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Social Security/Ticket to Work

Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program of the Social Security Administration. It provides monthly benefits to individuals with disabilities who have limited income and resources. SSI provides eligible individuals with a monthly check, and access to services such as food stamps and Medicaid. SSI can be a valuable resource to transition-aged students.

Work Incentives

Students who qualify to receive SSI benefits may also use the SSI program's work incentives. Work incentives allow students to have paid work experience during and after their secondary education experience. SSI work incentives available to transition-aged students include Earned and Unearned Income Disregards, Student Earned Income Exclusion (SEIE), Impairment-Related Work Expense (IRWE), Plan for Achieving Self Support (PASS), Blind Work Expense (BWE), and Property Essential to Self Support (PESS).

These incentives can be helpful in designing community-based, paid employment transition programs for students without decreasing the cash assistance benefits provided by the SSI program.

Information concerning the potential use of SSI work incentives can be incorporated within the transition IEP plan to help young people achieve meaningful employment outcomes. In doing so, special education personnel will need to assume responsibility for ensuring that SSI work incentives are discussed and potentially incorporated within students' IEPs.

The Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act

The Social Security Administration has found that many young people with disabilities entering the Supplementary Security Income (SSI)/Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) rolls are likely to remain on the program rolls for their entire lives. The Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act, signed into law in 1999, was designed to help SSI beneficiaries who want to work to join the workforce without losing their Medicaid benefits.

The Ticket to Work program provides a "Ticket" to SSI and SSDI beneficiaries that they may use to obtain rehabilitation and employment services. Most adult beneficiaries between the ages of 18-65 will get a Ticket, including transition-aged youth 18 or older.

Service providers, called Employment Networks, work with Social Security and SSI beneficiaries to provide assistance designed to help with the transition to work. The Ticket Program is voluntary. People with disabilities who receive a Ticket are not required to work, but may choose to use their Ticket to attempt to work. Likewise, Employment Networks are not required to accept Tickets.

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