There’s a lot to think about after a spinal cord injury (SCI). Everyone wants to participate in their lives and regain independence. Some challenges of living with SCI can initially seem impossible. One of these is returning to work.

Image of people in wheelchair and people standing having a conversation

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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Returning to Work After a Spinal Cord Injury

Sep 28, 2016

By Abby Fitzsimmons, Senior Program Advisor, United Spinal Association

There’s a lot to think about after a spinal cord injury (SCI). Everyone wants to participate in their lives and regain independence as much as they can. Some challenges of living with SCI can initially seem impossible. One of these is returning to work. 

People in wheelchairs and two people standing having a discussionUnited Spinal Association’s Pathways to Employment (PTE) Program helps people with SCI find and build successful careers. It offers information and resources about benefits and transitioning to work. It also pairs job seekers with trained peer mentors. These mentors are people with SCIs who are or were recently employed who have experienced many of the challenges that people with SCIs go through as they search for a job.

PTE partners with employers to place PTE jobseekers in jobs. The PTE program is currently active in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. It will soon expand nationally. United Spinal works closely with each state’s vocational rehabilitation services to take advantage of existing work incentive programs, like on-the-job training and salary incentives. The Ticket to Work program is an important player in many participants’ return to work.

The PTE program gives jobseekers the chance to:

  • Interact with someone who has successfully adjusted to working with a disability;
  • Identify practical resources, benefits and work incentive programs;
  • Develop an employment plan;
  • Learn self-advocacy skills; and
  • Get reasonable accommodations

People in wheelchairs smiling at cameraEmployers who partner with the PTE program will:

  • Identify resources and make a plan for hiring people with disabilities to meet requirements of Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act;
  • Find potential employees with disabilities who want to work, are prepared to work, and have ongoing support from a mentor; and
  • Learn about resources, benefits, and available work incentive programs.

To learn more about United Spinal’s PTE program or its other resources and programs, visit www.unitedspinal.org or contact Abby Fitzsimmons at afitzsimmons@unitedspinal.org. Follow United Spinal Association on Twitter at @UnitedSpinal.

About Ticket to Work

Social Security’s Ticket to Work program supports career development for people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits (SSI or SSDI) and want to work. The Ticket program is free and voluntary. It helps people with disabilities move toward financial independence and connects them with the services and support they need to succeed in the workforce.

Learn more

To learn more about Ticket to Work, contact the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 (Voice) or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket to Work Find Help tool.