Are you a Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipient who has recovered some of your abilities and ambitions to hold a job, but are held back because you fear you may relapse and lose your benefits?
The Ticket to Work program can help you overcome your fears. The program is designed for people who receive SSI and want to attempt to work again. To find out more about the program and determine if it's right for you, here's some information on how it works:
- The Social Security Administration (SSA) contracts with service providers interested in becoming employment networks that offer job training, vocational rehabilitation, support and other types of job-related services and help for people with disabilities. They are usually set up to be one-stop centers, so people can get training, help with finding a job and coaching all within the same organization. To find out about employment networks near you, call your local Social Security office or search the program's Employment Network Directory.
- Medicaid and Medicare offer expanded coverage to people with disabilities who work. Medicare, a federal program, extends hospital insurance coverage to eight years and six months after a person starts to work, even if that individual no longer gets Social Security benefits. Since states provide Medicaid coverage, benefits vary by state. An employment network in your area can tell you the specific rules pertaining to where you live.
- Should you go to work for a period of time and then cannot continue, you can request that benefits be reinstated in an expedited manner as long as it is within five years of the time your SSI benefits stopped.
- If someone is using the Ticket to Work program, Social Security will not conduct a regularly scheduled medical review. Benefits will still be terminated if you're making more than the SSA limit.
- There are protection and advocacy systems in each state to help with legal advice and services
While SSI beneficiaries may still have legitimate concerns about the impact of losing a guaranteed monthly income, the possibilities of learning new job skills and earning more income while maintaining their health benefits can be exciting.
The SSA has reinforced the safety net connected with reapplying for benefits, although there may still be some gaps. Employment networks and other informed service providers can help you decide if using the Ticket to Work program is the right next step.