OPA: Using your Ticket to Work with Employment Networks

Using your Ticket to Work with Employment Networks

 

 

About PABSS

{Man at desk}

 

PABSS, Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security, is a federal program funded by the Social Security Administration (SSA) and administered by the Connecticut Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (P&A).  The program is designed to provide the following services to Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries:

 

ē   Information and advice about obtaining vocational rehabilitation and employment services.

ē   Advocacy and other services SSDI or SSI beneficiaries may need to secure, maintain, or regain employment.

ē   Assistance in understanding the provisions of the Ticket to Work and the Work Incentives Improvement Act.

 

P&A has prepared this booklet to answer questions about working with Employment Networks and to explain their role in the Ticket to Work Program. If you have more questions or would like additional information, call PABSS at:  (860) 297-4300 (Voice) and (860) 297-4380 (TTY)

 or, toll free CT-only  1-800-842-7303 (Voice/TTY).

 

Q. What is the Ticket to Work?

 

The Ticket to Work is a program of the Social Security Administration (SSA). It provides some people with disabilities choices about which agencies can help them get ready to go to work and find a job.  Before the Ticket To Work Program, the only option for people with disabilities who needed help preparing to work was the Department of Rehabilitation Services  (BRS) or, if legally blind, the Board of Education and Services for the Blind (BESB). Now, with the Ticket to Work Program, many people with disabilities on SSI or SSDI can also get services from a variety of vocational providers, known as Employment Networks (ENs). 

 

Q. What is an Employment Network (EN)?

 

An EN is an organization that has been certified by Maximus, the company managing the Ticket to Work Program, to provide employment services and supports to Ticket holders. A wide variety of organizations may be eligible to be ENs.  (For more information about being a Ticket holder, see our booklet, ďTicket to WorkĒ.)

 

Many organizations have been approved as ENs for Connecticut. That number will increase as more vocational service providers as ENs become aware of the program.  The largest ENs are the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services and Board of Education Services for the Blind.

 

Q. What services do ENs provide?

 

ENs can offer any number of services including:

ē         Job training;

ē         Job placement;

ē         Career strategies/job coaching;

ē         A variety of other services.

 

ENs do not have jobs waiting to be filled. Preparing to go to work takes time and effort. Donít expect to go back to work immediately upon contacting an EN. 

  

Q. What type of resources do ENs have?

 

This varies from EN to EN. Some ENs will only be able to provide direct job placements. Others, such as the state vocational rehabilitation agencies (BRS and BESB) will be able to develop an individual plan for employment (I.P.E.) that can include training, education, and the purchase of goods and services. 

 

Q. How do I find out which ENs are available to me locally?

 

Call Maximus toll free at 1-866-968-7842 (1-866-yourticket) (Voice) or 1-866-833-2967 (1-866-TDD 2WORK) (TTY) or visit their website at www.yourtickettowork.com.

 

Q. Should I expect an EN to contact me?

 

The ENs will be given the addresses of Ticket holders. Itís possible that they may call you to tell you about the services that they have available and see if you are interested. If you are curious about what an EN has to offer, it is best to contact them and not to wait.

  

Q. What should I do if I donít want ENs to contact me?   

 

Simply call Maximus (toll-free) and they will take your name off the list that ENs are given. This will stop ENs from calling you. Having your name taken off of the list in no way interferes with your ability to participate in the Ticket to Work Program; it just requires you to call the EN first.

 

Q. How do I select an EN?

 

Part of your selection process should include doing research.  You can call an EN, meet with staff, ask questions by e-mail, or visit its website.

 

Different people want different services from an EN. Find out what services an EN offers and see if it meets your needs. For example, if you need job training and an EN doesnít offer this, you should try another EN.

 

Q. Is an EN required to work with me?

 

No, the program is voluntary.  If an EN feels that they will not be able to help you return to work, they have the right to refuse your Ticket. Continue exploring ENs until you find one that meets your needs.

 

Q. Once I select an EN what happens then?

Each EN works a little bit differently, but this is what you might expect.

