Banner image for International Day of Persons with Disabilities featuring Ben and friends with disabilitiesIn recognition of this month's International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we take a look at 3 individuals who found the support and services they needed through the Ticket to Work program to pursue financial independence through work. Discover how the Ticket program helped them succeed.

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Access to Employment Support Services for Social Security Disability Beneficiaries Who Want to Work
 
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To Financial Independence and Changed Lives

Dec 6, 2018

Banner image for International Day of Persons with Disabilities featuring Ben and friends with disabilitiesThe United Nations' International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3 recognized the value of inclusion and equality in every aspect of a person's life. This year's theme was Empowering Persons with Disabilities and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality. In recognition of this global observance, meet 3 people who found the support they needed through Social Security's Ticket to Work (Ticket) program and became empowered to make choices about work that have changed their personal and professional lives.

Amy

Amy smilingAmy, who has a developmental disability, always hoped to find her place in the working world. Now she has. As a member of Montgomery County's Department of Finance Treasury division team, Amy finds satisfaction in contributing to her team's work and feels a sense of accomplishment as she performs a variety of tasks, including sorting, logging and distributing mail and other responsibilities, and enjoys the community of the workplace.

When Amy finished high school, her State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency helped her find an internship opportunity with Project SEARCH, an organization that helps place young adults with developmental disabilities in competitive internships. After her internship was done, Amy had earned herself a job offer with Montgomery County, the same place where she interned.

Because her State VR case was closing, Amy connected with a Ticket program Employment Network (EN), Full Circle, and their partner provider, SEEC. SEEC is an organization that works with people with developmental disabilities to develop independent-living and work skills. Now that she's working, Full Circle staff check on Amy regularly to help her stay organized, correspond with Social Security and address any job-related issues that arise. SEEC also works with her to provide career counseling and help her continue to develop soft skills for work and independent living.

Amy's employment allows her to contribute professionally, find acceptance from her peers and become financially independent — her dreams fulfilled.

Laura

Laura smilingFor Laura, a turning point in her life came through the supportive relationship she developed with Angela, the prosthetist who designed and fitted her prosthetic leg. As an adolescent, Laura experienced cancer, which led to her leg being amputated. She recalled seeing in Angela — someone who also had a limb loss — everything she wanted, including a family. She noted that Angela did not let her amputation distract her from achieving goals and admired her for it. Angela helped Laura navigate through multiple obstacles — mechanical, aesthetic, social and emotional. Angela also connected Laura to supportive communities that helped her grow personally and professionally.

Once she finished her associate and bachelor degrees, Laura connected with a Ticket program EN. Laura learned about Social Security Work Incentives, like the Student-Earned Income Exclusion and Plan to Achieve Self-Support, and was able to use them to reach her next goal. Realizing that she helping other young people was something she wanted to do as part of her career, Laura set out to become a Certified Orthotist and Prosthetist, just like her mentor Angela. Using her Social Security-approved PASS funds, Laura was able to set money aside to help her pay for the certification.

Just like her mentor, Laura now has a family of her own and a job that she loves, where she helps people with limb loss see their potential. Laura is financially independent and able to contribute to her family's future.

Walter

Walter smiling at the cameraA dream job. A home of his own. Financial independence. Walter knew what he wanted and found the supports and services he needed to reach his goals.

Thanks to employment, Walter had options to create the life he has always wanted. Born with a developmental disability, Walter struggled in school and worked hard to acquire the skills that came naturally to most of his classmates. But he was determined after high school to become self-reliant. With Supplemental Security Income, however, he knew that his options were limited so he began working with Challenge Workforce Solutions, a Ticket program EN, to gain access to the workforce.

Challenge worked with Walter to create an Individual Work Plan (IWP) and provided the services and supports Walter needed to gain experience and skills. Challenge also helped Walter obtain a job at Ithaca College, where he learned the soft (non-technical) skills that are essential for long-term success.

During his 4 years working at Ithaca, Walter built up the skills and confidence to pursue his goal of working at Cornell University. Challenge helped Walter land a position as a dishwasher in Cornell's dining halls. His job coach helped with the transition and over time, Walter proved he would make a valuable addition to the team. He was hired for a full-time position on the custodial staff.

Full-time employment helped Walter realize a big dream — homeownership. He is the first person in his family to be a homeowner.

About Ticket to Work

Social Security's Ticket to Work (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.

Discover more stories about real people who found the supports and services they needed to pursue financial independence through work by checking out Ticket to Work success stories.

Learn more

To learn more about the Ticket program, call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (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.

Learn more

To learn more about the Ticket program, call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (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.