Many Oklahomans who are seeking or already receiving disability benefits from Social Security would like to try and get back into the workforce if possible. However, they are frequently confused as to whether getting back to work will negatively impact their benefits. Understanding the federal regulations and the requirements under the Ticket to Work program is imperative before taking part. There are key factors that must be understood.
The Ticket to Work Program is voluntary for people who are between the ages of 18 and 64 and are blind, disabled or are getting Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income. Its goals are the following: to provide with a disability recipient a chance to get back to work; raise their independence and ability to self-support; and lower or potentially end the need to receive disability.
Anyone who is getting cash benefits can take part by signing up with an Employment Network (EN) or a State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency. If they agree to take part, the agency will help the disability recipient to find and maintain work. Included in their services are training, job placement, education and receiving other support services. Ticket to Work is useful because it lets the disability recipient try to get back to work without having to worry about losing benefits if they find they are unable to work. Also, the benefits can restart if the recipient must stop working. They can get their healthcare benefits and they are shielded from a disability review while taking part.
Having a disability that results in an approval for Social Security disability benefits does not necessarily mean that the person will never be able to work again. The Ticket to Work program is an alternative to consider when trying to get back into the workforce. If there are any issues related to Ticket to Work or assistance is needed with any aspect of receiving, retaining or restarting SSD benefits, consulting with an attorney is essential.
Source: ssa.gov, "Ticket to Work Program Overview," accessed on April 6, 2017