Myths About the Ticket to Work Program Under a Magnifying GlassIt's not uncommon for individuals forced out of the workforce by disabling injuries or medical problems and onto Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to express interest in working again if their condition improves.

Unfortunately, many are hesitant to even attempt getting a job due to concerns that doing so could jeopardize their continued eligibility for monthly income payments, medical insurance, and other vital benefits.

It's easy to see why this fear is so prevalent among Social Security disability beneficiaries. Myths and misconceptions about working while receiving SSDI and SSI abound—and if you fall for them, they can prevent you from finding fulfilling employment, progressing toward financial independence, and living your life to the fullest. 

Fortunately, the good news is that the Social Security Administration (SSA) not only allows people on SSDI and SSI to try returning to work when and if they're ready, but its Ticket to Work program provides free employment-related services, support, and incentives to help them maintain essential benefits while easing back into the workforce.

Here's what you should know about holding a full-time job while collecting disability and how Disability Services of America's experienced employment professionals can help you safeguard your SSDI or SSI benefits and make the most of your "ticket" to work.

Nationwide Ticket to Work Services Provided by an SSA-Approved Employment Network You Can Trust

Disability Services of America is a leading Employment Network contracted by the SSA to help SSDI and SSI applicants and beneficiaries throughout the United States—including those in Washington DC, Puerto Rico, Guam, and other inhabited territories—navigate complex Social Security disability processes.

Since 2013, our team of qualified and experienced employment support services specialists has assisted people just like you in determining their eligibility for SSA programs, applying for SSDI or SSI (or both), securing the disability benefits they deserve, and learning how to successfully earn an income without putting them at risk.

We offer wide-ranging free and voluntary employment services through the Ticket to Work program and are dedicated to providing a premium experience for our clients.

Already collecting SSI or SSDI? Keep reading to learn about frequent misconceptions about working while receiving Social Security disability and find out how we can help you maximize your benefits.

Answers to Common Questions About Working While Receiving Disability Benefits

Living with a disability can make it difficult to make ends meet, even if you receive SSDI or SSI benefits. While the idea of returning to work and increasing your income can be enticing, you may worry that your health hasn't improved enough to allow you to completely transition away from the monthly income and medical insurance coverage you've come to count on.

Here, our Social Security disability employment experts answer some of the most common queries we receive about Ticket to Work.

What Is Ticket to Work?

Ticket to Work is a career development and employment support program administered by the SSA for SSI and SSDI beneficiaries ages 18 through 64 who want to go back to work.

The optional program allows beneficiaries to explore career options and work with professionals to acquire new skills necessary to achieve increased self-sufficiency and independence, while retaining health coverage and other benefits.

Ticket to Work offers Social Security disability beneficiaries the opportunity to engage in meaningful and personally fulfilling employment with the goal of reducing their reliance on SSDI or SSI.

What's an Employment Network?

Employment Networks like Disability Services of America are employment service providers the SSA authorizes to offer Ticket to Work participants free career counseling, vocational rehabilitation, job placement and training, and other supports to promote success in securing and maintaining employment.

From working with you to create a custom resume to conducting mock job interviews so you can practice tackling tough questions, our services are individualized to match your unique needs and capabilities.

We can also protect your cash and medical benefits (Medicare) from CDRs (Continuing Disability Reviews) while your Ticket to Work is assigned and active.

What Does the Ticket to Work Process Entail?

Getting started with Ticket to Work is as simple as contacting us to verify your eligibility. After making sure you qualify, we'll explain what it means to participate in the program and address your questions and concerns.

If you assign your Ticket with our Employment Network, we become your trusted partner in the journey toward improved financial independence. We'll work with you to identify your employment goals and develop a detailed plan to help you reach them.

Not to worry; this doesn't mean we're throwing you into the deep end of the pool. These comprehensive vocational programs typically last several years, giving you ample time to complete educational courses and job training in preparation for your return to full-time employment.

Our services also include submitting regular progress reports to the SSA to ensure your SSDI or SSI benefits continue.

What Is the Social Security 5-Year Rule and How Does It Affect My Continued Eligibility for SSI or SSDI Benefits?

Returning to work isn't for everyone. Sometimes, after rejoining the workforce and transitioning off SSDI or SSI benefits, individuals find that their disability once again makes substantial gainful activity impossible.

The Social Security disability 5-year rule is a vital protection that allows for expedited reinstatement of your benefits if they stopped within the past five years due to your earnings.

The SSA will conduct a medical review to determine whether your benefits can be reinstated. During this time, you may qualify for up to six months of temporary cash benefits, as well as Medicare or Medicaid coverage.

Don't Fall for These Harmful Return-to-Work Myths

Falling prey to misconceptions about working while receiving SSI or SSDI can prevent you from taking full advantage of your Ticket to Work. Here's the truth about some of the most common myths you may encounter.

Participation in the Ticket to Work Program Is Mandatory and Costly

False! Ticket to Work is a voluntary and free career development and employment support program for people receiving SSDI or SSI benefits. The services offered by Disability Services of America and other Employment Networks are available at no cost.

Returning to Work Means Automatically Losing Your Monthly Income Payments and Health Insurance Benefits

False! Your financial benefits will continue until your earned wages or self-employment income exceed the limit for the applicable Social Security disability program. Additionally, you can retain your health insurance (Medicare or Medicaid) benefits for as long as benefit checks continue.

Even after SSDI checks stop, Medicare coverage can continue for up to 93 months (more than seven years). Maintaining eligibility for Medicaid after SSI benefits cease due to earned income largely depends on the threshold set by your state. Talk to your state Medicaid office or contact us for more information.

Using the Ticket to Work Triggers a Claim Review That Results in Lost Benefits

False! Though the SSA conducts periodic Continuing Disability Reviews, or CDRs, to confirm the severity of your disabling medical condition, participating in the Ticket to Work program and working with an Employment Network like Disability Services of America to make progress on your return-to-work plan puts this review on pause.

Getting Benefits Back After a Return-to-Work Attempt Requires Reapplying for SSDI or SSI

False! If your disability forces you to stop working again after earning enough that your benefit checks stopped, the Social Security disability 5-year rule allows for expedited reinstatement. You may even qualify for up to six months of temporary cash benefits while the SSA reviews your case.

Our Employment Support Professionals Help Individuals on SSDI and SSI Return to Work Without Risking Vital Disability Benefits

The Ticket to Work program provides an exciting opportunity for SSDI and SSI beneficiaries who are ready to reenter the workforce to try their hand at full-time employment without jeopardizing their income and health insurance. Find out how Disability Services of America can help you turn your Ticket to Work into a brighter future.

Let Us Guide You Every Step of the Way

Our team members are certified by the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). As an SSA-approved employment network, all our services under the Ticket to Work program are free and completely voluntary. Please complete our online contact form or call (888) 689-6760 to learn more!