I attended a presentation a few years ago with a representative from the Social Security Administration (SSA) where he shared with us a story about how SSA used to be. He said that back then the SSA’s main concern was getting, “the right check, to the right person at the right time.” However, things have changed; Social Security Administration has now created programs to encourage individuals to join the workforce. Let me introduce you to one such program.
The Ticket to Work Program (TTW) is one of those programs. In this program beneficiaries receive a ticket from SSA in the mail; beneficiaries are referred to as ticket holders, with this ticket they can obtain employment services without any cost to them and it’s voluntary. The ultimate goal of participants in the Ticket to Work Program should be to gain employment and get off social security benefits.
Who provides employment services to ticket holders? These are private organizations or agencies that have agreed to work with SSA to provide employment services to ticket holders. They are called employment networks or EN’s. DARS, Division of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, Goodwill Industries, SER Jobs For Progress, Gotcha Second Chance, and Imagines Enterprises are just a few of the employment networks in the Houston area. These EN’s deliver services such as resume assistance, job referrals, job coaching and job development.
How is working with an employment network beneficial to a ticket holder? One benefit would be that the ticket holder might not be subject to a continuing disability review while using their ticket. Secondly, EN’s deliver employment services on a one on one basis and develop a specific plan with the ticket holder. EN’s are also aware of other work incentives that the job seeker can benefit from.
Is there compensation for employment networks? Yes, while there is no upfront funding, this is a performance-based program and EN’s can receive compensation when the ticket holders achieve employment related milestones and/or outcomes.
How can an employer benefit financially from being an EN? An employer who becomes an approved EN under SSA’s Ticket program can receive payments when the employer hires a qualified ticket holder and the employee attains certain levels of work and earnings.
Can employers participate in any other way? If becoming an employment network is not an option or an employer the Ticket to Work Program also promotes an employer becoming an employer partner. The company can be showcased as a disability-friendly employer and be exposed to thousands of ticket holders with a link to the employer’s career website/job postings.
There are many benefits for employers and ticket holders under the Ticket to Work Program. If you are a Federal contractor, becoming an EN and/or an employer partner can help your company meet Office of Federal Contract Compliance Policy rules related to the recruitment of people with disabilities. To learn more about the ticket to work program visit the Ticket to Work section on SSA’s website.
Claudia Magallan is the Disability Navigator for Workforce Solutions Workforce Solutions- Gulf Coast ensuring that customers with disabilities utilize all the services offered by Workforce Solutions. She has over 5 years of experience building relationships in the Houston Community and working with job seekers with barriers to employment.