Meet Jesus

This month’s News and Views feature celebrates the achievements of Jesus, a Ticket to Work program participant whose passion to “pay forward” the support he had growing up with Spina Bifida led him to a career in public service.

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Access to Employment Support Services for Social Security Disability Beneficiaries Who Want to Work
 
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Celebrating Spina Bifida Awareness Month: Meet Jesus!

Oct 31, 2016

Meet JesusOctober is Spina Bifida Awareness Month. The Spina Bifida Association (SBA) is calling for a celebration of the many achievements of those in the Spina Bifida community. Spina Bifida is a rare congenital disorder that happens during pregnancy, when the baby’s spinal cord does not develop or close properly. Every day, about eight babies born in the United States have Spina Bifida or a similar birth defect of the brain and spine.

This month’s Ticket to Work News and Views feature celebrates the achievements of Jesus. Jesus is a Ticket to Work program participant whose passion to “pay forward” the support he had growing up with Spina Bifida led him to a career in public service. With help from Social Security’s Ticket to Work program and other mentors in his life, Jesus was able to see his professional potential.

“I saw that my physical limitations would not necessarily prevent me from finding meaningful employment,” he recalls. “I listened to other people [like me] tell their stories about how they achieved their educational and [work] goals through volunteer work and other experiences... [and] I was inspired.”

Jesus began to discover what he was capable of when he moved out of his parents’ home for the first time in 2012. He lived on campus at the University of California at Riverside, developed an intense interest in the social sciences, and experienced a sense of independence he had never known.

After he graduated, Jesus felt he needed help with the transition to the next chapter in his career. He found it in 2014 with Ticket to Work. Jesus connected with an EN called Career Connection that could provide the personalized guidance he needed. Together, they worked on a plan to help him achieve his employment goals.

Jesus’ EN also helped him understand what full-time employment would mean for his disability benefits. With the EN’s assistance, he landed a federal job through Schedule A. Schedule A is a non-competitive hiring authority available for federal agencies to hire and promote workers with disabilities. By using Schedule A to fill a vacancy, a federal government agency like the Social Security Administration (SSA) can avoid using the traditional—and often lengthy—competitive hiring process. In 2016, Jesus was hired as a Service Representative for an SSA field office in California. He enjoys helping people get the resources they need and looks forward to progressing along a new learning curve.

“Work has helped me expand my social circles and my support network as well. I am very happy knowing that I can be independent, achieve the goals I set for myself, and I’m more confident every day. The Ticket to Work program… helped me find my way to work at my own pace, and I’m grateful for that.”

To read about others like him with valuable experiences to share, check out Ticket to Work Success Stories!

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 http://www.socialsecurity.gov/work and 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.

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