Social Security conducts Timely Progress Reviews (TPR) to make sure Ticket to Work participants are making progress toward their work goals. Learn more about TPRs and what it means to your path to financial independence through work.

Timely Progress Review (TPR)

Congratulations on taking the first steps toward your employment goals! As you think about returning to work or finding a job for the first time, Social Security's Ticket to Work (Ticket) program may provide the supports and services you need.

When you start working with a Ticket program service provider, you'll develop a plan that describes your work goals and the help you can expect from your service provider to reach those goals. This plan is a written agreement that details the responsibilities of you and your service provider. Social Security will review your progress (a Timely Progress Review) to make sure you're following your plan and are on track to reach your goals.

Social Security's Ticket to Work (Ticket) program supports career development for Social Security disability beneficiaries age 18 through 64 who want to work. The Ticket program is free and voluntary. The Ticket program helps people with disabilities progress toward financial independence through work.

When you participate in the Ticket program, you'll choose a service provider, like an Employment Network (EN) or your State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency, to work with. They'll help you develop a work plan, often called an Individual Work Plan (IWP) or Individual Plan for Employment (IPE), that serves as a roadmap to meeting your work goals.

Your work plan is a written and signed agreement with your service provider. It includes career planning and specific supports and services you'll receive from your service provider. Included in the career planning portion of your work plan, you'll identify the amount of earnings you plan to make when you first start working and the amount of earnings you expect when your plan ends.

Learn more about work plans, such as what work plans include and what your responsibilities are in Planning Your Employment Goals with the Ticket to Work Program.

Your road to employment through the Ticket program is a two-way street: You receive free assistance from your Ticket program service provider to prepare for, find, and keep a job, while you work your way towards financial independence through earned income. In return, you pledge to Social Security that you will take specific steps — determined by the work plan you developed with your service provider — within specific timeframes set by Social Security to:

  • Receive the education and training you need to succeed at work and your long-term career
  • Find and maintain employment
  • Reduce your reliance on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments through earned income
  • Earn your way off cash benefits, if possible

If you're participating in the Ticket program, Social Security will regularly review whether you are making "timely progress" and are actively pursuing your specific work goals within timeframes that your service provider explains to you.

Make sure you follow your work plan and continue to work towards timely progress, keeping records of progress along the way. If you're having trouble reaching your goals, ask your Ticket program service provider how they can help.

The following table explains how Social Security determines whether you're making timely progress. The items in this chart, as well as earning a high school diploma or GED, will satisfy the educational requirement for the first review. Reviews 1-5 may be completed with a combination of work and education.

Review periodWork requirementDegree or certification programTechnical, trade or vocational program
First review3 months at or above the trial work period level*Completed 60 percent of full-time course load for 1 yearCompleted 60 percent of full-time course load for 1 year
Second review6 months at or above the trial work period level*Completed 75 percent of full-time course load for 1 yearCompleted 75 percent of full-time course load for 1 year
Third review9 months at or above the substantial gainful activity level**Completed a 2-year program or, for a 4-year program, completed another academic year of full-time studyCompleted the program
Fourth review9 months at or above the substantial gainful activity level**Completed another academic year of full-time study 
Fifth review6 months of work and have earnings in each of those months that prevent payment of SSDI and Federal SSI benefitsCompleted another academic year of full-time study 
Sixth reviewWork criteria are same as 5th review for this and subsequent reviewsCompleted 4-year degree program 

 *In 2019, we consider you to be working for the trial work period if your earnings are over $880 per month.
 **In 2019, we consider earnings over $1,220 (over $2,040 if you are blind) to be substantial.

Your Ticket to Work service provider can help you understand the Timely Progress Review (TPR) process! They will explain TPR and Continuing Disability Reviews to you and work with you to develop your work plan. They can also help you request to be re-entered into protection from medical reviews and help you submit documentation to Social Security.

A Continuing Disability Review (CDR) is a routine process Social Security uses to make sure your disability still meets Social Security disability benefits rules. Medical CDRs check your medical condition to see whether you still have a disability and confirm that you're still eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) due to a disability.

If you're participating in the Ticket program, have assigned your Ticket to an approved service provider before a medical CDR has been scheduled, and are meeting Social Security's Timely Progress Review (TPR) requirements; Social Security will not initiate scheduling a medical CDR.

There is one exception: If you've ever failed your TPR and have not made enough progress to re-enter into protections from CDRs, Social Security will schedule a CDR even if you're participating in the Ticket program.

Additionally, if you receive a notice that Social Security has scheduled a medical CDR for you before assigning your Ticket to a service provider, Social Security will continue with your scheduled medical review.

For your first Timely Progress Review (TPR), Social Security does not require you to provide any documentation. For future reviews or appeals, you will need to submit documentation. Be sure to work with your Ticket to Work service provider if you have questions.

If you appeal your TPR results or re-enter medical review protection, Social Security requires documentation of progress from you. So it's important to keep good records of:

  • Earnings
  • School transcripts
  • Certificates of completion for trainings or classes taken
  • Other evidence of progress toward your goals based on your work plan.

If Social Security determines that you're not making progress in the Ticket program, you will receive a notice in the mail. Your future medical Continuing Disability Reviews (CDR) won't be postponed. Failing a Timely Progress Review (TPR) doesn't necessarily mean that Social Security will immediately schedule a medical CDR; however, you no longer have protection from having a medical CDR scheduled.

You can continue in the Ticket program even if Social Security finds that you're not making progress. You may consider reviewing your work plan with your service provider and identifying specific steps you can take to make timely progress and possibly reenter medical review protection.

Once Social Security makes a decision, they will send you a letter explaining it. If you disagree with the decision, you have 30 days to ask Social Security to review it. The failed progress review notice provides instructions on where to send appeal letters. Your appeal must contain evidence of progress made, including proof of work, earnings, education or technical training.

Whenever you think you're making progress again, contact the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1- 866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) M-F 8 a.m. - 8 p.m. ET. Your Ticket to Work service provider can help you document whether you're making timely progress, and Social Security will make a decision about your progress based on the documentation you submit.

If Social Security decides that you continue to qualify for the Ticket program and have provided sufficient evidence that you are making timely progress toward your work goals to pass a Timely Progress Review (TPR), Social Security won't begin a medical Continuing Disability Review (CDR). Your protection from a medical CDR will continue as long as you continue to pass future TPRs.