Information and Programs
Using programs such as Selective Placement and Ticket to Work, SSA selects qualified individuals with disabilities for positions that maximize their talents. With many diverse career fields available, you can find fulfilling work and professional growth. Social Security provides reasonable accommodations to people with disabilities so that they may perform their duties successfully.
People with disabilities may be considered for employment through the competitive hiring process or in some circumstances, under the Schedule A hiring authority. Individuals that may fall under this special hiring authority include persons with intellectual disabilities, severe physical disabilities, or psychiatric disabilities. In these cases, an agency may make a permanent, temporary, or time-limited appointment.
For consideration under the Schedule A hiring authority, send your resume and proof of disability along with a statement of your geographic area of job interest to the Selective Placement Coordinator (scroll down to Social Security Administration section) in your region. For Proof of Disability, we accept appropriate documentation (e.g., records, statements, or other appropriate information) issued from a licensed medical professional (e.g., a physician or other medical professional duly certified by a State, the District of Columbia, or a U.S. territory, to practice medicine); a licensed vocational rehabilitation specialist (i.e., State or private); or any Federal agency, State agency, or an agency of the District of Columbia or a U.S. territory that issues or provides disability benefits.
Disabled veterans may also be considered under special hiring programs for disabled veterans with disability ratings from the Department of Veterans Affairs of 30 percent or more. If you are a veteran with a disability and are interested in applying for employment under special hiring programs, please contact us at DCHR.OPE.Veterans.Employment@ssa.gov.
The Ticket to Work (TTW) Program provides most people receiving Social Security benefits more choices for receiving employment services. It is a voluntary employment program designed for people who receive Social Security disability benefits and want to work. The goal of the program is to increase self-sufficiency for beneficiaries with disabilities and increase their opportunities and choices through employment, vocational rehabilitation, and other support services.
Under this program, Social Security issues tickets to eligible beneficiaries who may choose to assign those tickets to an Employment Network (EN) of their choice to obtain employment services, vocational rehabilitation services, or other support services needed to achieve a vocational goal. The EN, if they accept the ticket, will coordinate and provide appropriate services to help the beneficiary find and maintain employment.
The Ticket to Work Program is available to current beneficiaries of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) age 18 through 64 and to current beneficiaries of Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits age 18 through 64.
- Employment: Social Security issues beneficiaries a ticket that may be used to obtain employment support services from an expanded pool of employment providers called Employment Networks (EN). An EN is an organization (State or local, public or private) that enters into a contract with Social Security with the intention of coordinating and delivering employment services, VR services, and/or other support services under the Ticket to Work Program. These services are provided by the EN to Social Security beneficiaries who have assigned their Tickets to the EN which has accepted the Ticket. An EN may not charge a person for services provided. Beneficiaries who choose to work with an EN, including a state VR agency, may be exempt from initiation of a medical continuing disability review, if they are meeting certain goals toward becoming economically self-sufficient.
- Vocational Rehabilitation (VR): Social Security provides funding to State VR agencies to support them in their efforts to help prepare people with disabilities for jobs and teach job skills. In their partnership with Social Security, the services State VRs provide must result in the individual’s return to work for at least nine continuous months at a substantial earnings level as determined by Social Security.
- Private and Public Support Service Providers: The TTW program is meant to encourage partnerships and opportunities for meaningful cooperation between agencies which assist people with disabilities to work. A person with a Ticket may choose between being served by a provider approved by SSA to function as an EN or being served by the State VR agency.
Work incentives help beneficiaries remove barriers to work by offering support services and providing a safety net to assist beneficiaries in finding meaningful employment and succeeding in the workplace.
Examples of work incentives are the delay of Continuing Disability Reviews (CDRs) while using a Ticket, extended Medicare while working, and expedited reinstatement of benefits for those who may not be able to continue their work efforts.
- Beneficiaries can choose to use their Ticket because the TTW program is free and voluntary
- There is no need to worry if a Ticket is lost since the actual Ticket is not required to participate
- The TTW program helps people to access vocational rehabilitation, training, and placement services
- A combination of work incentives can be used to explore work options and still receive benefits
- If a work attempt is unsuccessful, beneficiaries can get back on Social Security benefits
A reasonable accommodation is any modification or adjustment to a job or change in the work environment that enables a person with a disability to compete equally or perform the essential functions of the position. Reasonable accommodation also includes adjustments to assure that a person with a disability has equal benefits and privileges of employment enjoyed by other similarly situated employees without disabilities. The accommodation must be job related and not for personal use (e.g. hearing aids, prosthetic devices, wheelchairs, and transportation to work).
