Sunday, June 08, 2008

Social Security Disability Ticket to Work Program

Someone made a comment in a recent post on this blog regarding the ticket to work program. Coincidentally, ticket to work had been on my mind for three separate reasons. The first was a conversation I had with a field office claims rep. When I asked what impact the program had had on his office and what the level of involvement there was regarding it, his answers were "almost none" and "negligible".

Fast forward to two days when I found an article published in the Bladen Journal which cited an employee of the social security administration who said of 10 million tickets issued across the country, only 171 had been activated. These numbers stuck in my mind because I found them, though not surprising, somewhat amazing. Also, the social security administration employee who provided the information to the interviewer was named...Tim Moore (I'm not the only Tim Moore out there, of course, but it seemed unusual to read my name in an article about social security disability when it isn't me).

However, the third reason ticket to work was on my mind was a recent blog post I had read on Attorney Charles Hall's blog (Social Security News). Hall stated "Cannot GAO (general accounting office) see the enormous failure of Ticket to Work?"

Enormous failure. Definitely. The funny thing is, I have come across blogs authored by individuals who hail Ticket to work as something wonderful. These bloggers, of course, are concerned with disability issues but know absolutely nothing about social security disability criteria and SSI disability criteria. And this fact highlights something that completely irritates me: the fact that so many online newspapers and issues-oriented bloggers so eagerly swallow every press release that's put out by the social security administration and then...blindly regurgitate this pablum for their readership. It makes me ill because it amounts to disinformation and its not helpful. Granted, there's no malicious intent. But, hey, just because the social security administration issues a press release doesn't make it so.

On this point, I can clearly remember the "blogger" and "press" reactions to the SSA announcements regarding DSI, the disability service improvement program. You read the same thing all over the place -- "Hurray, social security is reforming the disability process". Well, that program has now gone down in flames and is acknowledged to be a colossal waste of time and resources. I said as much from the very beginning. Having actually worked in the disability program, it was obvious to me from the get-go that this was bureaucratic nonsense constructed by a political appointee who really had no idea what she was talking about (the former SSA commissioner). However, so many jumped on the bandwagon of yet another failed initiative simply because they believed the official press about it.

It's a fundamental rule of life: be very dubious about what you hear and read, especially what you read on the internet.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

Prior Posts

Social Security Disability Criteria
How does Social Security decide if I am Disabled ?
Social Security Disability Denied
How does Social Security decide Disability cases?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am writing because I am road kill due to trying to use the Ticket To Work program. I am in Florida. I eagerly signed up for TTW BEFORE anything was sent from Social Security disability to sign up.

I believed I would be a great "poster child" for the program.

This is what happened to me:
One part of Social Security took my being in TTW as proof I was no longer disabled. My much needed monthly check ended up being stopped for over two years.

I was needlessly examined for Social Security fraud going back to 1986 when I first became disabled. All previous reviews that had decided I was still disabled were retroactivley changed to not disabled after all.

My Medicare coverage was stopped without notice. During the years I had no health insurance I had to endure untreated pneumonia and ignore an anurysm. It was a terrifying time.

I had to hire an attorney just to get all the parts of Social Security to talk to each other so I could get back my needed monthly check and Medicare.

I was threatened with jail for the low pay TTW had said I could earn without a problem.

I even had to prove that my small bank accounts from 1986 to 2007 were not under the table jobs that I had not reported.

I had to prove that my son's child support was not a hidden job.

I am now more disabled than I was before TTW because of years when I had no health insurance and no way to buy maintenance meds.

Social Security broke me financially, spiritually and physically for trying to use the TTW.

The administrative abuse I received because of the reviews that TTW says will not happen are literally shortening my life.

I am still in a desperate fight to stop foreclosure on my accessible home. I am still searching for new docs because the old ones stopped believing I actually was eligible for Medicare.

Please do not believe ANYTHING the TTW folks tell you. Medicare, Social Security overpayment and review departments used my TTW enrollment to hound me all the way back to the start of my disability. I suddenly had to prove I really have been permanently disabled for the past 21 years.

I barely escaped having to repay more than $13,000 of "overpayments" gained through TTW.

Local Social Security attorneys have told me that in Florida early signees for TTW are all being reevaluated as to whether there really is a disability based on their using the TTW.

Until all parts of Social Security and Medicare talk with each other and TTW, participation could end all your much needed support. Until they are work together you could lose everything just for signing up.

That is exactly what happened to me.


1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I forgot to share the stunning information I got very late into my travails of being tossed out of Social Security Disability for trying to use TTW.

Here it is -
I was told by folks in my local Social Security office this amazing fact:

Social Security decided before TTW was implemented that the highest number of people with disabilities who would ever truly benefit from TTW would be at most 1/2 of 1 percent of Social Security's total disabled population!

Had I known ahead of time how little Social Security believed in its own program I would never had tried to use it!

According to the same locals -
that .5% "success" rate also included those few that SSDI thought could make the required paperwork and inter-office communication actually work.

Think about that...what other business but SSDI would consider a .5% success an outstanding outcome?


5:33 PM  
Blogger Roger said...

Hi Rus,
I am so sorry to hear about your horror story with TTW. I almost got caught up with that in an effort to keep my state health care. Since my award I "make too much" and it's going bye-bye.
Thanks for the warning !

6:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TTW is is a joke EED office will do nothing hlep you to find you a job nor help you all them want is collect part of them payment stated that help look for job do not apply TTW you will close out on your benefits

5:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh on, I don't like the comments I'm reading. I too fell into the trap during a short remission. After working for 6 months and having to stop, now I got a questionnaire about my work. I'm expecting the worse.

10:51 AM  

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