Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) provide monthly payments for qualifying individuals with disabilities preventing substantial gainful employment. Though these payments can help beneficiaries meet basic needs, they may not necessarily align with their preferred standard of living. As SSDI and SSI recipients adjust to the limitations of their conditions, some consider entering or returning to the workforce but worry that doing so could cause them to lose financial payments and health benefits or put them right back at square one if they can't continue working.
Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) Ticket to Work program allows eligible beneficiaries to explore their ability to work without fear of losing vital benefits and offers wide-ranging, free career development services to help them succeed.
Are you an SSI or SSDI recipient who’s considering a return to work? Disability Services of America can help you navigate the Ticket to Work program, protect your benefits, prepare for a career, and find fulfilling employment that increases your independence and improves your quality of life. Here’s what you should know about this exciting opportunity and our comprehensive career counseling services.
Ticket to Work Overview and Eligibility
Ticket to Work is a free and voluntary work incentive program for people ages 18 through 64 who receive SSDI or SSI benefits due to disability. The program connects participants to free training, career counseling, job referrals, and other employment support, allowing them to test their abilities, decide if working is right for them, and reduce their reliance on Social Security payments.
Eligibility for the Ticket program typically starts when you begin receiving disability-based SSDI or SSI benefits. If you’re interested in participating, Disability Services of America or another SSA-approved Employment Network (EN) or State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency can confirm you qualify, assign your ticket, and get started.
Assigning your ticket to an EN lets you access numerous employment development services designed to make your transition to work more accessible.
Nationwide Career Counseling Services for SSDI and SSI Ticket to Work Participants
Disability Services of America is a trusted EN serving Ticket to Work participants nationwide. Our highly qualified employment professionals provide personalized, empathetic, and effective career guidance and counseling for every client—whether you’re sitting in our office in Elmhurst, Illinois, or on the other side of the country.
We assign a dedicated case manager to assist you at every stage of the journey to full-time employment, from helping you define your career goals to tracking your progress to achieving and maintaining success in the workplace. Here’s an overview of what our career counseling entails.
Building Your Vocational Profile
Building a vocational profile is an essential part of the Ticket to Work process that involves reviewing your prior work experience, limitations, and interests with your case manager and creating a comprehensive summary. A thorough understanding of these factors provides valuable insight that allows us to identify talents transferable to other positions and fields and is vital to helping you find—and succeed in—a job or career that aligns with your interests.
We’ll also help you create an Individual Work Plan (IWP), your personalized roadmap outlining your vocational goals, employment objectives, and the services we can provide to support you in your journey toward sustainable and meaningful employment.
Matching Your Profile to Jobs in the Labor Market
We help you match your vocational profile to jobs in the labor market. Available jobs depend on your physical and mental capabilities and limitations. Your case manager will assist you in identifying suitable types of employment and the jobs available in those lines of work.
Preparing You for Employment
After developing your vocational profile, we’ll help you create a customized resume so you can get started on your job search. However, our goal isn’t just to get you a job, any job, as quickly as possible—we’re here to help you start or return to a satisfying career that maximizes your earning capacity.
While cataloging your experience and skills, we can also identify opportunities for increasing what you can earn, connecting you with accelerated programs for attaining the technical knowledge, licenses, certifications, and registrations needed to secure more lucrative jobs in your preferred field or industry.
Our personable and caring employment professionals also help you sharpen their interviewing techniques, holding practice job interviews to gauge your skills, increase your confidence, and provide an overview of all aspects of best practices, including what to do during and after the interview to ensure you make and leave a good impression.
Ensuring a Successful Transition to Work
Disability Services of America helps you find a job that matches your vocational profile and aligns with your objectives, but our career counseling and other services for SSDI and SSI Ticketholders don’t stop when you’re hired. We’re here for the long haul, providing critical ongoing employment support. We can counsel you on your disability benefits, help you understand and exercise your rights under the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and navigate other challenges to help ensure your transition to work is successful.
Career Counseling for First-Time Job Seekers
Everyone with a successful career has to start somewhere. Many of our younger clients are SSI recipients preparing to enter the workforce for the first time—and we’re thrilled to provide the guidance needed to navigate this major life milestone. We’ll help you find a part-time job to test your working abilities, determine what kind of work you enjoy, and set a goal to transition to full-time employment within six months to a year.
We Help You Find Employment Opportunities That Meet Your Needs and Empower You to Achieve Your Goals
Your physical and mental capabilities, skills, and interests shape your vocational profile and, in turn, your job opportunities. No matter your restrictions, we’ll help you navigate the job market to find suitable and satisfying work. Here are a few of the factors we consider during career counseling and job placement.
Physical Abilities and Restrictions
Our knowledgeable Ticket to Work employment professionals assist you in finding work that suits your physical abilities. We use the following physical factors to guide your job search.
Whether you can:
- Sit, stand, and walk as needed
- Complete light-duty tasks, such as lifting 10 to 20 pounds
- Do more strenuous work
Whether you require:
- Additional breaks
- Assistive devices for mobility, such as a walker, crutches, or wheelchair
Mental Capabilities and Limitations
Your mental abilities, including whether you struggle with stress or anxiety in workplace settings, are essential considerations. We tailor our job and career recommendations based on these and other vital factors.
Whether you can:
- Follow instructions
- Complete multi-step tasks
- Work with the public
- Work with a team
- Work in environments with interruptions and/or loud noises
Interests and Preferences
Research shows that matching individuals to jobs they can do and enjoy results in longer tenure in employment positions, which is why we help you search for jobs that align with your preferences. Some of the things we consider include the following.
Whether you enjoy jobs that involve:
- Moving around
- Sitting at a desk
- Doing heavy mental work, such as troubleshooting and problem-solving
- Working in an office
- Working from home
Using the above information allows you and your case manager to find work that matches your vocational profile, enables a smooth transition to employment, and empowers your long-term success in the workplace.
Our Career Professionals Provide Exceptional Support for Your Journey to Employment
For Ticket to Work participants, the path to employment isn’t a race; it’s a long and careful journey—and Disability Services of America’s experienced career development professionals are here to help you navigate the adventures you encounter along the way. We understand the wide-ranging challenges individuals with disabilities can face in the workforce. Our extensive training enables us to provide the exceptional career counseling, job placement, and employment development services our clients need to overcome obstacles, find fulfilling employment, increase their independence, maximize their earning capacity, and improve their quality of life.