April was Autism Awareness Month and employers are beginning to see the strengths and abilities of employees with autism.  Are you age 18 through 64 and receiving Social Security benefits due to your disability? Are you ready to go back to work or begin working for the first time? The Ticket to Work program is here to help! 

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Ticket to Work logo and The Seal of the United States Social Security Administration
Ticket to Work logo and The Seal of the United States Social Security Administration
Ticket to Work logo and The Seal of the United States Social Security Administration
Access to Employment Support Services for Social Security Disability Beneficiaries Who Want to Work
 
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Autism Awareness: Tips for Choosing a Service Provider that is Right for You

May 2, 2016

April was Autism Awareness Month and employers are beginning to see the strengths and abilities of employees with autism.  Are you age 18 through 64 and receiving Social Security benefits due to your disability? Are you ready to go back to work or begin working for the first time? The Ticket to Work program is here to help!

Social Security’s Ticket to Work program provides access to career planning, job placement and ongoing support services to help you meet your work goals.

When you decide to participate in Ticket to Work, and begin making the transition to employment, it is important to choose a Ticket to Work service provider that’s right for you.  These providers are called Employment Networks (ENs) and State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies.  Here are some things to consider when choosing one that best suits your needs:

  1. Has the provider worked with other clients who have autism? Can the provider share examples of how they helped them in their job search? 
  2. What is the provider’s specialty? Does it focus solely on helping individuals on the autism spectrum find work? Does the provider understand and have suggestions for coping with the particular challenges that people with autism may face during the job search and at work?
  3. How will they assist you in finding work?  For example, does the provider help with resume writing, interview skills, and how to ask for job accommodations related to your disability? Different providers offer different services, so it’s important to ask lots of questions.
  4. What kinds of employers (companies or nonprofits) can the provider connect you with to help you find a job? What kinds of job skills will those employers require? Do you have those skills?
  5. What kind of support will the provider offer once you start working?   Do they offer benefits counseling to help you understand the effect of earnings on your cash benefits, Medicare and/or Medicaid, housing assistance and other benefits you may receive? Will the provider help with other issues that may come up in the workplace?

Finding the right service provider is an important step.  It’s important that you feel comfortable with the provider you choose.  You should talk to as many providers as you would like before you pick one that’s right for you.  The choice is yours!

Larry, a Ticket to Work program participant with autism found a job that he enjoys and does well. In his Success Story, Larry talks about his newfound independence, confidence, and pride.

If you are ready to explore working, contact the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 (V) or 866-833-2967 (TTY) M-F 8:00 AM - 8:00 PM ET. Ask an agent to send you a list of ENs and VR agencies. You can also search for providers online using the “Find Help” tool. For more information about Social Security’s Ticket to Work program, visit www.choosework.net.