Cerebral Palsy Awareness logoOctober 5, 2016 is World Cerebral Palsy Day. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a complex, lifelong movement disability that can range from mild to severe. This month’s Ticket to Work News and Views feature celebrates the achievements of Shileta.

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Access to Employment Support Services for Social Security Disability Beneficiaries Who Want to Work
 
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In Honor of World Cerebral Palsy Day: Meet Shileta!

Oct 4, 2016

Cerebral Palsy Awareness logoOctober 5, 2016 is World Cerebral Palsy Day. Cerebral palsy (CP) is a complex, lifelong movement disability that can range from mild to severe. Although CP is the most common physical disability in childhood, it is widely misunderstood. Non-profit organizations around the world have responded by forming a partnership to raise awareness of CP and help people look beyond the disability.

This month’s Ticket to Work News and Views feature celebrates the achievements of Shileta. Shileta is a Ticket to Work program participant with CP who has made a career out of guiding other young people with disabilities through self-discovery and life planning. With help from Social Security’s Ticket to Work program and mentors in her own life, Shileta was able to connect her own passion for mentoring with a rewarding career.

Shileta shares her thoughts: “…the next generation of young people with disabilities is growing up. They worry about the same things I worried about… They [need] support from people who were there before them, and it is a privilege to be among the mentors who can offer them guidance.”

Shileta had been receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments since she was a girl. She was determined to earn enough money to no longer need to rely on SSI, but she needed support as she prepared to live and work independently.

Picture of ShiletaIn 2010, she connected with Full Circle Employment Solutions, a service provider dedicated to helping job-seekers with disabilities become financially independent. Hundreds of authorized providers like Full Circle offer free employment support services through Social Security’s Ticket to Work program. The Ticket program supports career development for people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and want to work. Ticket to Work providers, known as Employment Networks (ENs) or state Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies, offer a range of services to help people prepare for, find and maintain employment.

Being independent doesn’t have to mean flying solo. Shileta was glad to have Full Circle staff by her side on the road to independence. Her EN educated her about how full-time employment would affect her Social Security disability benefits, helped her understand her Ticket program responsibilities, and helped her with correspondence with Social Security. Full Circle was there to answer her questions about benefits and work as they came up. Had Shileta needed it, her EN would have helped with her job search. But she found work on her own at the end of 2011 and turned her job offer into employment success!

Shileta now works for The DC Center for Independent Living (DCCIL) as a Special Assistant. She feels at home in this organization with a philosophy that matches her passion. At DCCIL, she helps with community outreach and guides young people on the path to opportunity. Finding work also allowed Shileta to trade her SSI check for a larger paycheck.

“Ticket to Work has improved my quality of life,” she says. “I’m able to do things I wouldn’t have been able to do if I were relying on SSI. This is my paycheck! I earned it… and that leaves any person with a sense of pride, motivated to put their best foot forward… to achieve more.”

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 Work, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/work.  Or contact the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 (Voice) or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through 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.

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