Our Approved Employment Network Helps Clients With Disabilities Prepare for Successful Careers and Determine When They’re Ready to Reenter the Workforce

If you’re collecting Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) because of a severe disability but want to get your first job or return to work, big decisions and a lengthy, challenging journey may lie ahead. However, Disability Services of America is here for you at every stage, offering career development, employment support, and benefits counseling services at no cost to eligible individuals through the Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work program. Contact us to find out if you qualify and how our experienced team can assist you. Ticket to work program

Rejoining the workforce following an extended absence can be an exciting yet slightly intimidating prospect for anyone. However, for people living with disabilities, this decision can carry additional weight and pose unique challenges. Although we can’t tell you the “best” time to return to the workplace, we can help ensure that you’re thoroughly prepared for the transition, help you review various factors to determine if you’re ready, and provide continued services to encourage your success in the workplace. Here’s what you should know about returning to work when you receive SSI or SSDI.

Factors to Contemplate When You're Considering Returning to Work

For individuals with disabilities, returning to work is a life-altering decision that demands careful planning and thoughtful consideration. The resulting journeys to employment are as unique as each person, with timing playing a pivotal but inherently variable role. Whether you’re eager to rejoin the workforce as soon as possible or are just starting to ponder the prospect, considering the following factors is crucial:

Medical Conditions and Health Stability

As you likely learned while applying for SSDI, your medical conditions and health stability are vital to maintaining substantial gainful employment, making them essential factors to weigh when contemplating a return to work. Assessing how your current health might affect you on the job can help you make informed decisions about the timing and nature of your reentry to the workforce and determine the feasibility of sustained employment while safeguarding your well-being.

Ability and Readiness to Adhere to a Work Routine

Exploring your readiness to embrace a work routine is another key factor in the decision to rejoin the workforce as an SSI or SSDI recipient. It's not just about meeting job demands; it's about gauging your enthusiasm and preparedness to thrive in a structured work environment. Evaluating your ability and eagerness to adhere to a regular work schedule ensures a smoother transition, increases your chances of sustained employment, and makes it easier to define and reach your career goals.

However, even if structured work environments and regular schedules aren’t for you, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you aren’t ready to return to the workplace. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, alternative job opportunities have skyrocketed, offering greater flexibility and remote work options. From freelance jobs to virtual roles, the evolving work landscape provides diverse avenues for individuals with varying preferences, ensuring that your return to work can align with your unique needs and circumstances.


Returning to the workforce while receiving SSI or SSDI benefits can be a complex decision, but age can be a surprising asset in this arena. Interestingly, the Social Security Administration (SSA) tends to be more lenient with earned income limitations the closer you get to retirement, allowing for greater flexibility and making it easier to work without risking a reduction or loss of disability benefits.

Personal Career Aspirations

Considering your personal aspirations is extremely important when weighing the option of returning to work. By identifying your career goals, passions, and what truly fulfills you, you can craft a meaningful and purpose-driven work experience that not only supports your journey to financial independence but also fosters your individual sense of achievement and fulfillment.

Are you worried your current job skills don’t match your work aspirations? Don’t be. Disability Services of America provides comprehensive career counseling services and can connect you with accelerated education programs or technical certification courses to help you gain or hone the skills necessary to succeed in your desired field.

Disability Benefits

As an SSI or SSDI recipient, weighing the impact returning to work might have on your disability benefits is of the utmost importance. Understanding how earned income could affect your benefits can inform your employment decisions, safeguard your financial stability, and help you avoid unnecessary surprises.

Fortunately, collecting Social Security disability doesn’t mean that you can’t work or that you’ll lose vital benefits if you do. The SSA’s Ticket to Work program lets participants reenter the workforce and test their ability to maintain sustained employment without jeopardizing their SSI or SSDI benefits. Contact us now to confirm your eligibility.

Ticket to Work Connects People With Disabilities to Opportunities to Progress Toward Financial Independence and Enhance Their Quality of Life

Ticket to Work is a voluntary SSA work incentive that supports SSI and SSDI beneficiaries with disabilities on their journey to sustained and meaningful employment. Aiming to provide an achievable pathway to financial independence, the Ticket program connects you with free career and benefits counseling services through approved Employment Networks (ENs) like Disability Services of America or State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies.

Participating in Ticket to Work gives you the freedom to decide if returning to work is right for you, along with personalized support to help you find a job matching your capabilities or obtain the skills and qualifications needed to secure a better-paying position. 

Ticket to Work Eligibility

Do you qualify for Ticket to Work? Most likely, yes. The free and voluntary program provides employment support for people ages 18 through 64 who are blind or have a disability and receive SSI or SSDI benefits.

Our SSA-Approved Employment Network Offers Wide-Ranging Services to Help Nationwide Ticket to Work Participants Succeed in the Workplace

At Disability Services of America, our experienced team of employment professionals helps SSI and SSDI beneficiaries navigate the Ticket to Work program, prepare for a fulfilling career, find a job, and thrive in the workplace. We serve clients nationwide and pride ourselves on providing exceptional vocational rehabilitation and benefit counseling services for all—whether you’re sitting in our office in Elmhurst, Illinois or on the other side of the country. 

Assigning Your Ticket to Work

Are you ready to start planning your return to work? Contact us to verify your eligibility. We’ll help you complete the appropriate forms, allowing you to work on a trial basis and assign your “Ticket” to our EN.

Our Ticket to Work Services

The idea behind Ticket to Work isn’t to get people with disabilities into a job—any job—as quickly as possible; rather, it’s to help you prepare for, find, and maintain personally and financially fulfilling employment. The program is more of a marathon than a sprint, with vocational rehabilitation lasting up to several years. We provide the following services free of charge to assigned Ticketholders:

  • Career counseling
  • Benefits counseling with our Community Partner Work Incentive Coordinators (CPWIC)
  • Personalized realistic employment goal development
  • Individualized Work Plan (IWP) creation
  • Timely Progress Review reporting
  • Resumé development
  • Job interview coaching and practice
  • Labor market research
  • Job placement and development
  • EEOC and ADA rights advocacy
  • Ongoing employment support

Our Dedicated Ticket to Work Employment Professionals Help Clients With Disabilities Prepare for a Brighter Future

From protecting your disability benefits while you work to shielding you from Continuing Disability Review (CDR) while your Ticket is assigned and you’re progressing toward your goal, choosing Ticket to Work offers numerous benefits. But don’t take our word for it. Find out how our qualified and experienced employment professionals can help you chart a course to a brighter and more financially secure future.