5.13 Social Security Administration/Vocational Rehabilitation (SSA/VR) Ticket to Work Partnership Plus—EN Employment Advancement Payments

5.13.1 Overview

Under the Social Security Administration's Ticket to Work Partnership Plus Program, DARS and Employment Networks (ENs), as defined by the Social Security Administration (SSA), partner to provide a seamless system of service delivery that supports a consumer who receives either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments in his or her efforts toward achieving and maintaining self-supporting employment. DARS provides vocational rehabilitation services, including Job Placement or Supported Employment, if appropriate, and, after VR case closure, an EN provides ongoing job supports and services to ensure that the consumer maintains and has opportunities to advance in employment.

In order for an EN to partner with DARS under the Ticket to Work Partnership Plus option, the consumer's Ticket cannot be assigned to an EN while VR services are being provided.

DARS offers incentive payments called EN Employment Advancement Payments to DARS community rehabilitation program (CRP) providers under the following circumstances:

  • the CRP is an approved EN with the SSA;
  • DARS purchased job placement (JP) or supported employment (SE) services from the CRP-EN for the consumer, and those services resulted in a successful case closure;
  • following VR case closure, the consumer assigns his or her Ticket to the CRP-EN; or
  • for SE only, the CRP must be identified on the DARS1616, Job Stability or Service Closure Justification Summary as one of the primary providers who will help the consumer achieve an identified long-term support need.

Note: DARS EN Employment Advancement Payments are not available to the CRP-EN when the consumer decides to assign the Ticket to an EN other than the CRP-EN. In keeping with informed choice, DARS will provide the consumer with a list of all available ENs at VR case closure.

If a CRP-EN is the holder of the consumer's Ticket assignment, the Ticket must be unassigned from CRP-EN and placed in use with DARS before the CRP-EN can partner with DARS and be eligible for EN Employment Advancement payments.

5.13.2 Definitions

CRP-EN

A provider of job placement and/or supported employment services under contract with DARS in accordance with these standards, and who is also under contract with the Social Security Administration (SSA) as an Employment Network.

EN Employment Advancement Payments

Payments to those DARS CRPs who are also under contract with the SSA as an Employment Network and who partner with DARS in an effort to ensure that VR consumers participating in the SSA's Ticket to Work Program receive job retention services and other types of services that advance employment or increase earnings after the consumer's VR case is closed.

Employment Networks (ENs)

Public or private entities that enter into an agreement with the Social Security Administration to provide employment, vocational, or other support services and help Ticket holders (consumers) obtain and maintain employment.

MAXIMUS

A private organization that contracts with the SSA to help manage the Ticket to Work Program.

Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA)

A level of consumer work activity and earnings defined by the SSA that includes the following concepts:

Substantial Work

Doing significant physical or mental activities, or a combination of both (full- or part-time).

Gainful Work

Work performed for pay or profit.

SGA is increased every January 1. Go to http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/COLA/sga.html to view the current amount.

105 percent of SGA

Amount calculated by identifying the SGA from the link above and then multiplying that amount by 1.05.

Tier Level (1 or 2)

A payment level assigned by a DARS counselor to a consumer receiving job placement or supported employment services and that is used as a basis for determining the amount of an EN Employment Advancement Payment.

Ticket

A paper document that is SSA's agreement to pay an EN the agreed-upon payments under the Ticket to Work Program.

5.13.3 EN Employment Advancement Payments

DARS offers a total of two EN Employment Advancement Payments to CRP-ENs who provide ongoing support services or job retention services that advance employment or increase earnings after a consumer's VR case is closed. Services provided by the CRP-EN must help the consumer meet the following outcomes:

  1. Consumer achieves one month of gross monthly pay that meets or exceeds SGA for the year in which the income was earned. This payment is available only during the first 12 months after VR case closure; and  
  2. Consumer achieves eight of twelve consecutive months of gross monthly pay that meets or exceeds 105 percent of SGA for the year in which the pay was earned. This payment is available only during the first 18 months after the first payment.

EN Employment Advancement Payment 1

Service Description

The CRP-EN provides services necessary for the consumer to retain and advance in employment to the point that the consumer can achieve one month of gross monthly pay that meets or exceeds SGA for the year in which the income was earned. This payment is available only during the first 12 months after VR case closure. For SE only, the CRP must be identified on the DARS1616, Job Stability or Service Closure Justification Summary as one of the primary providers helping the consumer achieve an identified long-term support need outlined in the DARS1616.  

The CRP-EN must notify the VR counselor, in writing, at least 30 days before the CRP-EN anticipates that the consumer will achieve the required income level, so that appropriate service authorization and/or purchase orders may be issued.

Required Documentation

The DARS1050, Ticket to Work Partnership Plus, Employment Advancement Payment is required. The form must be signed by the job placement services or supported employment provider. Written documentation (such as a Ticket Assignment confirmation letter from MAXIMUS or SSA Form 1365 completed and signed by the consumer and CRP-EN within 30 days of the invoice) must also be provided as proof that the consumer's Ticket is currently assigned to the CRP-EN.

One of the following must be attached to the DARS1050, Ticket to Work Partnership Plus, Employment Advancement Payment to provide evidence of consumer gross earnings: