by Peter Travisano, NENA Director
Manager, University of Massachusetts Medical School AEN
Administrative Employment Networks
We all know that the Ticket to Work program is complex and administering it requires significant time and expertise. Organizations that provide employment supports to individuals who receive disability benefits sometimes feel it is more than they can successfully manage. That’s where Administrative Employment Networks (AEN) can help! AENs can ease the administrative burden related to the Ticket to Work program, help partnering organizations generate payments and free them to do what they do best, help individuals with disabilities achieve their employment goals.
What is an AEN?
An Administrative Employment Network (AEN) is an EN of record helping partnering organizations participate in the Ticket to Work Program. The AEN assumes responsibility for ensuring that all requirements of the Ticket to Work program are met. Partners are organizations or individuals who provide vocational supports to SSI and/or SSDI beneficiaries. The EN of record assigns the Tickets, administers the program, and requests/tracks payments from Social Security, while the partner provides the employment services and other supports. The AEN and partner negotiate a formal agreement or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that details the responsibilities of each and how the revenue generated by Milestone/Outcome Payments is shared. This type of arrangement may also be attractive to existing ENs who lack the resources to administer their Ticket program or need extra mentoring to build their program capabilities. The EN of Record must ensure that the administration and services provided by the partner meet the requirements of their formal agreement (Blanket Purchase Agreement) with Social Security.
Administrative EN Models
The following models are currently recognized by Social Security:
- Private-Sector Administrative EN Model:
A private for-profit or non-profit organization functions as the EN of Record and provides administrative support for Ticket operations through an agreement with affiliate partners, other providers and/or individuals.
- State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Agency Administrative EN Model:
A State VR agency secures Ticket assignments and functions as the EN of Record, providing administrative support for Ticket operations through an agreement with VR vendors (EN and/or non-EN service providers) that typically provide employment service or other supports to VR consumers.
- Public-Sector Workforce Agency Administrative EN Model:
The State Workforce agency, the State Workforce Development Board (SWDB) or a Local Workforce Development Board (LWDB) functions as the EN of Record and provides administrative support for Ticket operations through an agreement with other workforce entities (e.g., American Job Centers) and/or community partners that provide employment services and other supports.
- State Agency Administrative EN Model:
A State agency (e.g., the State Mental Health agency or the State Developmental Disabilities agency) functions as the EN of Record and provides administrative support for Ticket operations through an agreement with other state entities, affiliate organizations, EN providers, non-EN providers and/or other community partners qualified to provide appropriate employment services and other supports.
The administrative functions of an AEN may include:
- Beneficiary assignment and the submission of IWPs to SSA
- Submission of payment requests to SSA
- Serving as the point of contact to manage annual IWP and COS reviews
- Help with Suitability Clearance and PII related questions
Administrative ENs can also provide additional services for their partnering organizations. These may include Work Incentives & Benefits Counseling for beneficiaries whose Tickets are assigned to the EN of Record. They may also include Incubator and mentoring services for qualified non-EN affiliates to explore service provision under the Ticket program without becoming ENs. The partnering organization may choose to become an EN at a later date.
A note about DUNS numbers
Social Security recently started requiring ENs that want to serve as Administrative ENs to obtain a different DUNS# and establish that EN as a separate entity in Social Security’s system. This is true of any EN that wants to provide services under more than one model. The Ticket Program Manager (TPM) can provide additional information on this process.
To learn more about Administrative Employment Networks visit Social Security’s Ticket to Work webpage.