Man sitting at his laptopConsidering working from home? More and more employers are offering flexible work options and remote positions. Wondering which industries are hiring for remote positions? Have questions about requirements for working at home? Employment Options, a Ticket to Work Employment Network, shares tips to help you explore your options.

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Explore an Unprecedented Array of Work-At-Home Options Using Your Ticket to Work

May 14, 2020

By Paula Reuben Vieillet, CEO and President of Employment Options Inc.

Man using a laptopThere has never been a better time to take advantage of the exploding opportunities for work- from-home jobs. With the unprecedented need for virtual work, job openings have expanded to include a variety of skill levels in an extraordinary array of jobs and professions. This is a great time for those who are considering returning to work or working for the first time using the Ticket to Work (Ticket) program.

Social Security's Ticket program supports career development for people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits (SSDI/SSI) and want to work. Through this free and voluntary program, eligible participants can work with service providers to receive the supports and services they need to find and maintain employment as they move toward financial independence through work.

This is especially significant now, in light of the high demand and urgency that employers face to fill a variety of positions. If you're looking for employment, the Ticket program can help you reassess your skills and abilities in this changing job market.

Expanding work-at-home industries

For many people with disabilities, working at home has been ideal for accommodating their disability, but not necessarily for their skill set or within their industry. Now this has changed! Job seekers have more industries than ever to choose from, including:

  • Accounting
  • Telephone and cable television
  • Disaster assistance
  • Medical
  • Online retailers
  • Computer and technology companies
  • Video gaming

Customer service and tech support opportunities

Although clerical/administrative services, sales, healthcare and information technology positions are rapidly growing, the mainstay of remote work continues to be positions that involve customer service and technical support.

There are many types of customer service jobs, including inbound and outbound service positions. Inbound customer service could include technical support, making reservations, helping to set up gaming systems or devices, explaining benefits, solving billing issues, helping with account issues or taking orders. Outbound customer service might include setting appointments, returning calls to answer questions, and managing people, projects or cases.

Work-at-home requirements

Regardless of industry, everyone interested in working from home must also make sure they have the minimum technical specifications that most employers need. Requirements vary by position and company, so be sure to read the job description to understand the computer and software requirements before you get too deep into the application process.

Desk lamp over an open laptop

Most customer service and technical support positions require similar specifications. Here are some examples of common customer service and tech support job requirements:

  • High School Diploma/GED (Some may require a college degree)
  • Availability to work a set schedule, possibly including weekends
  • Training often involves full-time hours even if it is a part-time job
  • Home office space that is free of noise and distractions
  • High-Speed, hard-wired (not wireless) Internet access
  • Windows PC minimums
  • 1 GHz to 1.5 GHz processor
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 40 GB free space
  • Computer navigation skills, i.e., ability to move between multiple windows and programs
  • Type at least 35 words per minute
  • Clear speaking/ phone voice (a headset may be required)

Your employer or potential employer may supply you with the equipment you need.

Home office set-up costs

If you don't have a home office in place yet, some internet companies currently provide free service or have reduced fees due to increased demand for internet access. Telephone companies sometimes have some leeway and may be able to waive or lower fees if asked, or adjust the cost of setting up a landline if finances are tight.

Beware of work-at-home scams

You do have to ensure that a work-from-home job opportunity is legitimate. Many of the scams involve upfront fees or bogus companies. Be sure to do thorough online research to learn about the company's reputation. To make sure it is credible, you may also want to verify the company with the Better Business Bureau.

One of the benefits of the Ticket program is being able to work with an authorized service provider who can check the legitimacy of the job and the employer, and guide you to the most suitable and legitimate position.

Free job placement assistance

Social Security authorizes Employment Networks (EN) to help Ticket program participants return to work or work for the first time, whether in a remote position or an onsite job. Many of these organizations also provide other free services, such as resume preparation, interview practice, finding suitable job leads, and providing moral support and accommodation assistance. Some have certified Benefits Counselors on staff who can help you understand how work will affect your benefits.

About the Ticket to Work program

For job seekers who receive Social Security disability benefits (SSI/SSDI), there's no need to go it alone! Social Security's Ticket to Work program is here to help!

Getting started is easy! To learn more about the Ticket program, visit choosework.ssa.gov. You can also 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.

Getting started is easy! To learn more about the Ticket program, visit choosework.ssa.gov. You can also 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.

About the Author

Paula Reuben Vieillet

Paula Reuben Vieillet is CEO and President of Employment Options Inc., an authorized Employment Network for the Ticket to Work program. Her company, which specializes in Work At Home employment for those who receive SSDI or SSI, assists Ticketholders in 47 states with free job placement and career services, and offers community job placement. For questions about the company, visit www.myemploymentoptions.com or email Lori Adler.

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