February 18, 2002
'Ticket to Work' Offered to Disabled
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The Social Security Administration has launched a new program to help people with disabilities go to work.
Under the program, called Ticket to Work, Social Security disability and Supplemental Security Income disability beneficiaries will receive tickets that may be used to obtain vocational rehabilitation, job training, and other support services.
Initially, 13 states will participate in the ticket program, which will be in operation nationwide by January of 2004. (A list of the 13 appears below.)
Tickets were to begin arriving in mailboxes last week. Over the next five months, about 2.4 million Social Security and SSI beneficiaries with disabilities will receive a Ticket to Work. The mailings will be staggered, based on the last digit of a beneficiary's Social Security number.
Anyone who wants a ticket immediately can call 1-866-968-7842 (1-866-YOURTICKET.) TDD/TTY users should call 1-866-833-2967 (1-866- TDD2WORK.)
Individuals may take their tickets to any of the employment-service providers in their communities. These providers are formally called employment networks. A list of participating networks can be found by clicking on "service providers" link below.
Here's how the program works:
- A ticket holder gives the ticket to an employment network.
- The network and the ticket holder together design an individual employment plan outlining the services to be provided to assist the beneficiary in reaching his or her employment goal.
The program is voluntary. Social Security and SSI beneficiaries who receive tickets are not required to work, but may choose to use their tickets to attempt to go to work. Likewise, employment networks are not required to accept tickets.
The program is designed to provide people with disabilities with more choices and expanded opportunities to help them go to work. Individuals will receive services from employment networks for free. SSA will pay the networks for successfully helping a beneficiary go to work. Networks may choose to be paid based solely on helping an individual achieve self-sufficiency, or they may choose to receive payments when beneficiaries achieve different milestones during their attempt to go to work.
The ticket program is the cornerstone of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act, which was passed by Congress and signed into law in December 1999. Other provisions of the law are already in place to help support people with disabilities as they go to work. These provisions include expanded health care coverage.
Many of the barriers that would force people to choose between health care coverage and work have been removed by the legislation. Social Security disability beneficiaries are eligible for Medicare, the federal health insurance plan. Effective in October 2000, most Social Security disability beneficiaries are protected by Medicare for up to eight years and six months after they go to work.
Medicare coverage continues even if an individual no longer receives a monetary benefit from Social Security. Most SSI beneficiaries are eligible for Medicaid, which is a state health benefit. These individuals should contact the state Medicaid office in their area for more information. For more on the difference between Social Security disability and SSI disability, click on the fact sheet at the end of this press release.
Between February and June, approximately 2.4 million beneficiaries will receive tickets in the following states: Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Vermont and Wisconsin.
The second phase of the ticket program is scheduled for late 2002 in the following 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, and in the District of Columbia.
The final phase of the program is scheduled for 2003 in 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.
Questions about the program can be answered by Maximus Inc., the organization selected by SSA to administer it. Call toll-free at 1-866-968-7842 (1-866-YOURTICKET.) TDD/TTY users should call 1-866-833-2967 (1-866- TDD2WORK.)
The Maximus Web site, at www.yourtickettowork.com, is linked below.