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Money Mondays: Three Things to Ease Concerns about Job Accommodations

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Job accommodations are changes made to a job or work place. These changes allow someone with a disability to do their job duties. Accommodations may include supports such as assistive technology, changes to work settings, or adjusted work schedules.

A common concern is that job accommodations are costly. Read on to learn three things that can ease concerns of people with disabilities and employers.

  1. Data collected by the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) suggests that more than half of all job accommodations cost nothing. A recent study run by JAN showed 57% of accommodations cost nothing at all, while the rest often cost only $500.
  1. Job accommodations have also been found to help employers. For example, the above study showed accommodations helped keep valuable employees, improve productivity and morale, improve company diversity – and even report financial gains.
  1. Tax incentives are available to help employers make workplace accommodations. Funds are also offered through a number of organizations.  Read JAN’s guidance on Tax Incentives and visit its funding links for further tips for employers and people with disabilities. 

For more information on speaking to your employer about workplace accommodations, visit the Job Accommodation Network (JAN).

If you or someone you know is a Social Security disability beneficiary who wants to work, call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 (V); 1-866-833-2967 (TTY), or visit www.socialsecurity.gov/work to learn more.

Read money saving tips at #MoneyMondays!

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Countdown to ADA's 25th: Take the Pledge

Preparations are already underway for the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Signed into law by President George H.W. Bush on July 26, 1990, the ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. Divided into five sections (employment, state and local government, public accommodations, telecommunications, and miscellaneous provisions), the ADA promotes the improvement of various aspects of public life for people with disabilities.

In preparation for the celebration, the ADA National Network and the ten regional ADA Centers located throughout the United States set a goal of 25,000 signatures for the 25th Anniversary through their “PLEDGE-ON to the ADA” campaign. The theme of the campaign is to have “People Leading and Ensuring Diversity, Gaining Experience and Opportunities Now… and beyond” by encouraging people and organizations to commit to expanding these opportunities for another 25 years and beyond.

Ticket to Work is proud to take part in the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the signing of the ADA.

For more ADA information, guidance and training, contact your ADA Center in the ADA National Network at 1-800-949-4232 (voice/TTY).

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Mentoring Matters: Career Development for the 21st Century

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Observed each October as part of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), Disability Mentoring Day (DMD) promotes career exploration for students and job seekers with disabilities. DMD offers hands-on career exploration, on-sight job shadowing, and ongoing mentoring that can lead to internship and employment opportunities.

The American Association of People with Disabilities started Disability Mentoring Day in 1999 with fewer than three-dozen participants. Today, DMD connects nearly 20,000 job-seekers with employers and mentors who help students and job-seekers each year.

Along with the benefits for people with disabilities, disability mentoring also helps employers gain an increased awareness of a unique talent pool. As the need for innovation continues to grow in today’s economy, savvy employers realize that people with disabilities can be assets and diversity can be good for business.

With the recent changes to Section 503 regulations, federal contractors and subcontractors now face a national goal to increase workforce participation of persons with disabilities. As these companies are taking to steps to seek-out and hire qualified individuals with disabilities and support those already in their workforce, mentoring programs for people with disabilities can be another way to make workplaces more open, accessible and productive. 

If you, someone you know, or the company you work for would like to get involved in disability mentoring, email DMD@aapd.com to find out more and get connected to resources in your area.

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Ticket Talk Podcast Series Highlights

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The Ticket Talk podcast series shares interviews with disability employment experts and service providers, “Where Are They Now” follow-ups with our success stories participants, information about Social Security Work Incentives and answers to frequently asked questions about working and disability benefits.

In case you missed these episodes, this month we are highlighting our most popular podcast episodes on self-employment, Section 503 regulations, protection and advocacy, and Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) projects. 


To learn more about Ticket Talk, you may want to listen to our first podcast episode titled, The Ticket to Work Program May be Right for You! featuring former Social Security Associate Commissioner Bob Williams.  

Download Ticket Talk to your smartphone or tablet and take it on the go or stream it from your home computer. If you do not use a smartphone or tablet, you can read the podcast transcript. Ticket Talk will soon be available on iTunes too! Be sure to sign up for email updates to be notified of this new option. You can find all Ticket Talk episodes on the Choose Work Blog in the category Ticket Talk Podcasts.

If you have an idea or a topic you would like to hear more about in an upcoming podcast, please share it in the comments below.

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Webinar Spotlight: Nebraska Ticket to Work

Join us on October 22, 2014, for a national WISE webinar: Ticket to Work: Free Support Services for People who have a Disability and Are Ready to Work.

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The national WISE webinar will present information about Social Security programs and rules that may apply to you, including details about information on Ticket to Work and Work Incentives, National Disability Employment Awareness Month, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Our presenters for this webinar are Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) and Employment Network (EN) representatives from Nebraska Ticket to Work.

