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125 N. Main St., Rear 
Bel Air, Maryland 21014
Tel: 410.803.8726
Fax: 410.803.8732

You are here: Programs and Services : Maryland Employment Network : Frequently Asked Questions

Call our toll-free telephone line

How much can I work when I receive Social Security disability benefits?

Will I lose my health coverage if I go to work?

What if I go to work and then my disability gets worse?

Consumers, families, advocates and professionals:

Do you have questions about Social Security’s work incentives and safety nets?

We open our toll-free telephone line on Mondays from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. and on Thursdays from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. to anyone. Call 1-855-384-2844.

You will speak with Shannon Smiles, a Certified Work Incentive Coordinator (CWIC).

This is a free, confidential service to help you make informed choices about going to work.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why does Social Security offer the Ticket to Work program?

    Many people with disabilities want to work. Working can increase your income and help you live and work more independently.

    The Social Security Administration developed the Ticket to Work Program to help people go to work without fear of their benefits stopping before they are ready.

  2. How will working increase my income?

    Most people who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits average $1,065 per month. In Maryland, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) checks are about $674.00. Working can increase your monthly income, build savings and improve quality of life.

  3. female working at computerSo I’ll lose my benefits, right?

    The Ticket to Work program is about choice. If you decide to move from public benefits to employment, you can work with a benefits counselor who will look at your particular circumstances and help you protect your benefits until you are ready to be completely independent.

    If your disability worsens or if you decide you are no longer able to work, Social Security has built-in protections that can help you maintain your benefits and medical coverage.

  4. How do I know I can work with a serious mental illness?

    Many people who have symptoms of mental illness are working. There are employers who are willing to give people a chance. The staff at the community program you choose will talk with you about your job interests and abilities. They will help you decide what support you will need to be successful. Most people who have a history of mental illness can work with a job coach.

  5. What is a job coach?

    Job coaches work with people who need support to obtain and keep a job. Job coaches can meet with you on the job while you are in training and throughout your employment. If you prefer, they can meet with you away from the job site. The community agency can arrange for you to have a job coach.

  6. What happens if I try to work, but my disability gets worse?

    SSA has built-in protections so that you can 1) continue to get your benefits while you are working 2) get you benefits reinstated if you are no longer able to work due to your disability. The benefits counselor can give you more details about your particular circumstances.

  7. Who can participate in the Ticket to Work program?

    People who receive Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and who are between the ages of 18 – 64 can take part in the Ticket to work’s free back-to-work services.