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Choose Work Blog Archives

4 Ways to Get Involved with National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Did you know October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM)?

This year’s NDEAM theme is "Expect. Employ. Empower,” reminding us that every American has a right to dignity, respect, and a fair shot at success in the workplace.

Recognition of NDEAM is led by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy, but its true spirit lies in the many observance activities held by local organizations and communities across the country. Employers of all sizes and industries are encouraged to participate in NDEAM.

If you are looking to help reinforce the value and talent that people with disabilities add to our workplaces and communities, here are four ways you can get involved:

  1. Spread the word on social media.

Check out these pre-written messages that you can share with your friends and followers online to spread awareness.

  1. Share your story through the “Ask me who I am” series.

Join the Campaign for Disability Employment by using the hashtag #WhoIAmPSA to share the diverse factors that make you who you are.

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Ballroom Dancer is Inspired to Keep Moving: Megan Riggs' Story

Our You Can Work blog series continues to celebrate the achievements of adults with disabilities who have found their path to a better future with help from the Ticket to Work program. This month, we catch up with Megan Riggs, a young woman who recently started her own business (Dance4 Life & Health, LLC), which provides a range of classes for seniors who want to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Megan feels lucky to be earning money doing something that makes her feel alive. It is a personal achievement few can claim, and one she would not have imagined possible six years earlier.

In 2008, clinical depression robbed Megan of the energy and momentum that she needed to thrive. When she became sick, she lost her job and struggled. Megan began receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and focused on healing. When she was feeling better, she had a strong desire to go back to work, and found help when she connected with TransCen, Inc., a Ticket program service provider, that introduced her to resources that could help her succeed in the workforce.

TransCen began by addressing Megan’s concerns about the risks connected with going back to work. She learned about Social Security rules called Work Incentives, which make it easier for people to explore work and still receive health care and some cash benefits. With a Bachelor’s degree in Forensic Science, Megan was well equipped for the job she landed months later at a biomedical research company. She regained the focus she had lost, along with a greater sense of control in her life. She made progress at work and by 2011, earned enough money to leave cash benefits behind. Megan resumed competitive ballroom dancing, recovered her physical health, and went back to the social lifestyle she missed.

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Webinar Spotlight: Alliance Professional Services and Arizona Bridge to Independent Living!

Section 503

Join us on July 30, 2014, for a national WISE webinar: More Jobs for People with Disabilities: What New Regulations Can Mean for You!

The national WISE webinar will present information about Social Security programs and rules that may apply to you, including details about Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act. Section 503 requires federal contractors and subcontractors to take action to recruit, hire, train, promote, and retain people with disabilities.

Our presenters for this webinar represent two Employment Networks (EN): Susan Webb from ABIL Employment Services (AES) and Pam Walker from Alliance Professional Services. ENs can work with you to discuss Section 503, including job opportunities, self-identification and reasonable accommodations.

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Your Questions Answered! June 25th Facebook Questions & Answers (Q&A) Transcript

Following our June 25th WISE Webinar, “Ticket to Work: Free Support Services for Young Adults in Transition,” we took to our Facebook page to answer your disability employment-related questions. We addressed a variety of questions about the Ticket to Work program, Work Incentives and the path to financial independence for youth in transition. Thank you to all who participated, and we hope to see the rest of you next time! Follow us on Facebook (http://facebook.com/choosework) to receive announcements of future events! If you are interested in work and would like to discuss your situation now, speak with a Ticket to Work representative at 1-866-968-7842 (V) or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) or find a service provider using our Find Help tool.

Check out the transcripts of the June 25th Facebook Q&A below:

Note: Questions are listed first in each section. Responses from the Ticket to Work experts are labeled “Expert Response.” Additional comments from fans are labeled “Fan Comment (or Fan Response).” Comments from the moderator are labeled “Moderator Comment.” This transcript was recorded from the chat itself and to preserve authenticity, only egregious spelling errors were corrected and some responses were rearranged to group by question. Please excuse any additional grammar or spelling errors.

