Ben shaking hands with interviewerFind out where you can find information about how working will affect your Social Security disability benefits and discover who can help you find the supports and services you may need as you transition to the workforce.

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How Will Working Affect Your Benefits?

Jun 25, 2019

Ben shaking hands with interviewerIf you receive Social Security disability benefits (SSI/SSDI), returning to work or working for the first time can prompt many questions and concerns about how earnings from work will affect your benefits. Today, we'll tell you about where you can find information and support as you make the transition.

Social Security's Ticket to Work (Ticket) program connects you with free employment services to help you decide if working is right for you, prepare for work, find a job or maintain success while you are working. Through many Ticket program service providers, you have access to free benefits counseling to help you make an informed decision about work.

Benefits counseling

What is benefits counseling? Through this free service, you'll receive in-depth counseling so that you can better understand the types of public benefits you receive. In addition to discussing your Social Security disability benefits, a trained Benefits Counselor can also discuss your medical benefits (Medicare or Medicaid), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and more.

Your Benefits Counselor will talk with you about how earning income will affect your eligibility for the benefits you receive and introduce you to Social Security Work Incentives and other resources that can help you make the transition to work and earning income without immediately losing your benefits. They'll also explain your wage reporting requirements to help you avoid being overpaid by Social Security.

Who can help?

Through the Ticket program, you always have a choice of which service provider best fits your needs, and 3 different types of service providers offer access to benefits counseling (in addition to other services):

State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies offer services to people who need more significant services and can often offer intensive training, education and rehabilitation in addition to career counseling, job placement assistance and benefits counseling.

Who is eligible for WIPA services?

You can work with a WIPA project if you:

  • Are working
  • Have a job offer pending
  • Are actively interviewing for jobs
    • Had an interview in the past 30 days
    • Have a job interview scheduled in the next 2 weeks
  • Are a veteran
  • Are age 14-25, not necessarily actively pursuing work

Employment Networks (EN) are private or public organizations that can help with career counseling and assistance with job placement as well as benefits counseling. ENs may also offer additional resources for ongoing employment support to help with workplace success after you get a job.

Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) projects are authorized by Social Security to provide free benefits counseling to Social Security disability beneficiaries to help them make informed decisions about work.

If you meet the eligibility requirements to work with a WIPA project, your counselor (called a Community Work Incentive Coordinator, or CWIC, at WIPA projects) can also help you better understand the services offered by State VR agencies and ENs. This will help you choose the type of service provider that matches your needs and goals as you identify and work toward your career goals. 

Find Help

You have 2 ways to connect with the Ticket program and find the answers, services and supports you need on the path to work.

  • Call the Ticket to Work Help Line Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY). Representatives can review your questions about 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. If you're not sure what type of service provider fits your needs, the Guided Search will take you through a series of questions to help you determine what types of services and supports may be best for you. Once you receive a list of service providers, you can use the filters to narrow results to include providers based on services offered (like benefits counseling), languages spoken, disabilities served and more.

You have 2 ways to connect with the Ticket program and find the answers, services and supports you need on the path to work.

  • Call the Ticket to Work Help Line Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY). Representatives can review your questions about 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. If you're not sure what type of service provider fits your needs, the Guided Search will take you through a series of questions to help you determine what types of services and supports may be best for you. Once you receive a list of service providers, you can use the filters to narrow results to include providers based on services offered (like benefits counseling), languages spoken, disabilities served and more.
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