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Work-at-Home Jobs FAQ: Ticket to Work Program

  1. What is the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency program?
  2. What is an Employment Network?
  3. Is there a specific age range to be eligible for the Ticket to Work program?
  4. How do I assign my Ticket to NTI?
  5. What is an Individual Work Plan (IWP)?
  6. When will I be required to complete an IWP to assign my Ticket to NTI?
  7. What are the benefits of having my Ticket assigned to an EN like NTI?
  8. When will NTI submit a request to SSA to assign my Ticket to its Employment Network?
  9. Do I need to assign my Ticket to NTI to be considered for NTI's services and jobs?
  10. What if my Ticket is currently assigned to another EN?
  11. What if my Ticket is currently assigned to a State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency?
  12. What services can NTI offer me to help me achieve the goals of the Ticket to Work program?
  13. Can NTI assist me with purchasing the necessary home office equipment needed to work from home?
  14. What is a Timely Progress Review?
  15. What is a Trial Work Period?
  16. What is the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE)?
  17. What is Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)?
  18. What assistance is available to me to help determine if returning to work and the Ticket to Work program are right for me?
  19. What information do I need to report to Social Security (SSA) once I start working?
  20. Do I need to report my earnings and employment information to NTI as well once I start working?
  21. How do I obtain a copy of my IWP?
  22. How do I un-assign my Ticket to Work from NTI if I no longer want services from your Employment Network?
  23. Will I lose my job if I'm not able to meet the goals of the Ticket to Work program?
  24. What is the Social Security Red Book?
  25. What is the difference between a 1099 Contractor and W-2 Employee?
  26. What is the difference beween an NTI@Home sponsored job and a non-NTI@Home sponsored job?
  27. Who do I contact for the specific services I may need from NTI?

1. What is the Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency program?

The Ticket to Work program is a Social Security Administration back-to-work program for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries in the United States who desire to return to work and work toward the goal of self-sufficiency (getting off SSA benefits). The Ticket to Work program provides beneficiaries with a "Ticket" they may use to obtain services and/or employment from an Employment Network (EN) or State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency. Maximus, Inc., a private company, has been contracted by the Social Security Administration to administer the Ticket to Work program's operations. Participation Ticket to Work is both free and voluntary to all SSDI and SSI recipients.

2. What is an Employment Network?

An Employment Network (EN) can be a single agent, a partnership, or a group of agents combining resources to serve SSA beneficiaries. State and local government agencies, schools, corporations, employment agencies, outreach ministries, community organizations, and other agencies may qualify as ENs. There are a variety of ENs offering different employment and training services to SSA beneficiaries. ENs determine the services they offer, where, and to whom. SSA beneficiaries are free to choose and work with any EN of their choice. An SSA beneficiary or EN can elect to un-assign a Ticket from the EN at any time. The SSA pays an EN milestone and outcome payments when the SSA beneficiaries it is providing services to have achieved specific earnings goals. If these goals are not met, an EN does not receive payments from the SSA

3. Is there a specific age range to be eligible for the Ticket to Work program?

Yes. Part of the eligibility criteria for the Ticket to Work program is that an individual be between the ages of 18 and 64.

4. How do I assign my Ticket to NTI?

To assign your Ticket-to-Work to NTI, you must complete an Individual Work Plan (IWP). Once the IWP is completed and signed by both the beneficiary and NTI, NTI submits an assignment request to the SSA which allows NTI to begin providing services to you.

5. What is an Individual Work Plan (IWP)?

The IWP defines your short-and long-term employment and earnings goals that will help you work toward the goal of self-sufficiency under the Ticket to Work program. The IWP also defines the supports and services NTI will provide to you to help you achieve the goal of self-sufficiency. You will also go through at least one hour of career counseling and IWP development with representatives of NTI as part of the IWP process.

6. When will I be required to complete an IWP to assign my Ticket to NTI?

NTI requires its candidates to complete the IWP during the initial pre-screen and assessment process. Your IWP must be completed before NTI will put you in its applicant pool and allow you to apply for available jobs.

7. What are the benefits of having my Ticket assigned to an EN like NTI?

While your Ticket is in-use with an EN or state VR agency, you are exempt from disability medical reviews as long as you continue to demonstrate progress within the Ticket program. Assigning your Ticket to an EN like NTI also entitles you to the services provided by the EN for free. These services are designed to help you get back into the workforce and on the path to self-sufficiency.

8. When will NTI submit a request to SSA to assign my Ticket to its Employment Network?

Typically, NTI will submit the request to assign your Ticket to our Employment Network once you have been selected for a position NTI is hiring or have been approved to be forwarded to a specific client for hiring considering if NTI does not make the hiring decision.

