Social Security Column: Social Security can help you start or return to work

Published 11:00 pm Monday, January 3, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Lisa Wallace, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist in North Carolina

If you rely on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and want to start or return to work, we can help.

Ticket to Work (Ticket) is a program that supports career development for SSDI beneficiaries and SSI recipients who want to work and progress toward financial independence. The Ticket program is free and voluntary. Learn more about the Ticket to Work program at or call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.

Get the latest headlines sent to you

In addition to the Ticket to Work program, the Plan for Achieving Self-Support (PASS) program also helps people with disabilities return to work. A PASS allows you to set aside resources and other income besides your SSI for a specified period. With a PASS, you can pursue a work goal that will reduce or eliminate your need for SSI or SSDI benefits.

How does a PASS help someone return to work?

  • We base SSI eligibility and payment amounts on income and resources (items of value that the person owns).
  • PASS lets a person with a disability set aside money and items they own to pay for items or services needed to achieve a specific work goal.
  • The objective of the PASS is to help people with disabilities find employment that reduces or eliminates the need for SSI or SSDI benefits.

You can read all about the PASS program at

The PASS must be in writing and we must approve the plan. To start, contact your local PASS Cadre or local Social Security office for an application (Form SSA-545-BK). You can also access the form at  Ticket to Work service providers, vocational counselors, or a representative or relative can help you write a PASS.

For more information about PASS, read The Red Book – A Guide to Work Incentives at

Your job isn’t just a source of income — it can be a vehicle to independence or the beginning step to fulfilling your dreams.  Let our Ticket to Work program or PASS program help you achieve your goals.