What is the Ticket to Work Program?

The Ticket to Work and Self Sufficiency (Ticket) program was created in 1999 to provide Social Security disability beneficiaries the choices, opportunities and support needed to become and stay employed, increase their earnings, and eventually leave and remain off benefits by being fully self-supportive. Organizations selected to participate in the Ticket program are required to provide employment support services that afford Ticket Holders the opportunity and support to prepare for, obtain and retain career ladder jobs that will realistically enable them to leave and remain off of cash benefits.

Eligible Social Security disability beneficiaries, called Ticket Holders, may assign their Tickets to an Employment Network (EN) of their choice to obtain employment services, vocational rehabilitation services, or other support services necessary to maximize their economic self-sufficiency through work opportunities.

How Does the Program Work?

The Social Security Administration enters into purchase agreements with organizations, which are qualified and willing to provide or arrange for the provision of employment services, vocational rehabilitation services, or other services and supports to disability beneficiaries with Tickets, known as Ticket Holders. An approved organization is called an EN. An EN can be either an agency or instrumentality of a State (or political subdivision of the State) or a private entity that assumes responsibility for the coordination and delivery of employment, vocational rehabilitation, or other support services to those beneficiaries who have assigned their Tickets to the EN.

Participation in the Ticket program by disability beneficiaries is voluntary. A Ticket Holder can decide if and when to use his or her Ticket and can select with which participating EN to work. Once an EN and a Ticket Holder agree that they want to work together, the EN develops an Individual Work Plan, or IWP, outlining the services and supports the EN will provide.

Payment under the Ticket program is different than under most Federal programs.  Rather than reimbursing an EN for the cost of services provided to Ticket Holders, the Ticket program is outcome-based. It provides payments to an EN as the beneficiaries they serve, and for whom they have Ticket assignments, attain certain milestones and outcomes associated with work and earnings as they move towards self-supporting employment. For more information, please visit the Payments section of this website.

State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Agencies Can Operate As Employment Networks

When the Ticket program was created, State VR agencies were given automatic status as ENs. As a result, a State VR agency does not need to respond to the EN Request for Quotation (RFQ) in order to function as an EN. As the Ticket program was implemented across the country between 2002 and 2004, all a State VR agency had to do was simply notify Social Security in writing of the desire to participate in the Ticket program and identify which of the two EN payment systems (Outcome only or Milestone/Outcome) the agency wanted to use to receive compensation when functioning as an EN under the Ticket program. The Ticket legislation also gave State VR agencies the option to choose, on a case-by-case basis, between serving a beneficiary under the traditional Cost Reimbursement (CR) program or as an EN under the Ticket program. When the Ticket regulations were revised in 2008, this choice was used as the basis for creating the Partnership Plus service delivery option which allows a Ticket Holder to receive services from a State VR agency under the CR option and subsequently assign his/her Ticket to an EN after the VR case is closed. In these circumstances, both agencies can be compensated for successfully serving the same beneficiary, i.e., VR under CR and the EN under the Ticket program.

Additional Information

Additional information regarding the Ticket to Work Program can be found on the following sites:

Training Presentations

There are several training presentations available that provide information on working with beneficiaries and other helpful topics. To view these presentations, visit the Training page of the Information Center.