9. Do I need to assign my Ticket to NTI to be considered for NTI's services and jobs?

Yes. NTI’s services to all SSA beneficiaries are free, and programs like the Ticket to Work program help NTI cover the costs associated with providing these services to you. The exception to this requirement is if you are referred to NTI through your state vocational rehabilitation agency for training and placement services.

10. What if my Ticket is current assigned to another EN?

Your Ticket can only be assigned to one EN at a time. If you would like to un-assign your Ticket from the EN it is currently assigned to, you can submit a request to the EN that it un-assign your Ticket so you can receive services from another EN, or you can contact the Ticket to Work Helpline at 1-866-968-7842 and request your Ticket be un-assigned from that EN.

11. What if my Ticket is currently assigned to a State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency?

There are a few options available to you in this situation. NTI works with many state VR agencies across the country to provide training and placement services to their clients. You could speak with your VR counselor to see if you qualify for paid training and placement services with NTI through VR. If VR will not pay for your training and placement services through NTI, and you are not receiving or do not require other services from VR, you can request VR close your case "unsuccessfully". Once your case is closed, your Ticket is released from the VR agency to assign to an EN like NTI.

12. What services can NTI offer me to help me achieve the goals of the Ticket to Work program?

NTI is able to provide job development, job interviewing, job placement services, job coaching, job-specific training, self-paced training, and human resources advice services. We also contact every beneficiary assigned to our Employment Network at least quarterly to provide them with important updates to the Ticket to Work program and other resources/information that could assist in achieving the goals of the Ticket program.

13. Can NTI assist me with purchasing the necessary home office equipment needed to work from home?

No. If you require financial assistance with purchasing the required home office equipment needed to work from home, we might suggest you consider applying for services through your state's vocational rehabilitation agency. Sometimes these agencies are able to assist you with home office equipment. Vocational rehabilitation may also be able to incorporate NTI's training and placement services into your individual work plan. You should contact your local agency to determine your eligibility for services and what they may be able to assist you with: State VR Agency Contact Info

14. What is a Timely Progress Review?

A Timely Progress Review (TPR) is Social Security's way to track the progress of a Ticket Holder under the Ticket to Work Program. Essentially, Social Security expects Ticket Holders to make progress towards self-sufficiency while their tickets are in "Assigned" or "In-Use SVR" status.
The TPR is based on the Timely Progress Guidelines that Social Security established under the New Regulations effective July, 2008. As a result of these regulations, the SSA conducts a review at the end of every 12-month period to determine if beneficiaries are making the expected progress toward self-sufficiency..

The TPR guidelines consist of work and earnings requirements, educational or training requirements, or a combination of both. An example of this is the first 12-month Review, where the beneficiary must have worked three months at the Trial Work Level (TWL) amount in order to pass the review. Alternatively, the beneficiary must have completed a GED, or high-school diploma, or have completed 60% of a full-time course load for an academic year in a college or technical, trade, or vocational training plan. Another alternative is that the beneficiary has completed some combination of this work and education requirement.

You can learn more about the TPR requirements through the SSA website: TPR Requirements

15. What is a Trial Work Period?

Social Security gives every beneficiary on SSDI a nine-month Trial Work Period to test his/her ability to work and decide if he/she can re-enter (or more fully enter) the workforce. During the Trial Work Period, an SSDI beneficiary can work and earn as much income as he/she wants and continue to get full SSDI benefits.
A Trial Work Month is any month within the Trial Work Period that gross earnings are greater than Trial Work Level (TWL), which is $840 in 2017. If you earn more than TWL earnings in a month, you've used up one Trial Work month. If you earn less than TWL earnings, you have not used up a Trial Work month. Either way, a beneficiary continues to get full SSDI benefits.
The Trial Work Period consists of nine Trial Work months occurring within a rolling 60-month window. The nine Trial Work months can occur consecutively or spread out over time. The Trial Work Period stays open until an SSDI beneficiary has used up all nine Trial Work months. Once all nine Trial Work months within the 60-month window have been exhausted, the Trial Work Period is over and the 36-month Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE) begins.

16. What is the Extended Period of Eligibility (EPE)?

During the EPE, an SSDI beneficiary still receives benefits as long as "countable" earnings are not above the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) level. Countable earnings can be different for each SSDI beneficiary due to work incentives. We highly recommend speaking with a Benefits Specialist or Work Incentives and Planning and Assistance (WIPA) project to determine what work incentives you are eligible for.
You can speak with a Benefits Specialist for free through the Ticket to Work Helpline at 1-866-968-7842.
You can find your local WIPA project through the Ticket to Work website: WIPA

17. What is Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)?

SGA is typically work that brings in over a certain dollar amount per month. In 2017, that amount is $1,170 for non-blind beneficiaries, and $1,950 for blind beneficiaries. If you are making more than that amount per month, the SSA determines you are able to engage in competitive employment in the national economy. In deciding whether you are achieving SGA, the SSA does not include any income you obtain from non-work sources, such as interest, investments, or gifts.

