Can I Return to Work with SSI Benefits?

It can be difficult to cope with leaving the workforce due to injury, age, or disability, especially if you’re relied upon to make a livable income. During what’s already a stressful time dealing with your condition, the anxiety that accompanies your non-working status adds another layer to your troubles. But the good news is that the Social Security Administration (SSA) offers you a way to return to work, despite your disability and SSI benefits.

The Ticket to Work program encourages people receiving disability benefits and become active members in the workforce again. By expanding the vocational services available to people on Supplemental Security Income (SSI), it provides additional protections to your benefits as incentives to return to work. You’re not required to participate to receive your full benefits, but many people find this service helpful in dire times. If you want to return to work with a disability, consider the SSI Ticket to Work program.

How It Works

SSA’s program connects you with free employment services to help you prepare for and find a job. It will also provide you with vocational rehabilitation, career counseling, and will place you in a job with training through its authorized service providers. Anyone with a disability aged 18 to 64 can participate in Ticket to Work on SSI. It’s a voluntary program and free to utilize for those eligible. However, this program does come with guidelines.

While it helps you prepare, find, and keep a job to help you reach financial independence, you must pledge in return to the SSA that you’ll complete specific educational or training requirements or work at a specified level of earnings. Your service provider will help you develop a plan with specific time frames that the SSA will determine. Completing the requirements and staying progressive with the program will help you become less dependent on SSI benefits.


As previously stated, Ticket to Work is voluntary, and opting not to participate won’t hurt your benefits. However, it features work incentives that can include receiving cash benefits from the SSA while retaining your medical benefits. You have a higher possibility to explore work with confidence, help yourself succeed, and transition yourself away from financial dependence. You also have access to individualized support services, designed to fit your specific situation.

While some incentives like the Trial Work Period are only available to SSDI recipients, SSI recipients still have other opportunities. For example, Expedited Reinstatement (EXR) can help you get your benefits reinstated if they’ve stopped due to earning level and inability to continue working. You can also get protection from Continuing Disability Review (CDR), bypassing the medical review while on the program.

If you’re looking for a way to return to work while on disability and receiving SSI, Ticket to Work is a viable and reliable option to turn your life around.

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