Girl smilingTransitioning from school to the workforce requires a variety of skills, not only those necessary for your job, but in your daily life as well. These life skills come from a variety of places and help you become a sufficient, independent adult. Learn about the resources available to you to help you achieve your dreams of independent living.

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Preparing for Work: Life Skills for Young Adults

Aug 26, 2021

Girl smilingAs you transition from school to the workforce, becoming a successful and independent adult means learning not only the professional skills you'll need on the job, but also skills you'll use in your daily life.

While your family plays a huge role in teaching you these skills, there are resources available to help you fill in the gaps. Life skills include specific tasks like cooking and navigating public transit to larger skills like effective communication and working in a team.    

Today we're looking at resources for some of the first steps toward successful, independent living.

Managing Your Benefits and Making a Budget 

After you graduate from high school, you may begin to manage your own money, including your Social Security disability benefits for the first time. If you received Supplemental Security Income (SSI) as a minor, Social Security will review your eligibility for continued benefits once you turn 18 years old. This medical review is called the "age-18 redetermination." To learn more about this and other important disability benefit qualifications for transitioning youth, check out What You Need to Know About Your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) When You Turn 18. At age 18, you are also eligible to create a my Social Security account. It's a free and secure way to see your long-term projected benefits and manage the benefits you currently receive.

Once you have a better understanding of how much monthly income you'll receive, the next step is to take stock of your monthly expenses and create a budget. The key to a good budget is to include all expenses you may encounter throughout the month, even if you don't have them every month.

For example, some bills are the same every month, like rent or transportation fees. Other bills fluctuate from month to month, like utilities or groceries. Then there are expenses that may or may not appear throughout the month, like clothing, haircuts or technology upgrades.

In the beginning, you may find that you need to adjust your budget. You can make some categories bigger or eliminate them all together. By tracking your spending habits and adjusting those habits to stay within your budget, you can save for larger, long-term spending goals.

If you receive SSI, there are limits on things you can own, including how much money you can keep in a savings account. Social Security calls these "resources." Being aware of resource limits can help you manage your budget and plan for savings while maintaining your disability benefits. Social Security also offers a variety of Work Incentives to help you transition to the workforce and keep your Medicare or Medicaid and, in some cases, keep some or all of your benefits payment— all while helping you find your path toward financial independence.

 It may seem like a lot, but don't worry, Social Security has people ready to help! Working with a Community Work Incentives Coordinator (CWIC) at a Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) project is a great place to start. If you are age 14-25 and receive SSDI or SSI benefits, you are eligible doe WIPA services even if you are not currently seeking employment. Adding a CWIC to your team means you have a professional benefits counselor ready to explain how earning money and working may affect your benefit.

To find a WIPA project that’s the right fit for you, visit our Find Help tool.

Finding a New Balance in Life

If you're planning to head straight into the workforce or a work training program, like an apprenticeship, you may hear the phrase work-life balance. But what does that mean and how can you find it?

It’s about time management and understanding your limits. Working can demand a lot of you, physically, mentally and emotionally. Looking after yourself and your health should remain a top priority.

Set limits by making your daily goals manageable. If your plate becomes too full, reach out to a supervisor for help reprioritizing your tasks. Make sure to take time away from work to take care of yourself. Establishing a daily routine is one way to make sure you're accomplishing work tasks as well as personal responsibilities like housework or self-care.

Developing a Good Support System

As school comes to a close, many young adults find themselves away from friends and family for the first time. Creating a new support system can help you find success and happiness while you live a more independent lifestyle.

Your support system can include people who help you grow professionally like mentors or co-workers. People who may understand the specific struggles you’re facing, like classmates or fellow volunteers, can help as you deal with those challenges. New friends from your volunteer work or other social activities can help you find passions that bring you joy.

Building a strong support system helps improve your social wellness and can be an important part of maintaining good mental and emotional health.

How can Ticket to Work help?

Social Security's Ticket to Work (Ticket) Program supports career development for people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits (SSDI or SSI) and want to work. The Ticket Program is free and voluntary. The Ticket Program connects you with free employment services to help you decide if working is right for you, prepare for work, find a job or be successful while you are working.

The Ticket Program can connect you with service providers who offer a wide variety of employment services to people with disabilities in all stages of their employment journey, including preparing to enter the workforce for the first time.

In this blog post, we touched on the basics of some important life skills for living independently, but this is only the beginning. Connect with a service provider today to find the additional support you may need to help you achieve your goals on the path to financial independence through work.  

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.

Receive Ticket Program Texts

If you're interested in receiving text messages from the Ticket Program, please text TICKET to 474747. Standard messaging rates may apply. We'll send updates from our blog, identify steps on the path to employment and more. We hope you'll find this new way to stay in touch helpful. You can opt out at any time.

If you're interested in receiving text messages from the Ticket Program, please text TICKET to 474747. Standard messaging rates may apply. We'll send updates from our blog, identify steps on the path to employment and more. We hope you'll find this new way to stay in touch helpful. You can opt out at any time.

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  Opt in to receive information about the Ticket program via text. Text the word "TICKET" to 474747