Selecting a Payment System
When applying to become an Employment Network (EN) by responding to the Request for Application (RFA), a perspective EN must elect a payment system for its first year of operation. Once an organization is awarded a Ticket Program Agreement (TPA) to operate as an EN, it can make one change to its elected payment system at any time during each calendar year. Any change in the elected EN payment system applies to all Tickets assigned after the change becomes effective. All beneficiaries previously accepted for services remain under the prior payment system.
Experience has shown that the Outcome Payment System is used mostly by ENs with demonstrated success in placing individuals with disabilities in full-time and/or higher paying jobs. These beneficiaries are often higher functioning, have some educational background, and/or have some or significant work experience.
Most ENs choose to operate under the Milestone/Outcome Payment System for a number of reasons.
- The Ticket to Work program (Ticket program) is an outcome-based program. ENs must use other sources of funding to support the provision of services until beneficiaries receiving services earn enough to generate Ticket payments to the EN. For most ENs, no Ticket revenue is received during a start-up period of several months. This start-up period can be much longer for ENs using the Outcome Payment System.
- ENs can qualify for Milestone payments while beneficiaries are still receiving monthly disability benefits. ENs therefore get paid earlier in the beneficiary's journey to economic self-support.
- Milestones are payable based on the "gross" earnings of beneficiaries. This means that ENs can receive payments while beneficiaries are using Social Security work incentives to reduce their countable income to remain on cash benefits longer. Learn more about work incentives:
- Download the Social Security Red Book.
- Visit the Social Security Work Site and click on "Learn more about how to get started making these choices" just above the map of the United States and then on "Work Incentives" in the left navigation.
- Visit the Choose Work website and click on "WISE Webinars" to sign up for upcoming webinars or watch archived Work Incentive Seminar Events.
The Milestone/Outcome payment system is generally more appropriate for ENs serving beneficiaries with more significant disabilities or functional limitations, with limited education, and/or with little or no work history.