Social Security: Social Security can help you get or get back to work | lifestyles – Community News
Social Security

Social Security: Social Security can help you get or get back to work | lifestyles

If you are dependent on SSI benefits or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and want to start or return to work, we can help.

Ticket to Work (Ticket) is a career development program for SSDI beneficiaries and SSI recipients who want to work and progress toward financial independence. The Ticket program is free and voluntary. Learn more about the Ticket to Work program at or call the Ticket to Work Helpline at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.

In addition to the Ticket to Work program, the Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) program also helps people with disabilities to return to work. A PASS allows you to set aside resources and other income alongside your SSI for a period of time. With a PASS, you can pursue a work goal that will reduce or eliminate your need for SSI or SSDI benefits.

How does a PAS help someone get back to work?

• We base SSI grant and payment amounts on income and resources (value items the person owns).

• PASS allows a person with a disability to set aside money and items they own to pay for items or services needed to accomplish a specific work goal.

• The purpose of the PASS is to help people with disabilities find a job that reduces or eliminates the need for SSI or SSDI benefits.

You can read all about the PASS program at

The PASS must be in writing and we must approve the plan. To get started, contact your local PASS Cadre or local Social Security Office for an application (Form SSA-545-BK). You can also access the form at Ticket to Work service providers, career counselors, or a representative or family member can assist you in writing a PASS.

To learn more about PASS, read The Red Book – A Guide to Work Incentives at

Your job isn’t just a source of income – it can be a vehicle to independence or the first step to fulfilling your dreams. Let our Ticket to Work program or PASS program help you achieve your goals.

Q: I have just received my first disability benefit. How long will I keep getting them?

AN: In most cases, you will continue to receive benefits as long as you are incapacitated for work. However, there are certain circumstances that can make you ineligible for disability benefits. For example, one of the following situations may apply:

• Your health can improve to such an extent that you are no longer disabled.

• Like many people, you would like to get back to work instead of being dependent on your disability benefits and you succeed in your attempt.

The law also requires that we review your case from time to time to verify that you are still incapacitated for work. We’ll tell you when it’s time to review your case, and we’ll also keep you updated on your benefit status. You should also be aware that it is your responsibility to let us know if your health improves or you return to work.

Q: I am currently receiving a WAO benefit. I now have a second serious handicap. Can my monthly benefit be increased?

AN: New. The amount of your Social Security disability benefit is based on the amount of your lifetime earnings before your disability began and not on the number of disabling conditions or illnesses you may have. For more information, visit

This column was prepared by the Social Security Administration. For quick answers to specific Social Security questions, contact Social Security toll-free at 800-772-1213 or visit