Social Security Disability's Ticket to Work

Written by: Michelle C. Berk, Esquire

Published:

If you are receiving Social Security Disability benefits but you would like to return to work, Social Security’s new Ticket to Work program will help Pennsylvanians with disabilities go to work under this new program effective in 2004.

Tickets will be mailed to people who receive Social Security disability of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits. Tickets can be used for vocational rehabilitation, job training and other employment support services. The program is entirely voluntary and beneficiaries are not required to go to work, but may attempt to do so.

Ticket holders may contact an Employment Network established by Social Security to assist beneficiaries in planning for employment and working.

Medicare Part A (Hospital) premium free coverage was extended for 4 1/2 years beyond the current limit for disability beneficiaries who work. Therefore, an individual does not have to chose between working and receiving health coverage, including Medicare Part B. SSA will not conduct a medical review of a person receiving disability benefits if that person is using a Ticket. However, income benefits can still be terminated if earnings are above the allowable limits.

Starting in 2002, individuals who have received disability benefits for at least 24 months will not be medically reviewed solely because of work activity. However, regularly scheduled medical reviews can still be performed and, again, benefits terminated if earnings are above the allowable limits. So, if you go back to work, you won’t automatically lose your benefits if you earn under the allowable amount.

If your benefits have ended because you have substantial gainful work activity, you can request that your benefits resume without filing a new application if you are unable to continue to work because of your medical condition. You can receive up to 6 months of temporary benefits, that do not have to be repaid if you are found ineligible to receive disability benefits, as well as Medicare or Medicaid, pending SSA making a new medical determination. The medical condition must be the same as or related to your initial medical condition when benefits were granted. You must file your request to start your benefits again within 60 months of the date you were last entitled to benefits.