Questions and Answers
AAATakeCharge is ranked first in the country in Ticket Payments earned from the Social Security Administration. Read these FAQs to learn why.
- How can TakeCharge help me?
- How much cash can I receive from TakeCharge?
- Are there restrictions on how I can spend the Work Support Payments I receive?
- Must I provide AAATakeCharge with receipts to prove how I spend the Work Support Payments?
- Will the Social Security Administration make Ticket Payments directly to me?
- This sounds almost too good to be true. How can I be sure that AAATakeCharge will really pay me the Work Support Payments described above?
- How do I sign up to receive payments from AAATakeCharge?
- What is the counseling part of the cash and counseling model?
- How will my work earnings impact my SSDI or SSI monthly check?
- How does SSA view AAATakeCharge work support payments when determining SSI or SSDI benefits?
- Can I switch to AAATakeCharge Employment Network if I have already assigned my Ticket over to another Employment Network or to a State VR agency?
- Where can I find more information about the Ticket to Work program?
- I'm already a client of AAATakeCharge and I've just started work, what should I do next?
- Why are my work support payments from AAATakeCharge tax-free?
- Does AAATakeCharge look at pay period dates or pay dates when reviewing my earnings evidence?
- Does AAATakeCharge look at gross income or net income?
- Does TakeCharge accept Self Employment Income?
Read Before Signing Up
How can TakeCharge help me?
AAATakeCharge operates with a unique cash and counseling model. AAATakeCharge provides counseling to help you make wise job search decisions and we provide cash once you are working. The cash allows you to buy the goods and services you need to stay employed or advance in your career. See #2 and #3 below for details on how much cash you can receive and what you can spend it on. See #8 below for more details on our counseling and job placement assistance.
How much cash can I receive from TakeCharge?
You can receive up to $12,900 from AAATakeCharge tax free if you manage to go off of SSA benefits due to your work earnings.
Click here for a Payment Chart listing the amounts and timing of Payments.
Are there restrictions on how I can spend the Work Support Payments I receive?
Yes. You must spend the cash on products and services that help you remain in the workforce. Examples include transportation costs such as car repairs, purchase of a car, gas, bus or train expenses, personal care assistance, business/work related clothing, training/education, job coaching, self employment expenses, computer/cell phone expenses, child/elder care, health care, or other disability related supports. Almost any reasonable expense that will help you remain employed or allow you to advance in your career will qualify.
Must I provide AAATakeCharge with receipts to prove how I spend the Work Support Payments?
AAATakeCharge will require you to periodically complete a form indicating the categories of goods and services on which you are spending your Work Support Payments. Receipts are not required but you should keep them in the event you are ever audited by the IRS. Work Support Payments from AAATakeCharge are tax free—as long as you spend them on goods and services that help you remain employed and are consistent with the Individualized Work Plan and Contract (IWP) that you sign with AAATakeCharge. Work Support Payments may never be used as a wage supplement.
Will the Social Security Administration make Ticket Payments directly to me?
No. The Ticket-to-Work program is structured such that the Social Security Administration (SSA) will only make payments to Employment Networks based on the work outcomes achieved by the individual Ticket holder. AAATakeCharge splits the SSA Ticket payments with clients. Of the payments AAATakeCharge receives from SSA for a given client, a portion of the money is passed back to the client in the form of Work Support Payments.
Please note: Work Support Payments are paid to you by AAATakeCharge, not SSA. Any questions about the terms and conditions of the arrangement, including the status of payments due, should be directed to AAATakeCharge, not SSA.
This sounds almost too good to be true. How can I be sure that AAATakeCharge will really pay me the Work Support Payments described above?
You can call the SSA Ticket-to-Work program at 1-877-743-8237 to verify that AAATakeCharge has been a SSA approved EN in good standing for the past 12 years. In fact, as a result of the popularity of our unique cash and counseling model, AAATakeCharge has earned more Ticket Payments than any other Employment Network in the country. An approved AAATakeCharge IWP constitutes our contract with you. As long as SSA makes payments to TakeCharge as a result of your work earnings, then we guarantee that a portion of those Ticket payments will go to you as Work Support Payments.
How do I sign up to receive payments from AAATakeCharge?
You must complete the Individualized Work Plan and Contract (IWP) form and mail it to us. Click here to access the IWP.
The IWP is a written agreement that will be signed by you and by a representative from AAATakeCharge. It will describe the employment related services that AAATakeCharge will provide to you. Once you submit the IWP form, AAATakeCharge will contact you by phone to conduct a one-on-one discussion. This counseling session is to discuss your employment goals and the short and long term supports that you need to reach those goals. This is a collaborative process as we want to ensure we can help you with job acquisition and success in achieving and maintaining your self-sufficiency through work. If either individually or together we come to the conclusion that AAATakeCharge is not the best option for you, we will suggest alternative ways of obtaining the support you need.
Please Note: The date that your one-on-one counseling is conducted will be the date that a representative from AAATakeCharge will sign your IWP and will also count as your date of Ticket assignment. We cannot process your IWP nor will SSA actually assign your ticket until you have had a one-on-one conversation with an AAATakeCharge representative and we've mutually agreed the IWP makes sense for you.
What is the counseling part of the cash and counseling model?
