Using Your Ticket: The Basics
Your road to financial independence through the Ticket program is a two-way street. Before you assign your Ticket, you must develop a work plan with your Employment Network or VR agency. The Employment Network or VR agency gives you free services and supports to help you prepare for, find, and keep a job in accordance with your plan. Meanwhile, Social Security grants you protection from medical reviews so long as you make Timely Progress toward your goal.
The Individual Work Plan
The Individual Work Plan (IWP) is the roadmap that guides your journey to employment and financial independence. You and your service provider will work together to identify your employment goals, and the services and supports you need to reach those goals. That plan serves as your written agreement: the provider agrees to provide the services and supports outlined in your plan, and you agree to follow the plan in a timely manner.
An Individual Work Plan must be written and signed. It must also have
- Short- and long-term employment goals including specific timeframes and the earnings you expect to make - both when you start working and at the end of your plan.
- The specific supports and services that will be provided to you.
The Individual Work Plan is a living document - it can be amended and adapted to fit your changing needs.
Timely Progress Reviews
When you participate in the Ticket to Work program, the point is to reduce or eliminate your need for SSDI and/or SSI cash payments. You and your service provider have agreed upon a plan with a specific goal and a specific timeframe. Part of that agreement is a pledge to Social Security that you will actually follow the plan. Every 12 months, Social Security will check to see if you have made Timely Progress toward the goals in your Individual Work Plan.
Medical Review Protections
Social Security typically reviews your medical condition every few years to see if you still have a disability. This process is called a medical Continuing Disability Review (CDR). If your Ticket is assigned to an approved service provider and you are making Timely Progress toward your goal, Social Security will not review your medical condition. (Unless they already began a CDR before you assigned your Ticket - then the scheduled review will continue.)