- A request for reasonable accommodation can be verbal or in writing.
- The need for reasonable accommodation is determined on a case-by-case basis, considering the following: the individual’s specific disability and existing limitations to the performance of a job function, the essential duties of the job, the work environment, and the feasibility of the proposed accommodation.
- Medical documentation may be needed to support a request. If so, the documentation should include information necessary to establish the existence of a disability and the medical basis for a reasonable accommodation. The SSA Medical Office is available to provide medical opinions on evidence submitted in support of a reasonable accommodation request.
- Effective communication is crucial. The employee and the manager must engage in an interactive discussion to clearly identify the nature of the employee’s limitation and what form of accommodation might be necessary.
- Assistive Technology – Such as screen reader software; screen magnification software; voice recognition software; refreshable Braille display; Braille translation software; Braille embosser; optical character recognition (OCR) software; integrated TTY/modem software; specialized keyboard/pointing devices; supplemental devices which meet a variety of needs to improve accessibility (e.g. Braille/voice notetaker, telephone amplification device, OCR scanner, document magnification device).
- Readers and Assistants – Some employees with visual and mobility impairments may need a reader or personal assistant to help them perform essential job functions.
- Interpreter Services – Interpreter services for deaf and hard of hearing employees are available for many situations such as training classes, meetings, job interviews, and other events where interpreters are needed to facilitate communication.
- Specialized Training on the Use of Assistive Devices – Expert training is provided to ensure that employees achieve and maintain a high level of proficiency. Training on the use of assistive devices should be provided prior to the employee's entry level programmatic training.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the types of positions within Social Security?
SSA has a wide variety of positions available. For more information, please explore our Career Paths on the Careers home page.
What is the Ticket to Work program?
Ticket to Work is a voluntary employment program for individuals receiving Social Security and/or SSI disability benefits who are interested in working. Participants of this program can receive assistance from a service provider and also use a number of work incentives as they explore work options while still receiving disability benefits.
How does a person with a disability apply for Federal jobs?
In addition to going to www.usajobs.gov and researching jobs for which they wish to apply, an individual may also contact an agency Selective Placement Coordinator to find out if they qualify for the Schedule A Excepted Service authority. Special programs or authorities exist for veterans, students, and ticket holders.
As an individual with a severe physical disability, what documentation must I provide when applying for a job?
If an individual competes for an appointment through the regular application process just as most non-disabled applicants must do, then no documentation is required beyond what is outlined in the vacancy announcement. Individuals with intellectual disabilities, severe physical disabilities, or psychiatric disabilities may also be eligible for consideration under the Schedule A hiring authority where, if eligible, he or she may be appointed non-competitively. To qualify for employment under the Schedule A hiring authority, a person must have proof of his/her disability.
Do disabled veterans receive any special consideration when applying for Federal jobs?
Yes, disabled veterans may qualify for a non-competitive appointment under the Veterans’ Recruitment Appointment authority. If a veteran has a disability rating of 30 percent or more, he or she may also be eligible for appointment under the 30 Percent or More Disabled Veterans appointment authority. If a disabled veteran competes for an appointment through the regular application process just as most non-disabled applicants must do, they may receive preference in the hiring process by submitting the service records and disability documentation outlined in the vacancy announcement.
Can college students apply for positions in Federal service?
Yes, there are several student programs. We also suggest students contact their school’s disability services or career services coordinator for information on the Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities. Please select Students & Recent Graduates for more information on this topic.
Is an agency required to provide a reasonable accommodation to an employee?
Yes, an individual is entitled to an accommodation if he or she is a qualified individual with a disability, the accommodation is needed to do the essential functions of the position, and the accommodation is reasonable.
Has Social Security successfully employed people with disabilities?
Yes, we have successfully employed people with disabilities for many years. See our Success Stories section on this page to learn more about how fulfilling a career can be with SSA!