Ticket to Work: Support for People with Disabilities Who Want to Work

The right job can change your life, but sometimes it can be a challenge.  People with autism often have trouble finding and keeping a job that they like.  Social and communication barriers cause problems with interviewing and while on the job, and without support, this may lead to an unsuccessful work experience.

Ticket to Work (TTW) is a program for people with autism who want to work and participate in planning their employment.  TTW increases your available choices when obtaining employment services, vocational rehabilitation (VR), and other support services you may need to get and keep a job.

If you receive either SSI or SSDI benefits, you automatically have a Ticket to Work through the Social Security Administration.

Some people worry that if you earn more than the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level ($1,170 in 2017), you will lose your benefits.  This is not necessarily true!

Here are some things to help ease your mind:


“If I try to go to work, I will automatically lose my Medicare or Medicaid.”

FALSE! Insurance is an essential part of employment…it’s not an “either work or insurance” thing! As long as you keep receiving a benefit check of any amount, you will keep your health insurance.

If you earn enough that your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) checks stop, Medicare can continue for up to 93 months.

If you currently receive Medicaid, you should be eligible to continue to receive Medicaid even after you stop receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits due to work.

To be eligible you need to meet certain requirements, which include earnings below a threshold amount set by your state. Even if your earnings exceed the state threshold, you may still be eligible and can speak with either your Medicaid office, your Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, a Benefit Information Network (BIN) provider (if you have VR), or Indiana Works.


“If I use my Ticket to go to work, Social Security will conduct a medical review of my case and I will lose benefits.”

NOPE!!  This is one of the best things about participating in Ticket to Work…no medical review! (aside from becoming more self-sufficient)

Social Security ordinarily reviews your medical condition from time to time to see whether you are still disabled, using a process called the medical Continuing Disability Review, or medical CDR.

If you participate in the Ticket program with either an Employment Network (EN) or your State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, and make “timely progress” following your individual work plan (IWP), Social Security will not conduct a review of your medical condition. If a medical CDR has already been scheduled for you before you assigned your ticket, Social Security will continue with the medical CDR.


“Because of my disability, I will have to reapply for benefits all over again if I become unemployed. It took me forever to be approved for benefits and I cannot afford to wait that long again. As a result, I should not try to work.”

NOT TRUE AT ALL!!! The goal is to help you succeed, not bring you down. 

If you become unemployed while participating in the Ticket to Work program, and you still have the original medical condition (or something related to that condition that prevents you from working), you will not need to reapply for benefits if your benefits ended within the past five years because you earned more than the SGA level.

This is a work incentive called Expedited Reinstatement. You may even be able to receive up to six months of temporary cash benefits in addition to Medicare or Medicaid coverage while SSA conducts a medical review to determine if your benefits can be reinstated.

You’re ready to use your Ticket to Work…NOW WHAT??

If you are currently working with Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and are close to finding a job or are currently working, you can tell your VR Counselor that you would like to assign your ticket to an Employment Network (EN).  Don’t forget to let the EN know, and they’ll keep in touch with you so when your VR case is closed, there will be a smooth transition of support.

You can still use your Ticket if you are not with VR by letting an EN know and they will help get your Ticket assigned correctly.

The Autism Society of Indiana is an Employment Network serving only people with autism spectrum disorders.  If you are interested in learning more about our program, please email us at ASIen@inautism.org or call 800-609-8449.  You can also learn more on our website at www.inautism.org

Learn more about Ticket to Work by calling the Ticket to Work Help Line at (866) 968-7842/ (866) 833-2967(TTY) or visit www.ssa.gov/work to sign up for an informational webinar, explore service providers available to you, read Social Security’s Red Book, updated yearly and available online, describes in detail the provisions that are available to you.

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