An Individual Work Plan (IWP) is a key component of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Ticket to Work Program: a voluntary federal initiative that helps Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients who want to return to the workforce achieve greater financial independence by providing tailored employment support services and professional opportunities. After verifying Ticket to Work eligibility and assigning the Ticket to an Employment Network (EN) or State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency, Ticket to Work participants can start on their IWP, a customized plan to help them reach their employment goals.
Nationwide Ticket to Work Services and Support to Help You Achieve Your Employment Objectives
Are you receiving SSDI or SSI and considering going back to work? Disability Services of America can help you transform your dreams of improved financial independence into reality. We’re an SSA-approved EN providing free comprehensive employment support services for nationwide Ticket to Work participants.
Since 2013, we’ve helped countless clients protect vital SSDI and SSI benefits as they test their work abilities, offering the support and vocational rehabilitation services they need to successfully transition back to full-time employment. We’re here to help you achieve your goals and find a job that’s personally, professionally, and financially fulfilling. Working together to create your IWP is the first step.
Ticket to Work Individual Work Plan: Your Personalized Roadmap for Financial Independence
Your Individual Work Plan (IWP) is an agreement between you and your chosen Employment Network (EN) that identifies your career goals and outlines the specific employment services, vocational rehabilitation services, and other supports needed to achieve them. Think of it as your personal roadmap to success. Keep reading for a deeper look at IWPs, their benefits, and how our experienced team of employment professionals can help you create a work plan that works for you.
Individual Work Plan Components
While every IWP agreement is different, each plan includes the following components:
- Employment goals. Our compassionate and highly skilled case managers can help you define your short- and long-term employment objectives and provide personalized guidance to ensure that your goals align with your abilities and overall career ambitions.
- Services and supports. We’ll also identify the specific employment services you’ll need to accomplish your goals. Our wide-ranging free services include career and benefits counseling, resumé development and interview practice, job placement and career development, and ongoing employment support.
- Barriers and solutions. We’ll address potential barriers to successful employment, such as transportation challenges or required on-the-job accommodations, and outline strategies or services we can use to overcome them.
- Timeline. We’ll work together to develop a realistic timeline for achieving various milestones along your journey to transition back into the workforce.
- Evaluation and adjustments. Our case managers will periodically review your IWP, employment goals, and supports and services with you to ensure that they remain aligned with your needs. It’s an excellent way for you to track your progress and for us to identify opportunities to provide more effective support. We conduct these collaborative evaluations annually, but they can also occur at your request or in response to accelerated progress or changes in your health or abilities, employment status, or personal circumstances.
Individual Work Plan Benefits
IWPs offer Ticket to Work participants numerous benefits, such as:
- Personalization. Created by you and your case manager, these plans are customized to meet your specific needs and empower you with the tools necessary for success.
- Clearly defined objectives. Your IWP provides a clear roadmap you can follow on your journey to employment.
- Coordinated services. Returning to the workforce can present challenges. Your IWP is designed to ensure you have the supports and services you need to overcome them successfully.
- Stalled or suspended CDRs. Making timely progress toward the employment goals in your IWP can also stall or temporarily suspend Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs), a process the Social Security Administration (SSA) conducts periodically to determine whether your medical condition has improved to the point where you no longer meet the criteria for receiving disability benefits. A well-executed IWP protects vital SSDI and SSI benefits while you explore your ability to transition back to full-time employment.
Making Timely Progress on Your Individual Work Plan
The diverse team of employment professionals at Disability Services of America is here to help you progress toward your goal of achieving financial independence. While the idea of meeting timely progress requirements may seem daunting in theory, making timely progress on your IWP can include wide-ranging accomplishments, such as:
- Getting the education and training you need to be successful in your long-term career
- Becoming and staying employed
- Reducing your dependence on SSDI or SSI payments
Rest assured that this process is not rushed. Our vocational programs typically last several years, and we’re here to support you at every stage of your journey to find personally and financially fulfilling employment.
Determining Whether the Ticket to Work Program Is Right for You
The Ticket to Work Program offers a wide variety of incentives for SSDI or SSI beneficiaries who are eager to return to work and achieve greater financial self-sufficiency through employment. The program can be ideal for disability recipients who are seeking to advance their careers and are open to vocational rehabilitation services, training, and support to improve their employability, develop new skills, or transition into higher-paying roles.
Participating in the Ticket to Work Program isn’t right for everyone. The Ticket program might not be a good fit for beneficiaries who:
- Are satisfied with their current income
- Have health limitations that prevent them from working part-time or full-time hours
- Want to work part-time indefinitely
- Prefer not to make significant changes to their routine
However, if you’re longing to get back into the daily grind without jeopardizing essential SSDI or SSI benefits, the Ticket to Work Program and Disability Services of America can help you transition to employment successfully.
Getting Started With the Ticket to Work Program
Are you ready to try your hand at returning to work? The Ticket to Work Program is a free and voluntary federal initiative open to SSDI and SSI beneficiaries ages 18 through 64. Getting started with the Ticket to Work Program is simple.
You can call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 866-968-7842 (TTY: 866-833-2967) to verify your eligibility and request a list of approved Employment Networks or Vocational Rehabilitation agencies. However, if you’re ready to assign your Ticket and make Disability Services of America your employment services provider, complete our contact form or call us at 888-689-6760. We’ll verify your eligibility and walk you through the process of assigning your Ticket.
Creating Your Individual Work Plan
Creating your IWP can be a daunting task, but we’re here to help make the process go as smoothly as possible. Here are a few factors to consider when working on your plan with your case manager:
- Set career goals that take your skills, interests, and aspirations into account
- Assess your current abilities and limitations to ensure that your goals are realistic and achievable
- Explore available support services with your case manager to determine whether your IWP should include vocational training, career counseling, resume building, interview preparation, job placement assistance, or other supports
- Determine what workplace accommodations you require to transition successfully into your chosen job
- Recognize any health challenges that might affect your employment options and discuss how your IWP can accommodate them
- Determine the type of work schedule that suits you best—part-time, full-time, or flexible—and how it aligns with your goals
- Assess whether additional training or education is necessary to enhance your employability in your desired field
- Consider your preferences for the work environment, company culture, and job responsibilities to ensure a fulfilling employment experience
- Set realistic timelines for achieving milestones, considering the time needed for training, job searching, and transitioning to employment
- Discuss the process for reviewing and adjusting your IWP to accommodate changes in your health, abilities, or circumstances
- Collaborate closely with your case manager and maintain open communication to ensure that your IWP is tailored to your unique needs and goals and remains aligned with your process and needs