under the federal Rehabilitation Act.
Blue Ball Should you want to work, but not at a level where you will stop receiving medical insurance or SSA monthly checks, ORS will still assist you in reaching your vocational goal.
Blue Ball If you assign your Ticket to ORS, but later rescind your Ticket and assign it to another EN, it will not effect the services you receive from ORS.
Blue Ball SSA will not conduct a medical review (CDR) while you are actively using a Ticket.
Blue Ball This protection will last so long as you "meet timely progress" under the Ticket to Work rules. While you will not be protected from CDRs should you fail to "meet timely progress," ORS would still be able to work with you toward your employment goal under the terms of your Individualized Plan for Employment. Your ORS counselor or a benefits advisor can tell you more about protection from CDRs and “301” provisions.
Blue Ball Maintaining SSA's "timely progress guidelines" is not a condition of obtaining services from ORS. The Individualized Plan for Employment outlines the services and time required for you to reach your goal.

Making Timely Progress While Using Your Ticket to Work

Blue Ball During the initial 24-month period of using the Ticket, a beneficiary is using the Ticket if he or she engages in activities outlined in the IWP or IPE on a regular basis and within appropriate time frames.
Blue Ball After the initial 24-month period, to be considered using a Ticket, the beneficiary must work at least 3 months at the non-blind "Substantial Gainful Activity" (SGA) level within the next 12 months. For example, in 2007 the person would be required to earn $900.00 during these three months, prior to any income exclusions. These three months do not need to be consecutive.
Blue BallDuring the second 12-month period, the beneficiary must work at least 6 of 12 months at the non-blind SGA level prior to income exclusions. During the third and any subsequent 12-month review periods the beneficiary must work for 6 of 12 months with enough earnings to eliminate federal SSI and SSDI cash payments for those six months worked.

Ticket Resources Available to You

Blue Ball DHS/Office of Rehabilitation Services will provide services to all Ticket holders who want to work. Call 401-421-7005, ext. 366 to learn more.
Blue Ball Maximus, Program Manager of the Ticket to Work Program for Social Security, is available at 1-866-968-7842. This is a toll-free number. Toll-free number for individuals with hearing or speech impairments, 1-866-833-2967. Their website is
Blue Ball Work Incentives Planning and Assistance services are available to assist you in understanding how to make use of work incentives available under SSA rules. Call 401-421-7005, ext. 405 or ext. 443 to speak with a Community Work Incentives Coordinator (CWIC).
Blue Ball Your local Social Security office has detailed information on the Ticket to Work program. The national web site is SSA’s toll free telephone number is 1-800-772-1213.
Blue Ball If you and your Employment Network have a dispute around the Ticket to Work Program or if you want help choosing your EN, you may access Protection and Advocacy services by contacting the Disability Law Center at 401-831-3150.
Blue Ball ORS's Client Assistance Program and appeal process are available to all consumers of ORS services. Your Counselor has more detailed information about these services.

SSA has diaried my case, saying my medical condition is expected to improve. Will I get a Ticket?

Only if, or after, you have had a continuing disability review (CDR) AND you have been determined to still have a disability by Social Security’s definition.

Do I have to use it?

NO. Ticket use is completely voluntary. If you begin using it and find that you cannot or do not want to continue, you may stop, without penalty. Your decision will have no affect on your disability benefits.

Can I cash my ticket and spend the money?

NO. The Ticket has no cash value. It is designed to make more service providers available to SSDI/SSI recipients by providing potential monetary incentives to Employment Networks to provide services to these individuals.

One value the Ticket has for you is that you are exempt from continuing disability reviews while you are using your Ticket.

Will using or not using my Ticket affect my cash benefits in any way?

NO. If you do not participate in the Ticket program, your cash benefits will not be reduced or stopped. The only way your cash benefits will be affected is if you start working and your income is so high you don’t qualify for cash benefits. If you no longer qualify for SSDI cash benefits because of your earnings, you will still be eligible for Medicare for an additional eight and one-half years. Depending on how much you are earning, you will also have the opportunity to continue your Medicaid benefits, at little or no cost to you. If you are not able to continue to work, you can start receiving benefits again without completing a new application and undergoing a new waiting period.

What if I get off cash benefits by working and find out that I can’t continue to work?

The Act contains a provision called expedited reinstatement. This means that anytime while you are using your Ticket and for a period of up to five years after your cash benefits cease, if you cannot continue to work you can ask Social Security to re-start your benefits. They will do so as quickly as possible. You will receive cash benefits for up to six months, during which time SSA will review your case to see if you still meet the eligibility guidelines on the same disability. If you are not found eligible for cash benefits again, you will not be required to reimburse SSA for any cash benefits you received during that six-month period. If you are found eligible for cash benefits, those benefits will continue.

Who can provide services to me?

Under this program you can receive services from the State Vocational Rehabilitation agency or from an approved Employment Network.

What is an Employment Network (EN)?

An Employment Network (EN) is an entity approved by Social Security to assist you in getting the services you need to return to work and get off cash SSDI or SSI benefits. The EN you assign your Ticket to will work with you to develop a plan with you for your return to work and will help you work through that plan. For purposes of this program, you should consider the Iowa Division of Vocational Rehabilitation an EN.

What if I already have an open case with Vocational Rehabilitation?

The Office of Rehabilitation Services (ORS) hopes that you will assign your Ticket to them. However, you have the right to choose any Employment Network that you feel will serve you best. You also have the right to move your Ticket assignment from one Employment Network to another at any time.

Does an Employment Network have to accept my Ticket and provide services to me?

Only the Office of Rehabilitation Services is required to accept your ticket and attempt to provide services to you. All other ENs will determine if they can provide or arrange for the services you need. If they, the ENs, do not feel they can help you they may refuse to accept your Ticket. Many times they may accept your Ticket and then refer you to ORS for the actual services.

What services will Employment Networks provide?

Employment Networks who are willing to accept your Ticket must develop a plan for employment with you that spells out the services you will need to return to work. They will then either provide or arrange for you to receive those services.

Who decides on the services I will receive?

You and the staff at the Employment Network you choose will agree on a plan of services and service providers that will help you return to work. As your plan progresses, it may need to be revised and some services changed, deleted, or added. You will always be a part of these decisions.

Who picks my job?

While the EN may help you decide on what job you want and help you prepare for and find that job, the choice of jobs is yours alone.

How can I find out more about the Ticket to Work and what Employment Networks are serving my area?

You can call the Maximus, the Ticket Program Manager. They will be able to provide you information about the Ticket and ENs in your area. You can reach them toll free at 1-866-968-7842 (voice) or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY).

* * *

Ticket Distribution Plan for
Rhode Island

Social Security will be distributing Tickets over an eleven-month period, beginning in November 2003. Distribution is based on the last digit of your Social Security Number.

Ticket Distribution Table
If your Social Security Number ends in:
You will receive your Ticket in:
November, 2003
January, 2004
February, 2004
March, 2004
April, 2004
May, 2004
June, 2004
July, 2004
August, 2004
September, 2004

You may ask to receive your ticket before your scheduled distribution date by calling Maximus at 1- 866 – 968-7842.

Ticket to Work


Ticket to Work Links

Maximus -

Social Security Administration -

Protection & Advocacy for Social Security Beneficiaries - RI Disability Law Center -



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Last updated 09/17/07