Ticket to Work

Adult working at a laptop in an office setting

If you receive Social Security benefits, you may qualify for more employment services through Ticket to Work. The free and voluntary program allows you to receive benefits until earned wages or self-employment income are higher than the applicable earnings limit for the Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance programs.

When you’re able to return to your job after your stroke, services can help with:

  • Career planning
  • Work incentive/benefits counseling
  • Resume building/interview preparation
  •  Job search/placement assistance
  •  Ongoing support once employment is obtained

Ticket to Work FAQs

Am I eligible to participate in Ticket to Work? How do I get started?

If you receive Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits, you’re eligible for Ticket to Work and Social Security’s work incentives. Get your “ticket” by contacting an Employment Network (EN) at ChooseWork.net.

How do I prepare to go back to work?

You may seek an Employment Network at no cost that can help you:

  •  Develop career goals.
  •  Build your resume.
  • Learn and practice interview skills.
  • Search for jobs and offer job placement assistance.
  • Increase your income.
  • Gain personal fulfillment.
  • Enhance social engagement.

Each Employment Network is different — find one that meets your needs.

How do I know if I’m ready to return to work after my stroke?

An indicator of your ability to return to work is your desire. Beyond that, keeping a regular schedule is important. This doesn’t mean you have to work eight or 10 hours straight. Regular sleep patterns and committing to an activity are examples of a regular schedule. Fortunately, the Ticket to Work Program allows you to ease into work over time and doesn’t penalize you if you’re not ready.

I’m interested in pursuing a specific career, but I might need additional training. Will an Employment Network or Ticket to Work pay for this?

In general, an Employment Network doesn’t pay for training. But it can refer you to resources that can help you find training programs for your skills and interests. You may be referred to your state Vocational Rehabilitation Department or American Job Center for training to help you prepare to re-enter the workforce.

I’d like to find a job that I’m capable of doing with my post-stroke deficits.

Employment Networks can help Social Security disability recipients identify jobs they’re interested in and can do. Advances in adaptive technology are making more kinds of work possible, and EN staff will help you understand your work experience, education and interests.

If I return to work, can I receive restrictions?

Yes. The key is to find a job that can be performed within the restrictions provided by your physician.

What types of jobs are available to me that won’t affect my Social Security Disability income?

A job in which you don’t earn more than the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) amount of $1,090 per month shouldn’t affect your SSDI. Each month you earn more than $780 will be counted as a trial work month (you’re allowed nine). If you’re not participating in the Ticket to Work Program, you’ll be subject to continuing disability reviews.

How do I go back to work if I’m unable to drive after my stroke?

Transportation is a significant challenge for many stroke survivors. Depending on the range of services an Employment Network provides, they may help you identify transportation options, including public transportation or special transportation programs in your area. An EN can help identify jobs and employers accessible using the transportation options available to you.

Is part-time work available?

Yes, and it may be a good way to transition to full-time employment. One of the aims of the Ticket to Work Program is to help SSDI recipients increase their earnings. If you can achieve and sustain substantial gainful activity (earn at least $1,090 per month) working part time, you may continue to or attempt to work full time. Many beneficiaries start thinking they can only work part time. In some cases, they’re able to build up their endurance and work more than part time. In other cases, some can’t work more than part time. Ticket to Work allows beneficiaries to start the process to learn what works for them. An Employment Network can provide information that will help you understand how your benefits may be affected by work earnings.