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ETA Announces Streamlined Process for Eligible Organizations to Become Employment Networks (ENs) under the Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work and Self Sufficiency (TTW) Program
Dec 7, 2012

The Employment and Training Administration has issued Training and Employment Notice (TEN) 14-12.

This TEGL announces a streamlined process for American Job Centers, state workforce agencies, and workforce investment boards to become Employment Networks (ENs) under the Social Security Administration's Ticket to Work and Self Sufficiency (TTW) program.

The TTW program is the centerpiece of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act (TWIIA) of 1999, Public Law 106-170. This program provides Social Security disability beneficiaries receiving Social Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits with incentives and options for them to enter or re-enter the world of work. It provides disability beneficiaries with choices, opportunities, and supports needed to become employed, stay employed, and increase earnings. It has the potential for eventually reducing their dependency on benefits by becoming fully self-supporting.

Most adults who receive Social Security benefits based on disability are eligible for the TTW Program. They may assign their Tickets to an Employment Network (EN) of their choice to obtain education, training, employment services, vocational rehabilitation, and other support services necessary to maximize their economic self-sufficiency through work opportunities. An EN is an entity that is approved by the SSA to serve individuals under the TTW program. Once approved eligible by SSA, an EN can accept a Ticket from any individual who qualifies for the TTW program. All individuals on SSDI and SSI between the ages of 18 and 64 qualify for the TTW program. The individual has complete choice regarding the EN to which he/she assigns his/her Ticket, and the EN has complete choice regarding which Tickets to accept. When an individual becomes employed at specified earning levels, the EN receives a series of payments from SSA linked to that individual's outcomes.

Per the TTW regulations, workforce development entities are automatically assumed to be qualified as ENs, although they must complete the WIA EN Payment Agreement. The EN Payment Agreement is limited to state workforce agencies, state workforce investment boards as established under section 111 of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA), local workforce investment boards as established under sections 116 and 117 of WIA, or One-Stop Career Centers as established under section 121(d) of WIA, branded nationally as American Job Centers. The EN Payment Agreement allows an entity to become a qualified vendor, but does not obligate the entity to provide services (i.e., it is not a contract for services). It simply allows the entity to serve individuals under the TTW Program, if the entity so chooses, and describes the terms and conditions for payments that can be expected upon the achievement of certain milestones and outcomes.

The Department of Labor (DOL) has promoted public workforce system entities becoming active ENs (i.e., accepting Tickets and receiving payment for providing services to Ticket Holders) as part of its comprehensive effort to expand the capacity of the workforce investment system to serve people with disabilities. As a result of these efforts, combined with the SSA's technical assistance efforts targeted to the public workforce system, the number of public workforce entities that are ENs has increased by over 30 percent over the last two years. Over 10 million people receive SSDI and/or SSI benefits. The workforce investment system is currently serving thousands of Social Security disability beneficiaries each year and more public workforce entities could participate in and reap the benefits of the TTW program by becoming ENs.

The TEN specifically addresses the "New Workforce Investment Act EN Payment Agreement." and targeted resources. The TEN also provides a list of targeted technical assistance resources, funded by SSA or DOL to provide information to the public workforce system, for organizations/agencies applying to become an EN, and for existing ENs.