Going Back to Work While Receiving Disability Benefits

If you are receiving SSI or SSDI disability benefits from the Social Security Administration but think that you might be able to go back to work if you could just find an employer who would help you cope with your disability and would provide you with health insurance, you may want to investigate the Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work program. Ticket to Work (TTW) was established to help you find a job that accommodates your disability and that pays enough so that you can make a living without depending on Social Security Disability benefits.

TTW promises to help you by:

  • Matching you with an employer who is willing to accommodate your disability
  • Providing you with vocational rehabilitation to assist you in your job search
  • Continue your Social Security Disability benefits and Medicare coverage for a period of time while you “try out” your new job
  • In order to take advantage of this program, which is entirely voluntary, you will want to start by exploring the available options. To do this, visit an online Employment Network in your state. You can turn to the Social Security Administration to find a list of providers in your area by visiting their Employment Network Directory. They list numerous Employment Networks which will appear after you enter your city and state or your zip code into the search field.

    Once you have chosen an Employment Network, make notes on what services each network offers and whether they serve your particular disabling condition. An Employment Network typically posts a list of job opportunities and blog articles about returning to the job force, and connections with partner organizations such as rehabilitation services.

    When you find one or more Employment Networks that appear to offer services that can be useful to you, contact the Social Security Administration for the tickets you need to enlist the aid of that Network. Your tickets are redeemable for services and jobs from the Network. You will not automatically be accepted for job training and placement by the Employment Network you choose; each of them has the right to accept or decline your application for services.

    If you are accepted by an Employment Network, you should expect individualized support in your search for job training, employment, and disability accommodation. That is to say, the Employment Network should be committed to meeting your work goals.

    That being said, it is always wise to consult your Social Security Disability attorney or advocate for updated information regarding the Social Security Administration’s current back to work policies and requirements, and to consult your doctor before beginning your job search.