Counseling begins with our initial telephone call as we review your IWP and discuss your career goals and the supports you need to achieve your goal. We will review the ways in which AAATakeCharge can help you with tasks such as resume preparation, your job search strategy and tips on handling job interviews. In addition we will discuss how AAATakeCharge works and what you need to do to trigger your work support payments. On an ongoing basis AAATakeCharge will contact you every three months to ask if you have the resources necessary to pursue your vocational goals and that you are working towards self sufficiency. If you so request, we will counsel you on ways to advance in your career or refer you to experts in matters related to disability accommodations, legal rights, Social Security benefits or other resources that may be of help to you.
Our staff will also be able to assist you with any questions related to collecting your Work Support Payments as quickly and easily as possible. Our office is open Monday through Friday, 8:30a.m – 4:30p.m. central time. Depending upon your needs a general staff person may be able to address you concerns or they can schedule a time for you to talk with someone who can help you.
How will my work earnings impact my SSDI or SSI monthly check?
The best, most detailed, explanation on how work will impact your benefits is provided by SSA in their Redbook on Work Incentives. Just go to www.ssa.gov/redbook to access the information online.
You may be pleasantly surprised at how far SSA goes in trying to make you feel comfortable about trying work.
If you still have questions once you have read the Redbook on Work Incentives call your local Social Security Office and ask to speak to someone familiar with work incentives for people receiving SSI or SSDI.
How does SSA view AAATakeCharge work support payments when determining SSI or SSDI benefits?
AAATakeCharge work support payments have no impact on SSDI benefits. Usually the Work Support Payments have no impact on SSI benefits as well. But there are exceptions. For SSI recipients, SSA considers the work support payments unearned income. Therefore, the work support payments are counted in the monthly income of the recipient and can alter the amount the recipient receives in SSI benefits. If the SSI recipient is already earning an amount from work that has caused the SSI check to drop to zero, then TakeCharge payments have no impact, except if he or she wants to start receiving benefits again.
Can I switch to AAATakeCharge Employment Network if I have already assigned my Ticket over to another Employment Network or to a State VR agency?
Yes. But depending upon the amount of help that your state VR agency or the other Employment Network already gave you, Maximus, the contractor who Social Security hired to administer the Ticket Program, may decide that some percentage of your initial Ticket payments should still go to the original agency. Maximus makes these decisions on a case-by-case basis. You will still receive a portion of whatever amount TakeCharge receives for your Ticket. If you are not certain of the status of your Ticket call Maximus at 1-877-743-8237 and ask.
Ticket Holders are only allowed to work with one EN or state VR agency at a time. If your ticket has been assigned to AAATakeCharge then you cannot work with your state VR agency unless you first un-assign your ticket from AAATakeCharge. On the other hand, if you want to switch your Ticket from your state VR agency, you must first initiate a request to your state VR agency to close your case—which is your right to do so at any time. Once your VR case is closed you can assign your Ticket to AAATakeCharge.
If you decide to switch your Ticket you must complete the TakeCharge application AND send it to us with a note to Maximus. The note should say: "I, _(your name)__ want to un-assign my Ticket from __(name of current EN or VR agency)__ and re-assign it to AAATakeCharge. Sign and date your note. We will submit the note to Maximus with your TakeCharge application.
Where can I find more information about the Ticket to Work program?
For an overview of the entire Ticket to Work program please visit www.choosework.net or to talk with a live agent at Maximus who can answer questions about the Ticket to Work program or refer you to experts who can, call: 1-866-968-7842.
I'm already a client of AAATakeCharge and I've just started work, what should I do next?
Contact your local Social Security office if you have not already done so and tell them about your work activity. You must also complete the TakeCharge Payment Request Form and mail it to us with copies of your pay slips. We will mail a Payment Request Form to you once we receive your application to become a client. You can also find this form on our website in the "Collect Payments" section.
Why are my work support payments from AAATakeCharge tax-free?
In the IRS Publication 525, Taxable and Nontaxable Income, under a section titled "Persons with Disabilities", the IRS states," you do not include in income the value of goods, services, and cash that you receive, not in return for your services, but for your training and rehabilitation because you have a disability".
The payments AAATakeCharge makes to you ARE to assist with your on-going rehabilitation and efforts to remain in the workforce despite the fact that you have a disability.
Does AAATakeCharge look at pay period dates or pay dates when reviewing my earnings evidence?
When requesting payments SSA has instructed AAATakeCharge to calculate earnings based on the pay period dates when the client is a SSDI beneficiary. AAATakeCharge is also instructed to calculate the earnings based on pay dates when the client is a SSI beneficiary. It's important to ensure pay period dates, pay dates, gross earnings and FICA tax amounts are on your pay statements and are legible. If this information is not listed on your pay statements you will be provided with a list of alternative ways to report your earnings to TakeCharge.
Does AAATakeCharge look at gross income or net income?
All Payment Requests are processed based on your gross earnings (earnings before taxes). Net income is only used when the client is self employed.
Does TakeCharge accept Self Employment Income?
Yes, but the processing time of Self Employment earnings can take up to a year if the local Social Security office does not verify the earnings each month. For further information about Self Employment Income please request a copy of the Self Employment Income Form or see the Self Employment Income form posted in the "Collect Payments" section of our website.