Social Security- A Ticket to Work: Amy’s Story

Like many young people, Amy looked forward to having a job and living in a place of her own. She also wondered how having a developmental disability would affect her future.

amyveAmy turned to her state Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency.  Every state has a VR agency to help people with disabilities enter the workforce.  The agency told Amy about Social Security’s Ticket to Work (Ticket) program.  Amy found out that the Ticket program provides free employment support services to help her prepare for, find, and keep a job. Adults ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefitsqualify for this free and voluntary program.

Ticket program participants can choose to work with their VR agency or an authorized provider called an Employment Network (EN) to receive these employment support services.  You can read more about ENs at

Amy’s VR counselor connected her to an EN with benefits counselors.  Benefits counselors are professionals who are qualified to explain how working can affect a person’s Social Security disability, healthcare, and other public benefits.  Amy’s benefits counselor explained that Social Security offers work incentives to make it easier for adults with disabilities to enhance their job skills and gain work experience without immediately losing their benefits.  This program allowed Amy to focus on adjusting to a new job while continuing to receive Medicaid and some cash benefits from Social Security.

Amy’s EN helped her find training and an internship in a local county Department of Finance where she accepted a permanent position and a promotion.  Amy has worked there for five years, replacing her Supplemental Security Income payment with a bigger paycheck.  She receives benefits through her job, is part of a union, and enjoys the satisfaction of work and independence.  She’s grateful that people and programs were there to help her fulfill her goals. 

“This job makes me feel needed and welcomed,” she says. “I have learned about what motivates me and how to keep going, even when things get hard.”

The Ticket program helped Amy find her path to a better future.  Find yours!  To learn more, visit or contact the program’s Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY).

Rose Mary Buehler

Social Security Regional Commissioner in Atlanta