WHEN you CHOOSE to use your Ticket:

Understand the rules of the different programs from which you receive public benefits and then determine how income from work will impact:

  • Social Security
  • Medicare
  • Medicaid
  • Housing
  • State Benefits, such as, Food Stamps and Cash Assistance

Meet with Benefits Planning, Assistance and Outreach programs to answer the above questions:

  • In the City of Chicago: Mayorís Office for People with Disabilities : 312-746-5743(V) 
  • Around the rest of the state either:
    Department of Human Services Ė Division of Mental Health (DMH)
    866- 390-6771 (V) 
    312- 814-5050 (TTY) OR
    Department of Human Services Ė Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS)
    800- 807-6962 (V) 
    866- 444-8013 (TTY)

Decide whether you want to work at a level that will stop your cash benefits from Social Security

  • Employment Networks (except DRS) involved in the Ticket to Work Program only get paid for working with you if you work at a level that disqualifies you from receiving cash benefits from SSA.

Determine what employment services you will need in order to go to work at a level where you will eventually become ineligible for cash benefits

  • Determining a Vocational Goal
  • Career Exploration
  • Education or further training
  • Interviewing Skills
  • Job Development
  • Transportation
  • Assistive Technology
  • Job Coach
  • Professional, Peer or Natural Supports to keep the job

Find the Employment Networks in Your Area

  • Call Maximus, the Program Manager, at 866-968-7842.
  • Request a listing of all the Employment Networks serving individuals in your geographical area. Make sure to request a listing of all the networks and ask them to mail the list to you.
  • Check the Maximus website:

Call the Employment Networks in your Area

  • Exercise Your Right to Choose Who Will Serve You!
  • Call all of the Employment Networks in your area. Some ENís may traditionally serve individuals with certain types of disabilities. However, under the Ticket to Work Program, most ENís have shown an interest in serving people with disabilities that they have not traditionally served.
  • Ask to speak to a staff person dealing with the Ticket to Work Program and tell them that you have a Ticket and may be interested in placing your Ticket with them.
  • You will be asked a series of questions to find out more about you and your goals. They will be trying to determine if the services they offer match your needs.
  • Take this opportunity to ask them questions about their services and how they can help you reach your goal.
  • You want to pick the EN that you feel comfortable working with and that you believe can best serve you.
  • Donít be discouraged if an EN decides not to accept your ticket. There may be many reasons why the EN chooses not to work with you and it may have nothing to do with your ability to work. This is why it is important for you to contact all the ENís serving your area.
  • All ENís (except for DRS) have the right to choose not to work with you just as you have the right to choose not to work with them.

Choose an Employment Network

  • If you and the EN agree to work together towards your goals then together you will both create an Individualized Work Plan.
  • This spells out exactly what the EN will do and what you will do to get employed.
  • You have the power to change or modify this plan so that it is satisfactory to you!
  • Your Ticket is not officially placed with the EN until this plan is submitted to Maximus! It cannot be submitted without your approval!
  • If you do not like the plan, you can reject it and try to place your Ticket with another EN

Assign Your Ticket and Start Working Toward Your Goal

  • Once your Ticket is assigned, concentrate on following your IWP.
  • SSA will measure your progress under the Work Plan.
  • There is no requirement to work during the first twenty-four months of the Plan.
  • During months 25-36, you should earn a gross income over the SGA ($810 in 2004) for 3 months.
  • During months 37 through 48, you should earn a gross income over the SGA ($810 in 2004) for 6 out of 12 months.
  • During months 49 Ė 60, you should have a gross income that disqualifies you from receiving SSDI or SSI.
  • If you do not meet these goals of timely progress, it does not mean that you will be withdrawn from the Ticket to Work Program or you will lose your benefits.
  • However, if SSA decides that you have not met these goals, you could be subject to a Continuing Disability Review. If SSA decides that you are no longer disabled through this CDR, you could lose your benefits.

Understand Your Right to Quality Services Under the Ticket to Work Program

  • You and the EN should be working together to reach your employment goal.
  • If you are dissatisfied you have two options:
  • First you may choose to utilize the dispute resolution system created by SSA. If your EN is the DRS, you may also exercise your right to file an appeal under their pre-existing system (the CAP Program)
  • Second, you can pull your Ticket from the EN that you assigned as your provider. If you pull your Ticket you can try to place your ticket with another EN. You can take as much time as you want to find another EN.
  • However, after three months, SSA will consider your Ticket not in use and you may be subject to a CDR until your Ticket is placed with another EN.
  • If you are dissatisfied with the services that an EN has provided to you, or are thinking about changing EN, you should call Equip for Equality at 800-537-2632. They will be able to assist you in using the dispute resolution system or discuss with you the positives and negatives of changing Employment Networks.

This checklist was done in collaboration between the Work Incentives Support Center of Health & Disability Advocates, formerly SSI Coalition, and Equip For Equality, Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (PABSS) project.