By Deborah Banikowski
Social Security encourages people to rejoin the workforce when they are able. Ticket to Work is our free and voluntary program that helps people get vocational rehabilitation, training, job referrals and other employment support services.
This program is for people age 18 to 64, who are receiving disability benefits and need support re-entering the workforce or working for the first time.
While many disabled individuals are unable to work and may never be able to return to work, we know that some are eager to try working again. Work incentives make it easier to work and still receive health care and cash benefits from Social Security while providing protections if people have to stop working due to a disability.
Social Security works with employment networks to offer beneficiaries access to meaningful employment. Employment networks are organizations and agencies, including state vocational rehabilitation agencies that provide various employment support services. Some services they may help with include résumé writing, interviewing skills and job leads.
Ticket to Work gives individuals the opportunity to choose from several employment networks. Participants are free to talk with as many employment networks as they want before choosing one. If someone signs an agreement with an employment network, they’ll help the individual develop an employment plan. We’ll review their progress toward achieving the goals of their employment plan every 12 months.
If they are making timely progress in their return to work plan, we will not conduct a medical review of their disability during the time they’re in the program.
Many people have successfully completed the Ticket to Work program. Anyone interested in the Ticket to Work program should call the Ticket to Work Helpline toll-free at 1-866-968-7842 (TTY 1-866-833-2967). More information on the program is available online at www.socialsecurity.gov/work.
Remember, Social Security is with everyone through life’s journey, providing resources that can help people reach their work and retirement goals.
Q: What should I do if an employee gives me a Social Security number but cannot produce the card?
A: Seeing the card is not as important as putting the correct information on the worker’s Form W-2. You can verify employee Social Security numbers by using the Social Security Number Verification Service. Just go to www.socialsecurity.gov/bso. This online service allows registered employers to verify employee Social Security numbers against Social Security records for wage reporting purposes.
Q: Is it true I must now receive my benefits through direct deposit?
A: Anyone applying for benefits on or after May 1, 2011, will be required to receive their payments electronically. Paper checks will no longer be an option for most people. If you don’t have a bank account, you can get your benefits through the Direct Express debit MasterCard. Switching from checks to electronic payments is fast, easy, and free at www.godirect.org. You also can call the U.S. Treasury Processing Center’s toll-free helpline at 1-800-333-1795 or speak with a bank or credit union representative or contact Social Security for help.