When you’ve been out of the workforce for a time due to a disability, the idea of going back to work can be both exciting and frightening—and that’s OK. It’s normal to feel nervous or anxious about reentering the workforce after an extensive absence, especially when you have health challenges. You might be unsure what jobs you’re capable of performing, how and where to find education or training if you need (or want) to update your skills, or whether you’ll require accommodations and how to ask for them. 

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients must also grapple with concerns about what will happen to their benefits if they start working again and if they have to start the Social Security disability application process over from square one if they try, but fail, to transition back to full-time employment. Social Security Work Program | Confidently Return to Work

Does that sound familiar? While such concerns are valid and common, don't allow them to hinder your pursuit of financial independence and an improved quality of life. With the Social Security work program, there are numerous supports and incentives for SSDI and SSI beneficiaries who want to work.

The Social Security Work Program Provides Support to Help You Succeed in the Workforce 

You can return to the workforce with confidence by using free employment services provided by Ticket to Work, the Social Security Administration (SSA) work program, and Disability Services of America, a leading SSA-approved Employment Network (EN). Here’s what you should know about the Ticket program, how it can help you succeed in your career, and the protections that keep your benefits in place while you test work capabilities.

Ticket to Work Basics

The Social Security work program is free and voluntary for SSDI and SSI beneficiaries ages 18–64 who receive benefits due to disability and want to work. Though earning a living through employment isn’t for everyone with a disability, many Ticket to Work participants find that they can improve their earning potential and secure a higher standard of living by leaving the benefit rolls and engaging in employment.

Social Security Work Program Employment Services and Supports

Not sure if going back to work is right for you? Ticket to Work’s services help you decide if you’re ready for employment, build skills and confidence, find a job, and enjoy long-term success in the workplace. Through an SSA-approved State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency or EN like Disability Services of America, individuals in the Social Security work program can take advantage of an array of employment resources.

Our Nationwide EN provides the following free services for SSDI and SSI recipients nationwide who assign their Ticket to us: 

  • Career counseling
  • Benefits counseling with our Community Partner Work Incentive Coordinators (CPWIC)
  • Personalized and attainable employment goal development
  • Individualized Work Plan (IWP) creation
  • Resumé development 
  • Interview practice 
  • EEOC and ADA rights advocacy
  • Labor market research
  • Job placement and career development
  • Ongoing employment support

Ticket to Work Keeps Your Benefits Safe 

SSDI and SSI cash benefits provide financial stability and security for many people living with disabilities, while Medicaid or Medicare coverage ensures that they have access to the health care their conditions require. 

At Disability Services of America, we understand why you wouldn’t want to jeopardize your benefits by going back to work—or risk having to go through the grueling Social Security disability application process all over again if you work for a time but can’t continue.

Fortunately, one of the many advantages of participating in the Social Security work program is that cash and Medicaid or Medicare benefits often continue as you transition back to full-time employment. Additionally, extended periods of eligibility and other protections exist to enable a swift return to benefits if you’re unable to keep working due to disability.

Boosting Your Confidence With Free Personalized Employment Development Services

Your life and abilities have likely changed significantly since your disability diagnosis and approval for SSDI or SSI benefits. You might be unsure what you can do now or how to apply those skills to a new career. Don’t feel embarrassed or alone. Our adept employment professionals hear uncertainties like these from clients all the time—right before we help them transform their lives. Here are some of the things we do to help you feel more confident as you prepare to reenter the workforce.

Career Counseling 

Are you unsure what field to pursue? Our comprehensive employment counseling services help Social Security work program participants identify career options, job opportunities, and the resources needed for success. 

We assess your skills to get an idea of your strengths, review your work history to understand your experience and transferable talents, and explore your interests and passions to align them with potential career paths. We’re not satisfied with just helping you find a job: we want to help you get into a financially and personally fulfilling career where you can excel.

Education and Training

Do you need additional education or training to enhance your employability and be successful in your chosen career? No problem. We help you explore education and training aligned with your needs, refer you to institutions or providers offering the relevant programs or certifications, and walk you through your financial aid options. We’re ready to match you with the education or training you need to succeed.

Resumé Building 

Not sure what to put on your resumé — much less how to make one? Let us help. We’ll work with you to create a well-structured resumé highlighting your skills, qualifications, and achievements. We also provide guidance on resumé formatting, including font styles, headings, bullet points, and layout, ensuring a visually appealing and easy-to-read resumé you can feel proud sending to prospective employers.

Job Preparation and Practice Interviews

Has it been a while since you’ve sat through a job interview? Are you nervous or worried that you’re out of practice? We’re here for you. 

Our job preparation services include:

  • Mock job interviews with feedback
  • Roleplaying exercises
  • Stress-reduction strategies
  • Guidance on appropriate interview dress and appearance 

We also discuss the importance of researching the company and the role you're applying for, sending a follow-up thank you note or email after your interview, and how to craft one that’s suitable and engaging. When it’s time for your first “real” interview, you’ll feel like a pro.

EEOC and ADA Rights Advocacy

Are you uncertain of your rights or worried you might not receive fair treatment in the workplace? We’re in your corner and we have your back. Our Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) rights advocacy services are designed to:

  • Inform you of your rights and how to exercise them
  • Ensure you aren’t subjected to discrimination
  • Assist you in resolving any conflicts you might encounter 

People with disabilities have rights in the workplace—and we’re here to help ensure employers, coworkers, and others respect them.

Job Placement and Ongoing Support

Are you worried you’ll undergo extensive job training and preparation but fail to find work? Don’t be. We provide comprehensive job placement services to help you find a job, as well as extensive ongoing support to ensure you flourish in it.

Your Partner on the Journey to Financial Independence

At Disability Services of America, our team of experienced employment professionals is ready to support you on the journey to achieve financial independence and a higher standard of living. Once you’ve assigned your Ticket to us, we’ll get to work helping you transform your future.

Creating your Individual Work Plan (IWP) is one of the first steps. This customized plan outlines your employment goals and a timeline for reaching them, as well as the services and support you’ll require. We’ll help you move toward your objectives, keep track of your accomplishments, and report your progress to the SSA, enabling you to continue in the Social Security work program and delay Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs). With our team at your side, you’re sure to feel more confident than ever.