Marty operating a small backhoeWhile supply chain problems, labor shortages and inflation pushed some businesses past their limits, some entrepreneurs like Marty found creative ways to handle the unexpected. One of Social Security's many successful Ticket to Work Program success stories, Marty leaned on his resilience to adjust to a new future.


Working for Yourself with Ticket to Work: Marty's Story

Nov 29, 2022

Marty operating a small backhoe

November is National Entrepreneurship Month; a time to recognize enterprising business owners who reflect our nation's inventive spirit. Their work creates jobs, and fuels growth and prosperity. These innovative thinkers bring passion and ingenuity to solving hard problems.

When supply chain problems, labor shortages, and inflation pushed some businesses past their limits, they shut their doors. Despite such difficulties, entrepreneurs have shown fortitude, finding creative ways to address unexpected disruptions.

Marty, one of many successful Ticket to Work (Ticket) Program participants, did just that. When the rising costs of labor, materials, and fuel squeezed his home-building business, he tapped the same problem-solving skills and resilience that got him through cancer's life-altering setbacks years ago. Marty's practiced ability to work around obstacles and his strong community relationships have enabled Flying Goose Properties LLC to weather the storm. The Flying Goose team adjusted timelines, designs, and budgets in a collaborative process that involved educating customers and negotiating trade-offs. In a tough climate, Marty has managed to keep his customers satisfied and his business thriving.

"You can't be afraid to make adjustments when you face a new reality," he says. "COVID affected every aspect of the building industry. It set us back. But we're finding ways to learn from it and get through it."

This was not the first time Marty navigated overwhelming challenges. In 2007, his future as a builder became uncertain when he lost an arm to aggressive cancer. He retained his love of building and was determined to adapt. Marty received Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) while he healed and considered how to reinvent himself.

"It took time to get my life back… and it was hard," he recalls. "I had to accept things that were out of my control… learn to delegate and be more flexible. It was frustrating, but I figured out new ways of doing things. You never really think about how adaptable you can be until you have no choice…"

Marty credits support from his family, his medical team, a stubborn passion for building, and help from the Ticket Program with driving his return to the workforce.

"When you are adjusting to a disability, you need to find stability and security again before you're ready to move forward. Having the [program's] help while taking a chance to go out and write a new chapter in my professional life [was] essential."

The Ticket Program and other Work Incentives were there when Marty needed them most. The program, which helps eligible people transition into the workforce, allowed him to recover confidence and "find [his] footing" at a tipping point. When someone benefits from the right support at a critical time, it can have a lasting, positive impact on their life.

Marty points out that adjusting to life with one arm helped him develop new skills and learn to "roll with the punches more." This flexibility and resourcefulness continue to serve the family business well, and he is grateful to still do what he loves.

"It's the creation of something from nothing that gives me satisfaction," he reflects. "Taking a pile of wood and turning it into a structure… an enduring part of someone's life… is like building a legacy. That's what keeps me going."

Learn More

Finding your way in unfamiliar terrain can be hard, but we're here to help. Social Security's Ticket Program supports career development for adults ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits (SSDI/SSI) and want to work. To learn more, visit or 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.

You can also learn more by registering for a free, online Work Incentives Seminar Event webinar. Or, text TICKET to 1-571-489-5292 to receive Ticket Program texts. Standard messaging rates may apply, and you can opt out at any time.

Receive Blog Updates
  Opt in to receive information about the Ticket Program via text. Text the word "TICKET" to 1-571-489-5292