Ticket to Work

Ticket to Work Main Photo

24 Dec 2019

For 20 years, the Ticket to Work program has helped individuals with disabilities find meaningful jobs. On December 16, 1999, then-president Bill Clinton signed the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act into law, giving social security disability beneficiaries ages 18-64 free employment services through an Employment Network (EN) or their state Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency. 


Rural Minnesota CEP (RMCEP) is an affiliate EN under the American Dream Employment Network, serving 19 counties in Minnesota and is committed to offering the free Ticket to Work program to both SSI and SSDI beneficiaries. As such, the RMCEP has eight certified Work Incentive Practitioners on staff who help individuals in all areas of gaining and retaining employment. 


Char Hirte, RMCEP’s Ticket to Work Coordinator says, “Many people who receive social security disability benefits want to work, but they also have many questions about how employment might impact their benefits. We answer their questions and walk them through the entire process.” 


Part-Time Work to Full Time Employment


The people RMCEP have helped through the Ticket to Work program range from folks seeking part-time work to full-time employment. 


“The ultimate goal of the Ticket to Work program is to decrease the dependence people have on their disability benefits, but we know that is not a reasonable goal for everyone,” says Hirte. “We meet people where they are and provide them with the guidance they need to make the best decision for themselves and their situation.”


For some, that means everything from help with their resumes and interviewing skills to filling out the required paperwork. For others, it means education on how the Ticket to Work program can help them if, and when, they are ready to work. 


“Individuals who receive disability benefits have their benefits reviewed every three or seven years, called a Continuing Disability Review, to determine if they continue to have a disabling condition,” says Hirte. “If people assign their Ticket to RMCEP and make timely progress through the Ticket to Work program, they don’t have to go through that medical review process. It’s important people know that.” 


She says it’s also important that people understand that just because they have a job does not mean they will automatically lose their Medicare or Medicaid. “Most people who work will continue to receive at least 93 months of Medicare. In addition, Medicaid coverage can continue even if their earnings become too high for an SSI (Social Security Income) cash payment if they meet the requirements.”  


Still, she says the program is not for everyone, and “That’s OK.” 


Those who RMCEP works with, however, receive plenty of support from the agency. The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires that the Work Incentive Practitioners keep in touch with their clients at least monthly and provide ongoing employment and work incentive advisement.  RMCEP can also assist with wage reporting to SSA.


“We understand that individuals on disability benefits want and need help to safely explore their work options without losing their benefits. We help them navigate their options, answer their questions and become a trusted resource for them,” says Hirte. 

There is never any cost for the services offered by RMCEP, including the Ticket to Work program. For more information, please visit the RMCEP website.