Federal program enacted in 1999 offers millions free assistance with employment and return to work following severe work-disrupting disabilities
Belleville, Illinois, Dec. 17, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Allsup, a nationwide provider of disability representation and return to work services, is highlighting the value and importance of Social Security’s Ticket to Work (TTW) program on its 20th anniversary in December 2019. The Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act was signed into law Dec. 17, 1999, and included provisions that help Social Security disability recipients find jobs and return to work.
Today, more than 156 million U.S. workers are insured for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and could also benefit from the Ticket to Work program if they experience a work-disrupting disability during their careers.
The average SSDI recipient has 22 years of work experience, and 52% of SSDI applicants say they want to return to work when applying for Social Security disability benefits, according to Allsup Employment Services, which is a Social Security-authorized Employment Network in the TTW program.
“Ticket to Work is a much-needed lifeline for American former workers who want to return to work after a severe injury or illness,” said Diane Winiarski, director of Vocational Rehabilitation Services at Allsup Employment Services. “For two decades, Ticket to Work has offered the opportunity for millions of Americans to experience the personal rewards of being financially independent once again, as well as a sense of security for their future.”
Ticket to Work has helped millions of people recovering from medical disabilities to find employment with help from Employment Networks, organizations that streamline the process for people all over the country by coordinating their benefits, completing paperwork and supporting SSDI beneficiaries in the process of career counseling, job searching and returning to work.
Returning to employment after a severe health condition or injury can be challenging - for example, knowing how to communicate to potential employers the need for reasonable accommodations in order to complete the job. “Research shows the longer that formerly injured or ill individuals are out of the workforce, the harder it becomes for them to re-enter. Only 30% of the 8.4 million SSDI beneficiaries know Ticket to Work exists, so the time is now to get them started on the path to a better future,” said Winiarski.
The Ticket to Work program has advantages and service providers who offer guidance on Social Security’s rules and requirements for returning to work while receiving SSDI benefits. For example, Medicare coverage is provided to SSDI recipients and this coverage is continued for TTW participants for 93 months (7-plus years) while they attempt a return to work. The program’s multiple provisions include a 9-month Trial Work Period where individuals can test whether they are in fact able to work, and so continue to receive SSDI benefits and earnings from work.
Also, if an individual experiences a medical relapse after the benefits payments end, requiring them to quit work again due to their disability, they receive what’s called an Expedited Reinstatement of their SSDI benefits. This time period for restarting SSDI benefits lasts for up to five years after the benefit have stopped.
“Allsup Employment Services has helped thousands of former workers navigate the Ticket to Work program and rediscover their financial independence. It’s estimated that up to 18% of Social Security disability recipients could medically recover enough to work again – so it’s important these individuals who have the potential realize there is greater opportunity with free assistance through Ticket to Work,” said Winiarski.
Allsup Employment Services—whose services are free—is an Employment Network approved by the Social Security Administration to help SSDI beneficiaries transition back into the workforce by providing guidance and help with their next steps forward. Allsup Employment Services specialists also assist with getting the most from the incentives offered through Ticket to Work.