|America's Disabled Get a Ticket to Work|
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced the launch of its Ticket to Work program designed to help people with disabilities go to work.
Noting that only about one percent of Social Security and SSI disability recipients leave the benefit rolls to go to work annually, Jo Anne Barnhart, Commissioner of Social Security stated, "We can do better, and we must do better."
"President Bush said, My Administration is committed to tearing down any barriers that unreasonably prevent the full participation of Americans with disabilities. And he said that he will work to help disabled Americans realize their dreams through meaningful and successful careers. And the Ticket to Work gets us there," said Barnhart.
The actual Tickets to Work are now being mailed to Social Security disability and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability beneficiaries. The Ticket entitles the bearer to obtain vocational rehabilitation, job training, and other employment-related support services. Initially, 13 states will participate in the Ticket Program, which will be in operation nationwide by January of 2004.
Tickets are scheduled to begin arriving in mailboxes during the week of Feb. 11. Over the next five months, about 2.4 million Social Security and SSI beneficiaries with disabilities will receive a Ticket to Work. The mailings will be staggered, based on the last digit of the beneficiarys Social Security number. Anyone who wants a Ticket immediately can call 1-866-968-7842 (1-866-YOURTICKET). TDD/TTY users should call 1-866-833-2967 (1-866- TDD2WORK).
Recipients may use their Ticket an any employment service provider participating in the SSA's Ticket to Work Employment Network or to their State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency.
How the Program Works: All a Ticket holder needs to do is take the Ticket to the SSA Employment Network. The network and the Ticket holder together design an individual employment plan outlining the services to be provided to assist the beneficiary in reaching his or her employment goal. The Employment Network services are totally free to Ticket holders. SSA pays Employment Network participants for successfully helping a Ticket holder go to work.
Participation in the program is totally voluntary. Beneficiaries who receive a Ticket are not required to work or to use their Ticket. Likewise, Employment Networks are not required to accept Tickets.
Scheduled Ticket to Work Mailings: Between February and June, beneficiaries will receive tickets in the following states: Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Vermont and Wisconsin.
The second phase of the Ticket Program is scheduled for late 2002 in the following states: Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee and Virginia, and in the District of Columbia.
The final phase of the Ticket Program is scheduled for 2003 in Alabama, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming, as well as in American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Questions? Those who have questions about the Ticket Program should call Maximus, Inc. Maximus, the organization selected by SSA to administer the Ticket Program, may be contacted toll-free at 1-866-968-7842 (1-866-YOURTICKET). TDD/TTY users should call 1-866-833-2967 (1-866- TDD2WORK). Internet users can visit http://www.yourtickettowork.com -- Maximus Web site.