Below are acronyms used throughout the chat:

EN: Employment Network

SSI: Supplemental Security Income

SSDI: Social Security Disability Insurance

TTW: Ticket to Work

VR: Vocational Rehabilitation Agency

WISE (webinar): Work Incentives Seminar Event

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Find Ticket to Work at the Project SEARCH Conference in Omaha, Nebraska July 21-25

From July 21-25, representatives of Social Security’s Ticket to Work program will be attending the 8th annual Project SEARCH Conference in Omaha, Nebraska.

Project SEARCH works to help young adults with disabilities to develop the skills they need to secure employment. Their school-to-work program immerses high school students in a one-year program that takes place entirely in the workplace. Since 1996, the program has grown to more than 200 sites across the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, and Australia.

Each year, the conference offers a variety of workshops presented by Project SEARCH staff, instructors, job coaches, business liaisons, and other partners. This year’s conference will highlight the latest research and strategies for job skills training, student recruitment, technology, and many other techniques and tools that can help young people with disabilities gain skills that can lead to employment.

The Ticket to Work program will present a workshop titled “Using Your Ticket to Work: Help on Your Journey to Financial Independence.” This workshop will describe how Ticket to Work can provide support to youth who receive disability benefits, are in transition, and on the journey toward employment. The workshop will cover the basics of the program, such as eligibility and services available to beneficiaries. Participants will also learn how to use our Find Help tool, which helps users find support along the journey to financial independence.

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Register Now! Social Security's Work Incentives Seminar Event (WISE) Webinar: July 30, 2014: More Jobs for People with Disabilities: What New Regulations Can Mean for You

Section 503

If you are a Social Security disability beneficiary and want to make more money through work, Ticket to Work can provide the support you need to transition to financial independence.

The July 30, 2014, national WISE webinar will present information about Social Security programs and rules that may apply to you, including details about Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act. Section 503 is a regulation that prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating in employment against people with disabilities and requires these employers to take action to recruit, hire, promote, and retain these people with disabilities. The presentation will include information on:  

  • What the changes to Section 503 mean for Social Security disability beneficiaries
  • Tips for self-identification during the application and hiring process
  • How to find and prepare for Section 503 opportunities

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Learn about This Year's Updates to the Red Book: Information about Work Incentives and More

Red Book

The Red Book is a comprehensive guide to Work Incentives and other disability-related policies from Social Security, including the Ticket to Work program. Work Incentives can help you become financially independent through work, and the Red Book will helps you understand how. You can use it as a reference if you ever have a question such as:

  • How will earning money through work affect my benefits?
  • What is a Trial Work Period?
  • How can Social Security Work Incentives help me reach a more financially independent future?

There were several important updates to the Red Book in 2014, such as:

  • Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) increased from $1,040 to $1,070. For people who are blind, SGA increased from $1,740 to $1,800
  • The monthly earnings amount used to determine if a month counts for the Trial Work Period month increased to $770
  • Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI) benefit rates increased from $710 to $721 per month for an individual and from $1,066 to $1,082 per month for a couple

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Find Ticket to Work at the Association of People Supporting EmploymentFirst Conference in Long Beach July 1-3!

From July 1-3, representatives of Social Security’s Ticket to Work program will be attending the 25th annual Association of People Supporting EmploymentFirst (APSE) National Conference.

For 25 years, APSE has advanced employment and self-sufficiency for people with disabilities through advocacy and education. APSE’s vision is that “[p]eople with all types of disabilities are employed, pursuing careers and building assets just like people without disabilities.” The Ticket to Work program shares that vision, one we are excited to celebrate together at the conference.

APSE offers the only national conference focused solely on the advancement of integrated employment. The conference will bring together business and community leaders from across the country to network and focus on state-of-the-art strategies to ensure equitable employment for citizens with disabilities.

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