News From Our Blog

Ticket to Work: Advancing Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities

By the Ticket to Work Team

July 26th marks the 23rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This landmark civil rights legislation guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, transportation and telecommunications.

With respect to employment, the ADA assures that people with disabilities have an equal chance to become and stay employed in two key ways:

  • It prohibits employers from discriminating against anyone on the basis of disability in their hiring or employment practices.  

  • It holds employers responsible for providing workers with disabilities reasonable accommodations in the workplace.

The unemployment rate for people with disabilities continues to decrease, and government programs, like Ticket to Work, may be the answer for those individuals who receive Social Security disability benefits but want to make more money through work.

In 1999, the Ticket to Work program was established to advance employment opportunities for Social Security beneficiaries with disabilities.  The program, along with special rules called Work Incentives, provide support and resources to help with the transition from disability benefits to employment and financial independence. Since the passage of the ADA, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has been the primary authority on investigating and enforcing ADA protections.  

To celebrate the anniversary of the ADA, the EEOC will join Ticket to Work to host a national Work Incentive Seminar Event (WISE) Webinar about disability rights in the workplace on Wednesday, July 24th at 3 p.m. EDT.  The WISE webinar,“Ticket to Work and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities,” will explain the EEOC’s role in enforcing employment laws, the protections of the ADA, and Ticket to Work and Work Incentives career development and support services.

The event is free and you may register online or by phone at 1-866-968-7842 (V) or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY)!

Following the event, we will host a Facebook Questions and Answers (Q&A) session and you will have a chance to have your questions answered by the experts.

Image description: The National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic is the worlds largest learn-to-ski, adaptive winter sports rehabilitative event for U.S. military service veterans.
The clinic’s purpose is to motivate veterans with traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, orthopedic amputations, visual impairments, certain neurological problems and other disabilities to live life to the fullest. The clinic, sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Disabled American Veterans took place in Snowmass, Colo. from March 31 - April 5.
Photo from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Image description: The National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic is the worlds largest learn-to-ski, adaptive winter sports rehabilitative event for U.S. military service veterans.

The clinic’s purpose is to motivate veterans with traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, orthopedic amputations, visual impairments, certain neurological problems and other disabilities to live life to the fullest. The clinic, sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Disabled American Veterans took place in Snowmass, Colo. from March 31 - April 5.

Photo from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Disability Income Insurance

Most of us don’t really like to think about events like disabling illness or injury. Let’s face it, who wants to think about such bad things? However, we all owe it to ourselves and our families to take a little bit of time out of our busy lives to think about what we would do should a “what if” scenario occur. We all need to determine what resources we would have to keep paying our bills and maintaining our lifestyles.

Disability insurance can come in 3 forms:

  • Government-sponsored programs like workman’s compensation or Social Security Disability Insurance;
  • Private employer-sponsored group disability plans that may cover short-term, long-term, or a combination of coverage; and
  • Private individual disability income policies that guarantee income when there isn’t enough coverage from employer or government sponsored programs.

How many of us know exactly where we stand in terms of benefits should a disabling event occur? We can all look at our Social Security statements to see what monthly disability income we would get. For most of us, this amount would not cover all of our normal expenditures.

If you are employed, check with your employer to see if you have disability income coverage. If you do, find out:

  • What benefits would be available to you
  • How long after the start of a disability you would have to wait before benefits begin
  • How long payments would continue
  • If your employer’s plan takes other disability coverage (such as government programs) into account
  • If your long-term disability benefit is subject to a maximum amount you can receive

You can find most of the answers by asking for a booklet describing the disability coverage your company offers.

These resources that can help you determine how much coverage you have and whether you need additional coverage:

The other thing to keep in mind, it may take a while for disability insurance to begin. You should always have some money saved for emergencies.