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Ticket to Work Program

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Introduction and History of the Ticket to Work Program:

The Ticket Program was created in 1999 and is administered by SSA. The Ticket to Work Program provides most people receiving Social Security benefits (beneficiaries) more choices for receiving employment services. Under this program, the Social Security Administration (SSA) issues tickets to eligible beneficiaries who, in turn, may choose to assign those tickets to an Employment Network (EN) of their choice to obtain employment services, vocational rehabilitation services, or other support services necessary to achieve a vocational (work) goal. The EN, if they accept the ticket, will coordinate and provide appropriate services to help the beneficiary find and maintain employment. The ultimate goal is to provide opportunities for beneficiaries and hopefully decrease dependence on social security.

The program did not begin equally in all states. SSA began to distribute tickets to beneficiaries in the first 13 States listed below early in 2002, once the regulations were effective. SSA phased in the Ticket Program over a three-year period. During the first year of operation, which began in early 2002, the program was available only in the following 13 States: Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Vermont and Wisconsin.

In the second phase, SSA expanded the program to these 20 additional States: Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee and Virginia, as well as in the District of Columbia. SSA began to implement this phase in November 2002.

In the third phase, the program became available in the remaining 17 States: Alabama, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming, as well as in American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. SSA began to implement this phase in November 2003.

The program was operating in the entire country by January 1, 2004.

New regulations were implemented this past year and you can find these changes which were published in the Federal Register on May 20, 2008 and went in to effect on July 21, 2008. Check out the new regulations at New Regulations or New Regulations in Word Format: ( or

The revised regulations incorporate SSA’s vision of the future direction of the Ticket to Work Program. SSA issued proposed changes to the Ticket Program in 2005 and 2007 based on lessons learned and issues arising from SSA’s experience in implementing the prior rules. Changes to the Ticket to Work Program demonstrate that SSA is listening, learning and responding to both lessons learned and critically important feedback from a variety of stakeholders, including beneficiaries, employers, disability organizations, advocates and service providers.

What is an EN?

An EN in an organizational entity (State or local, public or private) that enters into a contract with SSA with the intention of coordinating and delivering employment services, VR services, and/or other support services under the Ticket to Work Program. These services are provided by the EN to SSA beneficiaries who have assigned their Tickets to the EN which has accepted the Ticket. An EN may be either a single entity or a partnership of organizations combining their resources into a single entity. An EN may provide services necessary to prepare and place beneficiaries in employment, either directly or be entering into contracts with other providers of such services. For more information about ENs, please read the EN Handbook.

How does the Ticket Program work?

Under the Ticket to Work program, SSA may issues a Ticket to an eligible beneficiary, who in turn may "assign" that Ticket to any EN of the beneficiary's choice that is serving under the Ticket Program and is willing to accept the "assignment." ENs may select the beneficiaries with whom they will work/accept assignment of Tickets. An EN can grow their bottom line with the payments from these successful outcomes. (The best part about the payments is that SSA permits discretionary flexible utilization of revenue when you help beneficiaries obtain and retain employment.)

To learn more about Ticket to Work Programs in your state go to: