[Excerpt] Title I of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 (P.L. 106-170) established the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency program (hereafter referred to as the Ticket to Work or Ticket program), which is administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). The purpose of this program is to enhance work incentives for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries. The legislation created a “ticket” system to expand choices in the numbers and types of providers that SSDI and SSI beneficiaries may choose to assist them in receiving employment services. The legislation also expanded Medicare and Medicaid coverage for individuals with a disability who are working or could work. Most notably, the Ticket to Work program created a market for public and private providers of support services known as employment networks (ENs) to which Social Security disability beneficiaries can voluntarily assign their tickets in exchange for a range of employment support services. The goal of the Ticket program is to reduce dependence on disability benefits and help Social Security disability beneficiaries enter or reenter the workforce. ENs would then be eligible to receive payments from SSA based on ticket holders achieving employment “milestones” or outcomes.
This report provides an overview of how the Ticket to Work program operates and addresses several issues related to the Ticket program. First, it provides a brief background on the SSDI and SSI programs and a legislative history on how the Ticket program evolved. Second, this report provides an in-depth explanation on the various components and regulations of the Ticket to Work program in its current form and prior to major regulatory changes in July 2008. Third, it examines other work incentive programs created by Ticket to Work legislation and concludes with a discussion on the issues surrounding implementation of the Ticket program.