18. What assistance is available to me to help determine if returning to work and the Ticket to Work program are right for me?

NTI's recommendation is that you contact the Ticket to Work Helpline and speak with a Benefits Specialist. You can contact the Ticket to Work Helpline at 1-866-968-7842.

19. What information do I need to report to Social Security (SSA) once I start working?

As an SSA beneficiary participating in the Ticket to Work program, you do have an obligation to inform the SSA that you have started work as well as other pertinent information to being employed.

Beneficiaries should notify the SSA immediately if they start or stop work, their duties, hours, or pay change, or they start paying for expenses necessary to work, due to their disability.

In certain circumstances, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries must also report earnings for others, such as spouse, if he or she lives with the beneficiary, parent(s) if the beneficiary lives with them and is younger than age 18, or sponsor, if the beneficiary is not a U.S. citizen, even if the sponsor does not live with the beneficiary.

Beneficiaries may report changes in work activity through phone, mail, or in person. To report wages by phone, they may call the SSA automated phone system at 1-800-772-1213. Alternatively, they may mail or take their pay stubs to their local Social Security office at the beginning of each month. Pay stubs should include overtime, vacation pay, and bonuses.

Beneficiaries may find their local office by going to the SSA website. They should also submit receipts for disability-related items or services necessary for work. The SSA will provide beneficiaries with a receipt to verify their report, which they should keep with all other important papers from Social Security.

Beneficiaries should report their wages as soon as they receive the last pay stub each month, but no later than the 10th day of the next month

20. Do I need to report my earnings and employment information to NTI as well once I start working?

If you are an employee of NTI, we will have all of your employment and payroll information. If you are hired directly by one of NTI's clients, NTI does its best to work with our clients to obtain your employment and payroll information. On occasion, due to company policy, an NTI client may not be able to supply us with this information. If that is the case, NTI as your Employment Network of the Ticket to Work program, will require you report this information to us so that we are able to collect milestone and outcome payments from SSA to cover the costs of our services provided to you in getting you gainfully employed.

21. How do I obtain a copy of my IWP?

Please email the NTI Finance Department to request a copy of your NTI IWP.

22. How do I un-assign my Ticket to Work from NTI if I no longer want services from your Employment Network?

In the rare case that you determine NTI is not the appropriate EN to help you achieve the self-sufficiency goals of the Ticket to Work program, you can request NTI un-assign your Ticket from our EN at any time by sending a formal request to the NTI Finance Department asking that your Ticket be released from NTI.

23. Will I lose my job if I am not able to meet the goals of the Ticket to Work program?

No. Ultimately, NTI's mission is put Americans with disabilities to work. If you are placed in a job with NTI or one of our clients and are not able to meet the goals of the Ticket to Work program, this would not be held against you. However, if you do not meet the Ticket to Work program's requirements for the Timely Progress Reviews, you will lose your medical review exemption. Please visit the SSA website for more information on Timely Progress Reviews.

24. What is the Social Security Red Book?

The SSA's Red Book serves as a general reference source about the employment-related provisions of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Programs. This resource provides a wealth of information pertaining to how returning to work impacts your benefits. You can obtain a copy of the SSA Red Book for free from the SSA website: SSA Red Book.

25. What is the difference between a 1099 Contractor and W-2 Employee?

In some instances, you may be hired by a company as a 1099 independent contractor as opposed to a W-2 employee.

Simply put, 1099's and W-2's are two separate tax forms for two different types of workers. If you're an independent contractor, you get a 1099 form. If you're an employee, you receive a W-2.

As a W-2 employee, payroll taxes are automatically deducted from your paycheck and then paid to the government through your employer. If you're a 1099 contractor, you are responsible for calculating your own payroll taxes and then submitting the sum to the government on a quarterly basis.

We would highly recommend speaking with your tax professional if you take a job as independent contractor to make sure you fully understand you tax obligations. You can learn more about being an independent contract at the IRS's website.

26. What is the difference between an NTI@Home sponsored job and a non-NTI@Home sponsored job?

NTI@Home sponsored jobs are jobs where NTI@Home has a formal partnership with the employer to hire NTI@Home's candidates. For many of these positions, NTI@Home is able to advocate on your behalf to help get you hired by the employer. In some instances, these are jobs that have been specifically set aside for NTI@Home candidates and are jobs that are exclusively available through NTI@Home.

Non-NTI@Home sponsored jobs are jobs where NTI@Home does not have a formal partnership with the employer to hire NTI@Home's candidates. We provide the leads to these jobs for you to help increase your chances at being hired for a work-at-home job. Outside of providing you leads to these jobs, NTI@Home is unable to provide any further assistance in getting hired for these jobs.

27. Who do I contact for the specific services I may need from NTI??

Here is a list of email addresses you can contact for specific NTI EN Services:

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