Shauna Dahlgren is a certified Work Incentive Specialist with 14 years of experience assisting Social Security disability beneficiaries in using available state and Federal work incentives to find and keep jobs, and grow in their careers. In addition, Shauna has mentored a team of Easter Seals Nebraska professionals who provide work incentives and benefits counseling services and wraparound supports to Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (VR) consumers statewide.  Shauna also offers training and education to the public about Social Security benefit programs, work incentives and employment supports available to individuals with disabilities.

Raina Gulbrandson, MSW, is a Community Work Incentives Coordinator for Easter Seals Nebraska.  She serves individuals with disabilities across the state of Nebraska through a cooperative agreement with Social Security’s Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) program.  This program provides individualized benefits and work incentives counseling services to Social Security beneficiaries and Supplemental Security Income recipients who have an interest in employment.  The goal of the WIPA program is to promote employment and enhance self-sufficiency. 

We invite you to join Shauna and Raina as they talk about Ticket to Work and answer your questions. Register online or call 1-866-968-7842 (V) or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY). If you would like more information on the webinar, please check out our blog, Register Now! National Work Incentives Seminar Event, Wednesday October 22.

 

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For Employment Training and Assistance, Look to Your Local Library

By Susan H. Hildreth, Director, Institute of Museum and Library Services

EveryInstitute of Museum and Library Services logo day, in communities across the county, libraries are helping people with the skills training, career information, and job searching they need to get working. Ninety-six percent of libraries offer online job and employment resources, and 78 percent offer programs to help people apply for jobs. Libraries receive federal funding and grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to help their customers—including people with disabilities—find and keep a job.

Libraries offer Internet access, welcoming spaces, convenient hours and loImage of Susan Hildreth, Director at Institute of Museum and Library Servicescations, and most importantly librarians, to serve as information navigators to help job seekers. Some public libraries have "One-Stop Career Centers" that bring together a wide variety of community resources and provide many employment services.  Libraries also provide learning opportunities for adults who are no longer in school, including adults who face economic challenges or have disabilities. Services may include reading and literacy classes, computer labs, and self-paced tutorials.

Many people have used their local library to help them find information about the Social Security Ticket to Work program, which provides employment support services to persons, age 18 through 64, who receive Social Security disability benefits.

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More Jobs for People with Disabilities: Section 503 and You!

A live Twitter Chat with @USDOL on Friday, October 24 at 12 PM EDT.

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You’re invited to join Ticket to Work for a live Twitter Chat with the Department of Labor (DOL) on Friday, October 24 at 12 PM EDT.

This month, we will be discussing Section 503, the new regulations that promise more job opportunities than ever for people with disabilities. Section 503 requires federal contractors to take deliberate steps to recruit, hire, and retain people with disabilities. The new rules also allow you to voluntarily self-identify as a person with a disability. Federal contractors offer a wide variety of jobs, ranging from food service to economic consulting, and everything in between.

Learn what these rules mean for you and how you can find out about these opportunities. We’ll also share information on how Ticket to Work can help you along the way. 

Join us on Friday, October 24 at 12 PM EDT using #DEchat.

New to Twitter Chats?

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The Ticket to Work Team Raises Program Awareness

Social Security’s Ticket to Work team was busy this summer at conferences nationwide talking with current and potential beneficiaries, people interested in exploring their work options, parents and disability employment professionals about the Ticket to Work program.

In July, the team attended the 25th annual Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) National Conference in Long Beach, CA. APSE has advanced employment and self-sufficiency for people with disabilities through advocacy and education for 25 years, as it offers the only national conference focused solely on the advancement of integrated employment. The team presented, “Using Your Ticket to Work: Help on Your Journey to Financial Independence.” This covered TTW basics including eligibility and services available to Social security beneficiaries. Attendees also met “Ben,” the Beneficiary received a demo of our Find Help Tool, and heard an inspirational Success Story from Megan Riggs.

The team’s next stop was at the 8th Annual Project SEARCH conference in Omaha, NE. Since 1996, Project SEARCH has aimed to secure employment for people with disabilities, especially youth in transition. Joined by a Work Incentive Planning and Assistance (WIPA) project and Employment Network (EN) representative from Nebraska Easter Seals, they offered information on Ticket to Work program and Work Incentives. Many attendees expressed interest in getting to know more about the Work Incentive PASS (Plan to Achieve Self Support). PASS plans are for people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and offer them an opportunity to set money aside for a work-related goal. Many beneficiaries, like Michele Boardman, have used PASS Plans to set aside money to purchase a car or pursue training or certifications. Learn more about the PASS plan, and talk to a service provider about the process for creating one.

In September, the team attended the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) conference in Washington, DC. NAMI is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of those affected by a mental illness. The team answered more than a hundred questions between the exhibit booth and presentation session. Many people asked questions including “how long can I work while keeping my benefits?” and “what will happen to my child’s healthcare?” If you or a family member have these same questions, learn about common Work Incentives, which are special Social Security rules that enable people to explore work while still receiving health care and cash benefits.

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