Ticket to Work and Partnership Plus for Consumers Receiving SSI or SSDI

Revised January 2020

Purpose

To outline the role of DVR staff throughout the DVR case process when working with consumers who receive Social Security benefits and may be eligible for Ticket to Work (TTW) or Partnership Plus services before DVR case closure. The goal of consumer participation in TTW is to help the consumer find and maintain a job above Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA), thus working off benefits. In 2019, SGA was calculated at $1,220 per month.

These steps will assist consumers in making informed choices about working off benefits (using their Ticket) and how they would like to use their Ticket upon DVR case closure.

Rationale

DVR staff at all levels have an opportunity to assist eligible individuals with disabilities in finding and maintaining competitive integrated employment.

DVR can help maximize a consumer's earnings and career potential through Social Security work incentive programs like TTW and Partnership Plus. Staff should remind consumers that there are supports and services available after DVR services end to continue to assist them toward working off benefits.

Background Information

Ticket to Work (TTW) is a work incentive program that provides a path for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) recipients to receive support from state VR agencies and providers known as Employment Networks (ENs).

An update to TTW legislation created a program known as Partnership Plus, which provides financial incentives to VR agencies and ENs to work together to provide seamless support for mutual consumers and beneficiaries as they exit VR programs. The goal of the TTW and Partnership Plus programs is to give consumers the resources, tools, and coordinated services they need to successfully work off Social Security benefits.

Ten Things to Know about Ticket to Work

  1. Ticket to Work (TTW) is a free and voluntary program created by Social Security. It is important that the consumer understands that the goal of TTW is to work off benefits.
  2. Most consumers who are receiving SSI or SSDI have a TTW. Consumers may not realize they have a TTW.
  3. No one is required to participate in TTW or Partnership Plus to keep their benefits. Consumer benefits are not impacted by choosing not to participate in these programs.
  4. Consumer benefits after DVR case closure include:
    1. Connection to an EN that can provide services and supports for up to 5 years
    2. Services to help maintain, regain, and advance in employment
    3. Potential eligibility for protection from Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs)
  5. The Ticket is connected to the consumer's Social Security Number (SSN). Those who decide to use their Ticket with DVR will receive a letter from Social Security confirming that the Ticket has been put in use with DVR.
  6. Consumers who work with an EN after VR closure are almost twice as likely to achieve successful work outcomes!
  7. VRCs must offer benefits counseling to all SSI/SSDI beneficiaries. Benefits counseling provides the consumer with information about TTW and other work incentives that may be used while working and helps with informed choice.
  8. Partnership Plus is most appropriate for consumers who intend to work off SSI or SSDI benefits. Following DVR case closure, consumers earning near or above SGA should be strongly encouraged to use their TTW with a Partnership Plus EN to receive extra supports.
  9. The DVR case closure letter outlines how consumers can reassign their TTW and access ENs in Wisconsin, including Partnership Plus networks. VRCs can help the consumer exercise their informed choice in selecting a Partnership Plus EN.
  10. For more information:
    1. TTW is managed by the Ticket Program Manager, Maximus, Inc. If consumers have questions about using their Ticket with DVR or an EN they can contact the Social Security Ticket Specialist or the Ticket to Work Help Line at 866-968-7842 or 866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST.
    2. For general inquiries, you or the consumer may visit https://choosework.ssa.gov/.

Case Process Responsibilities

It is essential that DVR obtain accurate SSNs from DVR consumers. Please refer to the SSN Requirements guidance for responsibilities in obtaining accurate SSNs.

Throughout the case process, DVR staff should assist consumers who are receiving Social Security benefits (due to their own disability) and are interested in working off benefits.

Application, Eligibility, and Waitlist

If a DVR consumer is working with an EN, determine which of the three scenarios in the table below applies to the consumer and proceed as indicated. If the consumer was not working with an EN before applying for DVR services and was not working with an EN before coming off the DVR waiting list, proceed to the IPE Development section.

Process Consumer Action Needed DVR Staff Action Needed
Orientation Consumer attends DVR Orientation DVR Staff assist consumer through group, individual in-person, or individual phone orientation to DVR services
Application & Eligibility Consumer makes informed decision to complete the DVR application and signs ROIs for records, including Individual Work Plan (IWP) from the EN, if appropriate
  1. Staff accepts the referral/application
  2. Intake with consumer via phone or in person via SVRI
  3. Staff identifies SSI/SSDI beneficiaries in Federal Requirements
  4. Staff verifies SSI/SSDI benefit status and checks the SSN Verification History Page
  5. If the consumer provides their SSN and verification shows they are receiving Social Security benefits based on their own disability, staff completes presumptive eligibility as soon as possible (SSI or SSDI, including Disabled Adult Child) based on the consumer's disability
OOS Waiting List (if in use) Consumer can reach out to a Partnership Plus EN while on the DVR waiting list to begin receiving employment supports and services prior to coming off the waiting list
  1. Staff discusses the benefits of working with an EN while on the waiting list with the applicant
  2. Staff sends applicant an OOS Eligibility/Referral Letter which includes the Your Ticket to Work Services insert

Activation from Waitlist

If the consumer was not working with an EN before applying for DVR services and was not working with an EN before coming off the DVR waiting list, proceed to the IPE Development section.

If a DVR consumer is working with an EN, determine which of the three scenarios in the table below applies to the consumer and proceed as indicated.

ScenarioScenario DVR Consumer Actions DVR Staff Actions
The EN services are meeting the consumer’s needs (no longer interested in DVR services) Let DVR staff know that they do not wish to use DVR services The DVR case file can be closed with a closure reason of "Does not require VR services"
The consumer wants to work with DVR
  1. If already working with an EN, the consumer calls the Ticket Program Manager (Maximus) at 866-968-7842 or 866-833-2967 (TTY) to unassign the Ticket from the EN
  2. The consumer can choose to use the EN as a service provider for job development or they can choose another service provider
  1. Assist the consumer with unassigning their Ticket from the EN
  2. Provide informed choice to the consumer regarding job developer selection (this may include the EN if they are a DVR service provider)
The consumer decides to maintain the Ticket assignment with the EN while being served by DVR
  1. In most circumstances, the ticket cannot be assigned to an EN while the DVR case is open
  1. In these rare cases, DVR and the EN must coordinate the IPE and IWP services
  2. The IWP services must be identified in the IPE as comparable benefits and entered as comparable benefit case notes in IRIS
  3. DVR expects the EN to provide services at no cost to DVR

Note: The Ticket belongs to the consumer, and assignment of the Ticket remains the choice of the consumer. If a consumer is unsure if their Ticket is assigned to an EN, DVR can contact Maximus to check the Ticket status. DVR may not provide services that are being provided under an Individual Work Plan (IWP).