By Hillary Hatch, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist
People with disabilities play an important role in a diverse and inclusive workforce. We would like to tell you about Amy and her path to financial independence through work.
Amy has a developmental disability that affects her speech, learning, and social interactions. When she was ready to find a path to financial independence through work, Amy turned to her State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agency for help. Amy’s VR counselor told her about Social Security’s Ticket to Work (Ticket) Program.
The Ticket Program supports career development for people with disabilities who want to work. Adults ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) qualify for this free and voluntary program. Through the Ticket Program, service providers offer free employment support services.
Amy had questions about how employment could affect her benefits. Her State VR counselor connected her with Full Circle Employment Solutions. Full Circle is an Employment Network (EN) with benefits counselors on staff who explained how working might affect her disability benefits.
Amy’s benefits counselor also told her about Work Incentives. Work Incentives make it easier for adults with disabilities to enhance their job skills and gain work experience. They do so while receiving Medicaid or Medicare and Social Security benefits or SSI payments.
With a better understanding of these supports, Amy was ready to explore her employment options. She pursued an internship with Project SEARCH, a training program for young adults with developmental disabilities. Through Project SEARCH, Amy landed an internship that led to a permanent position with her local government.
Amy earned her way to financial independence and no longer receives SSI. Now, she’s a union member, receives benefits through her job, and enjoys the security and stability that come with full-time employment. She’s grateful for the support she received through the Ticket Program and looks forward to building the future she always hoped for.
“This job makes me feel needed and welcomed,” she says. “I have learned about what motivates me and how to keep going, even when things get hard.”
To learn more about the Ticket Program, visit choosework.ssa.gov where you also can see a list of service providers. Or you can 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, and ask for a list of service providers.
You can also learn more by registering for a free, online Work Incentives Seminar Event webinar at choosework.ssa.gov/wise. Or you can text TICKET to 474747 to receive Ticket Program texts. Standard messaging rates may apply, and you can opt out at any time.
Please share this information with friends and family who may need it.
Hillary Hatch is the Public Affairs Specialist for West Michigan. You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at email@example.com