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The Ticket to Work Program is a voluntary program that helps eligible disabled people ease into the workforce without losing their SSDI benefits, but it may not be right for everyone. The program helps people find jobs, allows them to see if they are able to return to work, and provides services that help them maintain employment. Complicated rules, success plans, and monitoring of progress may be too demanding for some disabled people, however. Learning the facts about the Ticket to Work Program can help people decide if working is right for them.

What Is the Ticket to Work Program?

The Ticket to Work program is a program offered by the Social Security Administration for people who are between the ages of 18 and 64 and currently receiving disability benefits. Under the program, participants receive free help with preparing for work and finding jobs. Participants are allowed to work for up to nine trial months while still receiving their disability benefits and maintaining their eligibility for Medicaid and Medicare. During those trial months, people are allowed to earn more than the limit established for substantial gainful activity. If they continue working beyond the trial period, they will maintain an Extended Period of Eligibility for 36 months.

Eligibility For the Ticket to Work Program

To be eligible for the Ticket to Work program, people must be between the ages of 18 and 64. They must also be currently receiving benefits from either the SSDI or SSI program.

What Counts as a Trial Month?

The Social Security Administration has established limits on income. If people make more than those limits, they are generally not considered to be eligible for SSDI benefits. People who are earning $1,180 or more are considered to be engaged in substantial gainful activity. However, people who are earning more than the SGA limit while they are on the Ticket to Work program are able to continue receiving their benefits during the trial period. A trial month is considered to be any month in which the person earns $850 or more. If people work but earn less than that amount during a month, it will not be counted towards the trial period. The trial period lasts for a total of nine months.