Ben reading a work planReady to work but not sure how to get to your goals? Find out how working with a Ticket to Work service provider and creating an Individual Work Plan can help you stay on track as you pursue your employment goals.

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Your Map to Success

Jun 20, 2019

Ben reading a work planMaking the decision to look for work can be an exciting time — but you might find yourself asking, "Where do I start?"

Some people might start by writing their resume. Other people might start by thinking about what sort of job they're looking for. Others, still, may want to pursue training or education before they start applying for jobs.

We've got good news. No matter which of these describes your situation, if you are age 18 through 64, receive Social Security disability benefits (SSDI/SSI) and want to work, Social Security's Ticket to Work (Ticket) program can help!

The free and voluntary Ticket program supports career development for eligible participants to help them along their paths to financial independence through work. Through the Ticket program, you can receive individualized services to help you make progress toward your work goals.

The first thing you'll receive is help from your service provider to develop an Individual Work Plan (IWP), which is your map to success.

What's in a name?

While ENs refer to work plans as Individual Work Plans (IWP), your service provider may refer to them by another name. State VR agencies typically call these plans Individualized Plans for Employment (IPE) and Workforce ENs, which are ENs that work within the public workforce system, refer to work plans as Individual Employment Plans (IEP).

Your map to success may differ in name, but it will still include your goals and identify the supports and services you will receive.

Drawing your map

An IWP is a signed agreement between you and your Ticket program service provider that describes your work goals — including the amount of income you plan to earn when you start working and how much you plan to earn when your work plan comes to an end. But just as important, your work plan also describes the supports and services your service provider will offer you along the way.

Supports and services will vary based on the type of service provider you choose. If you need intensive training or education, your State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency can help you identify training opportunities before you start applying for jobs. Or if you've identified your work goals and you're ready and qualified to begin applying, an Employment Network (EN) can help you find job leads, polish your resume and prepare for interviews.

If you started working with your VR agency, you can assign your Ticket to an EN once your case is closed with VR.

Following your map

Working with your service provider and developing your work plan will give you a clearer sense of how to make progress toward your work goal. At each step, your service provider can help you identify resources and supports that may help.

Keep in mind that your IWP is an agreement or contract between you and your service provider. Social Security will monitor your progress toward your goals on a regular basis through a process called Timely Progress Reviews (TPR).

Over time, you may find that the original path you discussed with your service provider no longer fits your needs. In this case, your EN or State VR agency can re-route and help you adjust your goals and potentially the supports and services that are provided to you. It's important to discuss any speed bumps or detours that you encounter on your path to work as soon as you experience them. Then, you and your service provider can come up with a solution to help you get to your destination.

Learn more

Are you ready to start planning your road map to success? To learn more about the Ticket program and connect with a service provider, you can:

Call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET. A representative can help answer questions you have about your disability benefits and work and send you a list of service providers.

Call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET. A representative can help answer questions you have about your disability benefits and work and send you a list of service providers.

Use the Find Help tool to search for service providers on your own. You can do a direct search to find ENs, State VR agencies or other service providers that serve your area, and filters can help you narrow your results to find a provider that fits your goals.

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