Ben shakes hands with an interviewerAre you on the path to financial independence through work? Here are 9 reasons that Social Security's Ticket to Work program may have the answers and support you need to succeed.

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9 Reasons to Participate in Ticket to Work

Apr 10, 2019

Ben shaking hands with interviewerFor many people with disabilities, the idea of finding or returning to work sounds fantastic, but the hurdles to finding a job and working may feel overwhelming.

Whether you're looking for your first job or you've been out of work for a while and want to return, finding work is not as simple as jumping on a job website and searching. You have to know what to search for and how to find a listing that matches your skills and experience.

This is where it is especially tough to go it alone. Sure, you can buy books on careers and resumes, but that only goes so far. As someone who receives Social Security disability benefits (SSDI/SSI), you may have questions about how income earned from a job will affect your benefits. Working with a career specialist can be costly — and they may not have the answers you need.  

But there's good news! Here is where Social Security's Ticket to Work (Ticket) program and all its vocational benefits can kick in!  Many people who receive SSDI or SSI simply are not aware that free job placement counseling is available through the program or have hesitated to try it out.

Here's why you might want to reconsider

  1. The Ticket program is FREE and voluntary. Adults ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits (SSDI/SSI) are eligible to work with a service provider like an Employment Network (EN) or State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency to receive free supports and services designed to help you find and maintain work.

  2. There are hundreds of Social Security-approved Ticket program ENs and other service providers just waiting to help beneficiaries who want to return to work. Find the supports and services you need by talking with a few ENs and service providers before selecting the one that fits your needs. This way, you can feel confident you'll get the support you're looking for.

  3. EN staff may offer help assessing your skills and abilities as they relate to current job markets and job descriptions. With this help, there's less guesswork about how you can apply skills from previous jobs, internships or volunteer positions to new opportunities. This eliminates the hurdles of "not knowing where to start or how to start" when entering the job market, whether it's for the first time or after a gap in employment.

  4. Many ENs may have specialties, including virtual, or work-from-home, positions and self-employment. ENs understand that many people aren't looking for traditional office jobs. Instead, they can help you find opportunities that match your needs and goals. Working from home may offer you opportunities to work even if you don't have access to transportation or your local community doesn't offer many work opportunities. ENs who offer self-employment services may be able to help you develop a business plan and identify resources that can help you start your business.

  5. Often, companies want to hire through the Ticket program because they want and, in the cases of federal contractors, need a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Recruiting and hiring through connections with ENs offer employers the opportunity to connect with qualified and experienced individuals with disabilities who are looking for work. Additional tax credit incentives available to some employers have also increased the enthusiasm for hiring applicants through the program!

  6. Finding an EN that caters to your needs is a breeze! You can call the Ticket to Work Help Line to have a representative send you a list, or you can use the Find Help tool. The Find Help tool helps you search more than 600 service providers and filter your results based on many criteria. Find the EN or other service provider that's right for you by searching for ENs based on in-person or virtual services, your location, and even whether they offer services to help you find work from home jobs or pursue self-employment.

  7. Transitioning to the workplace is a process. Why go it alone when you can have professional support? Once you find a job, your service provider may offer continuous supports to help you request reasonable accommodations, make sure you're reporting your work and wages correctly and answer questions about workplace issues that may arise.

  8. Many ENs and other service providers have Benefits Counselors on staff. These trained professionals can discuss how working and earning income will affect your benefits and introduce you to other Social Security Work Incentives that you're eligible for. Work Incentives are designed to help you transition to work without immediately losing your Medicare, Medicaid and, in some cases, cash payments from Social Security.

  9. Search for a job with more confidence, knowing that you have career-development and job-placement professionals helping you on the path to financial independence through work. Finding and transitioning to work is a process, and a Ticket program service provider can help you create a plan and break it up into smaller, manageable steps to help you succeed.

What are you waiting for? Take advantage and use your Ticket to help you find or return to work!

About the Author

Paula Reuben Vieillet is President of Employment Options Inc., a Social Security Employment Network for the Ticket to Work program. Her company, which specializes in Work At Home employment for those receiving SSDI or SSI, assists Ticketholders in 47 states with free job placement and career services and also offers community job placement. If you have any questions about their company, jobs in the Ticket to Work program, or their resources, you can email Lori Adler at ladler@myemploymentoptions.com.

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