You and the EN will decide if you want to work together.  Depending on the EN, this will take place in person, over the phone or via e-mail.

You will develop an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).  An IPE is a written plan that specifies the services that you need to return to work. For example, the EN might agree to provide training and you might agree to go to training. After you and the EN have agreed that the IPE is workable, both you and the EN will sign it.  If you donít agree with something in the IPE, donít sign it. If this happens you should contact the PABSS program for advice and guidance.

Q. What if I donít like my Individual Plan for Employment?

 

Donít sign it. This should be a plan that is developed by you and the EN together. If you are not comfortable with something in your plan, speak up. Ask EN staff to change the parts of the plan that donít work for you.  If you continue to dislike your plan, contact PABSS for advice and guidance.

Q. What if I have a problem with my EN?

 

If you are uncomfortable with your EN, talk with the staff member who assists you with services. Clearly state what the problem is and why you are dissatisfied. Tell him or her how you would like them to fix the problem. Stay calm and try not to blame anyone. The person that you are talking to may have no control over the situation. If this doesnít work, ask to speak to the personís supervisor. If the problem still is not resolved you can contact Maximus and they will help resolve the dispute. You may also contact the PABSS program for assistance.

 

Q. What are my rights when dealing with an EN?

 

Your rights depend on which EN you choose. You should contact the PABSS program for specific information about your rights. 


QUESTIONS TO ASK

AN EMPLOYMENT NETWORK

 

Remember, as a Ticket holder, you are a consumer of EN services.  It is your responsibility to select an appropriate EN and to see that your needs are met. The following are a few examples of questions that you might ask an EN and questions you might want to ask yourself to help evaluate an ENís answers. We recommend that you also think of some questions of your own.

Question 1: Where are you located?

Ask yourself:

1.  Do I have transportation to get to the employment network or to any program or services?

2.  If not, what type of assistance do I need with transportation?

3.  How important is it to me that I have face-to-face contact with EN staff?

 

Question 2: What services do you provide?

Ask yourself:

1.      Are these the types of services that I might need?

 

Question 3: Do you provide services in person, over the phone, through the internet, or some other ways?

Ask yourself:

1.      How do I best like to receive services?

2.      What is the most convenient and effective way for me to receive services?

 

Question 4: Do you serve people with my particular needs?

  

Questions 5 and 6: When can I expect services to start? Do you have a waiting list (if a start date is undetermined)?

Ask yourself:

1.      Can this EN provide services when I want them?

 

Question 7: How much experience do you have in working with people in situations similar to mine, for example, people with the same disability, similar work experience, and/or similar educational background?

 Ask yourself:

1.      Does the EN have enough experience in working with people in my situation?

 

Question 8: If you do not have experience working with people in my particular situation, do you feel prepared to work with me?

Ask yourself:

1.   If they donít have a lot of experience in working with people in similar situations to mine, do I think that they can figure out how to meet my needs anyway?


Important Phone Numbers:

 

Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (P&A) - PABSS Program

(860) 297-4300 (Voice); (860) 297-4380 (TTY)

1-800-842-7303 (toll free Voice/TTY)

 

Department of Rehabilitation Services (BRS)

(860) 424-4844 (Voice); (860) 424-4839 (TTY)

1-800-537-2549 (toll free Voice/TTY)

 

Board of Education and Services for the Blind

(860) 602-4000 (Voice); (860) 602-4221 (TTY)

1-800-824-4510 (toll free Voice/TTY)

 

Maximus

1-866-968-7842 (Voice); 1-866-833-2967 (TTY)

 

Connect to Work

 (860) 424-4844 (Voice); (860) 424-4839 (TTY)

 1-800-773-4636 (toll free Voice/TTY)

 

Connect to Work is a Benefits Planning Program established by the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services to support the competitive employment of persons with disabilities.  Staff provide information and technical assistance on benefits and services that an individual may encounter when entering or retaining employment.  The staff can help you understand how working will affect your social security benefits and state assistance.

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Content Last Modified on 11/26/2014 9:23:22 AM