Image of Lori and Lisa smiling at the cameraLisa and Lori, who both have found success with the help of Ticket to Work, share their stories and tips about working from home. Read to find out what you should know about this accommodation and how you can take steps that may help you succeed.

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Access to Employment Support Services for Social Security Disability Beneficiaries Who Want to Work
 
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Make Working from Home Work for You

Jul 6, 2017

Image of Lori and Lisa smiling at the cameraThis month, we talked with 2 previous Ticket to Work (Ticket) program success story individuals, Lori and Lisa, to find out more about how working from home has helped their careers.

Before Lori found the Ticket program, she knew working from home was a great choice for her because it offered the flexibility and security she needed to focus on work. She would also need ongoing support, like career counseling, to make the most of her career choice. Meanwhile, Lisa, who did not have any experience working from home, wanted to give her family a financially independent future.

"Work from home gives you a more secure environment. People naturally feel more productive, secure and safe in their own home environment." — Lisa

Both women assigned their tickets to a Social Security Employment Network (EN), Employment Options, Inc. (EO). The EN helped each of them learn more about working from home, how EO could support them, and how Social Security's Work Incentives could help them work toward financial independence. EO works with clients to find work in a variety of industries and with many employers. However, Lisa and Lori both found job opportunities working directly for EO and are now financially independent.

Lori's original job through EO allowed her to work from home, but when the company closed her department, she worked with EO to find a new opportunity. Lori connected with the CEO of EO through social media and was hired as the Online Events Manager and Senior Marketing Liaison. She now helps run 2 virtual career fairs each year, organizes monthly webinars and maintains EO's website and online marketing.

Lisa was hired by EO as a Vocational Counselor. She spent several months shadowing the CEO, and now counsels people with disabilities who want to work from home.

"If you're working with an EN, you have someone to go to." — Lori

Both women agree that working from home has given them the opportunity to be successful. "Work from home gives you a more secure environment," Lisa says. "People naturally feel more productive, secure and safe in their own home environment so it offers that comfort." Lisa also explains that working from home lets you take care of yourself: "Some people may need to get up and move around. You can do that from home. No one can see you. As long as you can still take calls and be productive, no one's going to be able to tell."

Setting yourself up for success

Earlier this year, the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) offered their advice on telework, and we asked Lori and Lisa to share their own tips:

Volunteering

Lori impressed her employer with her social media posts about volunteer work with her church. Learn more about volunteering and how it can affect your job search in our blog post, Exploring Community Service as a Pathway to Employment.
  • Set up a separate workspace. Lisa suggests an office area with a door to separate your work and home life.
  • Make sure you have the right experience. You'll stand out to potential employers if you're comfortable dealing with questions, complaints and other requests by phone or online. Lori also recommends reading the job listings carefully to make sure you match the qualifications.
  • Consider onsite work to gain experience. Depending on the type of work you're interested in, it may be important to work onsite before requesting to telework. Once you've developed valuable skills, you may be able to transition to working from home.
  • Set aside time to get out of the house and interact with others. Lisa says that she tries to leave her house at least once per day for a social setting, like the gym.

About Ticket to Work

If you'd like to consider working from home, Social Security's Ticket program may be able to help. The Ticket 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, including access to service providers such as ENs.

Lisa and Lori agree that working with an EN gave them the support they needed when talking with employers. From helping with resumes and finding job listings to coaching you through requesting job accommodations, working with a Ticket service provider, like an EN, can help you find the answers to your questions.

"If you're working with an EN, you have someone to go to," Lori says. "Whether you have a scheduling issue or need to work fewer hours or need a headset or keyboard, you can talk with your EN first before you talk with your employer, and they can offer you expert advice. That support was what made the difference [for me]. I felt I always had a go-to person for benefits questions; or if I needed a new schedule, I could find out the right way to go about it."

Learn more

To learn more about the Ticket program, visit www.ssa.gov/work. You can also call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 866-968-7842 or 866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket program Find Help tool.