Ticket to Work

  President Clinton signed into law the "Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act" on December 17, 1999. On December 28, 2001, the final regulations were released. Starting in February 2002, the Social Security Administration (SSA) began mailing "Tickets" to eligible SSI/SSDI recipients in thirteen "Phase 1" states. Michigan, which is slated as a "Phase 2" state, is scheduled to begin receiving "Tickets" starting on November 15, 2002. Over the course of a year, it is expected that 321,500 tickets will be mailed in Michigan. The initial mailing of the tickets to eligible individuals will last for approximately 4 months. 


What is the Ticket to Work Program?


This new program increases choices for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients in obtaining employment services, vocational rehabilitation services, and other support services. It also removes barriers that require people with disabilities to choose between health care coverage and work, and insures that more Americans with disabilities have the opportunity to participate in the workforce and lessen their dependence on public benefits. 


A ticket is issued to eligible SSDI or SSI recipients. Recipients can then use their ticket to access employment, vocational rehabilitation, or other related services.


Who is Eligible for a Ticket?


Most Social Security and SSI recipients with disabilities will receive a ticket. Disability recipients who are between 18 and 64 will be eligible for a ticket except those who:

  • Are medically expected to improve and have not had their first continuing disability review (CDR);
  • Are SSI recipients and are not receiving benefits based on the adult standard;  
  • Are not receiving a federal benefit.


The selected recipients will automatically receive a ticket and a brochure in the mail explaining how the program will operate. The tickets will begin being mailed November 15, 2001 to eligible recipients whose social security number ends in a one. 


Do Recipients Have to Participate in the Ticket To Work Program?


No, the ticket program is voluntary. Recipients do not have to participate. If recipients choose not to participate in the program, this decision will have no effect on their Social Security benefits. As always, the MRS will continue to provide vocational rehabilitation, employment support services, and all of our other services as we have in the past to eligible individuals regardless of whether they are a ticket recipient or not.


Who Provides the Services to the Recipients?


Recipients participating in the ticket program will receive employment services, vocational rehabilitation services, or other support services from organizations called Employment Networks. Employment Networks are private organizations or government agencies, including the Michigan Rehabilitation Services, which are approved by, and have agreed to work with the Social Security Administration in providing employment services to Ticket holders.


Is There a Time Limit for Using The Ticket?


No, not as long as the recipient is eligible to participate in the ticket program. Basically, recipients are eligible to participate in the ticket program as long as they are receiving a cash benefit from Social Security that is based on a disability. Under certain circumstances, recipients can put their ticket on hold and will still be able to participate in the program at a later date.


What will a Ticket look like?


The Ticket is a paper document that will have some personal information about the person receiving it and some general information about the Ticket Program. Click here to see a sample ticket.


How Do I Use My Ticket?


The letter that you receive with the "Ticket" will explain the process. The first step is to contact the Program Manager - Maximus at the number below. Maximus will provide more information on how to use the ticket and choose an Employment Network.


Will My Benefits Be Affected By Participation In The Ticket Program?


Working and receiving any income may have an effect on some or all of the benefits recipients receive. The Benefits Planning Assistance and Outreach program are available to work with whoever want to be employed.  Recipients are encouraged to seek benefits counseling to learn how earned income may impact benefits. This is a critical factor in determining if the ticket program would be beneficial to you. To obtain benefits counseling, you contact a benefits planner in your area. 


Who Is Managing the Ticket To Work Program?


Maximus, INC. is a private company that is working with SSA to help manage the Ticket to Work program. Maximus can answer questions about the Ticket to Work program and can provide the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the Employment Networks in the recipient's area. You may contact Maximus at 1-866-968-7842 (1-866-833-2976 for TTY) or visit Maximus on the web.



How Can Michigan Rehabilitation Services Provide Assistance
With The Ticket To Work Program?


MRS can assist with:

  • Providing information about the Ticket to Work program.
  • Providing benefits counseling and the effect of participation in the program on benefits.
  • Providing services as an Employment Network
  • Providing services in coordination with other Employment Networks.
  • Providing services to recipients who choose not to assign their ticket.

Click here for the office near you.


For More Information about the Ticket Program:


Michigan Rehabilitation Services Ticket Information Center: 1-888-269-2244

Ticket information web site: tickettowork@michigan.gov


Maximus: The Ticket to Work Program Manager.

Toll-free: 1-866-968-7842

Toll-free: 1-866-833-2967 (TTY)



Social Security Administration:



SSA Ticket Tracker