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Money Mondays: Expenses to Consider Before Attending a Vocational Program or College

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Are you preparing to start college or a vocational program? If you are, it is important to begin to learn about financial matters, like creating and managing a budget and saving for emergencies. In order to manage a budget, it helps to know what to expect.

Here are some common expenses for students in college or a vocational program:

  • Tuition: Tuition will probably be your single largest expense, ranging from a few thousand dollars per year for an in-state college to $35,000 for private colleges.
  • Books & Supplies: The cost will vary depending on the course you’re taking. A good estimate for your book budget is about $500 per semester. You will need a constant supply of pens and paper, especially if you do not have a computer or tablet, as well as other items such as a backpack, organizer, binders and highlighters. Today, many find having a computer or tablet and a printer essential for schoolwork and research. Computer labs at schools are also available for students, but hours and space are limited.
  • Housing: Most colleges have student residences or off-campus housing that range in price. If you are considering living off-campus, you will need to budget for monthly utility bills. The most cost-effective choice is to live at home and commute, if that’s an option.
  • Food: Most colleges have prepaid meal cards that you can use to buy food on campus. However, you should still budget money for when you go off campus to purchase food or additional snacks.
  • Entertainment: It is good to estimate how often you plan to go out with friends to movies, concerts or restaurants.
  • Clothing: Take into account climate, seasons and the fashion culture of the school you will be attending.


New Revised Regulations Create a Brighter Future for You

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In our latest Ticket Talk episode, we share information about an updated law, Section 503, which can support you on your journey to financial independence.

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 has supported people with disabilities for more than 40 years by offering services, promoting awareness, and providing fair opportunities for people with disabilities. The newly revised Section 503 prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating against people with disabilities and requires employers to take affirmative action in recruiting, hiring, training, promoting and retaining people with disabilities.

These new rules are expected to create more employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

Are you wondering how these changes can affect you?  In our Ticket Talk podcast, we’ve highlighted a few facts about the new regulations that every Social Security disability beneficiary who is exploring their work options should know. Listen to the podcast or read the transcript to learn what you need to know regarding these changes in Section 503.

Subscribe to Ticket Talk Podcasts for interviews with program and disability experts, success stories from real beneficiaries, and program news and updates!


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 ( 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


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.


What You Should Know about Section 503

Section 503

*This blog post was originally published on Disability.Blog, the official blog of*

By Guest Blogger David Weaver, Associate Commissioner, Office of Research, Demonstration, and Employment Support, Social Security Administration

As we turn our attention to the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act this month, it’s important to note that recently regulations were issued to provide people with disabilities greater opportunities for meaningful employment. This update to Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 offers advantages to people with disabilities, including those who are eligible to receive free employment services through Social Security’s Ticket to Work program.

Section 503 requires that federal contractors and subcontractors – companies doing business with the federal government – take affirmative action to recruit, employ, train and promote qualified individuals with disabilities (IWDs). The changes, which went into effect March 24, 2014, strengthen the affirmative action provisions of the regulations to aid contractors in their efforts to recruit and hire IWDs.


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


Start Your Job Search Today at a Career Fair!

Throughout the month, in-person and virtual career fairs are taking place around the country. If you are looking for work, a career fair gives you an opportunity to get connected with employers who are currently hiring and talk directly with their recruiters. Additionally, virtual career fairs offer a unique opportunity for you to engage in real time from wherever you are with employers who are ready to hire!

Think Beyond the Label Online Career Fair (Online)

The Think Beyond the Label Online Career Fair will connect job seekers with disabilities to employers nationwide who are actively recruiting. This opportunity allows for one-on-one interactions with recruiters, so that you can gain exposure and learn about job opportunities directly from employers.

Annual Diversity Employment Day Career Fairs (In-person)

Annual Diversity Employment Day Career Fairs provide the opportunity for local and national employers to meet and interview qualified candidates from diverse communities.


Employment Opportunities for Young Adults: How the Workforce Recruitment Program Can Help You!

If you are a college student or recent graduate with a disability and searching for summer or permanent employment, the Workforce Recruitment Program (WRP) may be able to help you!

Each year the WRP recruits motivated college students and recent graduates with disabilities and connects them to internship and employment opportunities nationwide. Both federal agencies and private employers use the WRP’s database of candidates to find new talent. In fact, the WRP is the primary pipeline bringing students and recent graduates with disabilities into federal employment! Participating in the program has many benefits including:

  • Marketing your abilities to a wide variety of potential employers across the country
  • Sharpening your interviewing and other job-search skills with your WRP recruiter
  • Gaining valuable skills, experience, and contacts on the job

WRP candidates come from all across college courses of study, including undergraduate, graduate and law students. To join the WRP, you need to work with your WRP Campus Coordinator. Check here to see if your school is one of hundreds participating in the program. The next recruitment process begins in the fall, but it’s never too early to start planning ahead!


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