SSA Ticket to Work Rules and Their Application


If you are disabled but able to work, SSA Ticket to Work might be the perfect fit for you! If you qualify and adhere to the SSA Ticket to Work rules, you can learn new job skills, advance in a job with those skills and maintain your status in terms of SSA and SSDI benefits. Here are those rules.

What Ticket to Work Is

Ticket to Work is a program by the Social Security Administration that lets those on SSI or SSDI pursue employment and employment training, while maintaining their SSDI benefits. The program is run by an Employment Networks (EN) selected by the beneficiary. 

That EN establishes an employment or vocational goal based on the skill set the participant feels they can attain and maintain, and it helps the participant find and maintain employment. The EN will also help connect the participant with employment services and training to help them attain necessary skills to pursue a job or grow within a job. 

In many cases, the State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (VR) can serve as a service provider in place of an EN.


Everyone who is on SSDI and SSI, between the ages of 18 and 64. Participation in the program is free and voluntary. 


During participation in the Ticket to Work program, SSI and SSDI benefits are maintained and protected, up until the participant achieves wages or self-employment income above the limit for SSI or SSDI. While in the program, SSA is prohibited from conducting a Continuing Disability Review to establish eligibility to continue to receive benefits. This includes receiving services from State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies.

Receiving services from the State Vocational Rehabilitation agency and progressing towards your employment goal.

Work Incentives

While in the program, you can pursue work incentives such as:

  • Extension of Medicare and Medicaid coverage while working,
  • Impairment Related Work Expenses,
  • Plans for Achieving Self-Support,
  • Receipt of medical coverage once the participant earns enough to stop receiving SDI payments,
  • Current recipients of medical coverage have 93 months after the last month of the Trial Work Period to receive coverage,
  • Access in some States to a Medicaid Buy-In program to keep Medicaid coverage by paying a monthly premium.

Maintaining Eligibility and Program Status

The key to maintaining eligibility for the program is to continue to receive benefits from SSI or SSDI. To maintain program status, the participant takes tangible, documentable steps towards work goals as determined by the plan developed by the service provider and the participant. Achieving that status includes working at a specified earnings level and/or completing educational or training requirements. 

Social Security Ticket to Work rules are easy to maintain if you are motivated to work and learn! Contact a service provider today if you qualify for the program and feel it would meet your career goals.