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April is Occupational Therapy Month: What Can Occupational Therapy Do For You?

By Stephanie Yamkovenko

Last year’s World Report on Disability found that there are 1 billion people in the world with disabilities. Many individuals with disabilities can’t find jobs—in fact, 71% of Americans with disabilities do not participate in the workforce (compared with 30% of individuals without disabilities).

AOTA As the occupational therapy profession celebrates Occupational Therapy (OT) Month this April, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) wants all individuals with disabilities to know that, no matter their disability, everyone should have the opportunity to participate in meaningful activities and occupations. Occupational therapy practitioners work with individuals with a variety of disabilities (physical, developmental, cognitive, etc.) to help them discover ways to participate fully in life.

Young adults with developmental disabilities, such as autism or Down syndrome, can work with an occupational therapy practitioner to transition from  high school to a  life after graduation—whether that’s finding a job, going to college, or developing strategies to live as independently as possible. Read the Role of Occupational Therapy in Facilitating Employment of Individuals With Developmental Disabilities.

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Financial Literacy Tips for People with Disabilities

April is National Financial Literacy Month!  The topic of finance is has special meaning for people with disabilities.  The Ticket to Work program wants to share some tips to help you take charge of your money. Did you know that if you receive SSDI or SSI benefits, you must tell Social Security about any changes in your earnings, your living situation, or other circumstances that affect your financial status?  

Below are three practical tips you can apply this month:

Tip #1: Create a budget

Have you ever wondered at the end of the month, “Where did all my money go?” A good way to avoid this is to track your expenses and create a budget. Read budget tips from The Federal Trade Commission. You can also download free templates online, such as this “Expense Worksheet” from FinancialLiteracyMonth.com.

Tip #2: Keep your information up-to-date

Protect your earnings by avoiding overpayments. An overpayment is when you receive more money than what you should have been paid by Social Security. Take an active role to safeguard your earnings by keeping your information up-to-date with Social Security. This means reporting when you start and stop working and if you change your hours or rate of pay. It also means reporting if you have a change in living arrangements, as well as your resources such as bank accounts or cars. Watch our March 2012 webinar, “Preventing and Managing Overpayments: A Webinar for Social Security Disability Beneficiaries” to learn more. You can also download the transcript, audio and presentation slides here.

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Social Security to Fast-Track Disability Decisions on 52 New Medical Conditions

Social Security recently released information on 52 new Compassionate Allowances (CA) conditions mainly involving neurological disorders, cancers and rare diseases. The CA program identifies medical conditions resulting in significant disability and speeds up benefit eligibility decisions pertaining to them. In most cases, this enables Americans with these conditions to receive a decision within days instead of months or years. To read the full press release, visit http://www.socialsecurity.gov/pressoffice/pr/compassionate-allowances-0412-pr.htm.

Social Security is also improving its online disability application process. If you've already filed an application and it was denied, you can file an electronic appeal, reducing the amount of paperwork involved.

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Social Security Encourages Ticket Program Service Providers, Community Partners to Host April 25 WISE Webinar Viewing Party

Social Security invites Ticket to Work service providers and community partners to organize a “WISE Webinar Viewing Party” for our upcoming webinar titled, Ticket to Work: Free Support Services for People Who Have a Disability and Are Ready to Work

The 90-minute webinar on April 25 will present information about special Social Security programs and rules that may apply to you! Disability benefits experts will teach you about:

  • Ticket to Work & Work Incentives
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Where to find more information

A WISE Webinar Viewing Party can be a great opportunity for service providers to meet Ticket-eligible beneficiaries and their family members, talk with them about their employment goals, and help them learn more about Ticket to Work and Work Incentives.

The best part is that we made it easy to host a WISE Webinar Viewing Party by providing a tool kit of easy-to-use, downloadable materials below. The tool kit includes resources to help service providers plan, promote, and facilitate their viewing party.

Planning Resources:

Customizable Promotion Resources

Facilitation Resources:

The WISE webinar, Ticket to Work: Free Support Services for People with Disabilities Who Are Ready to Work, will be held on Wednesday, April 25 at 3:00 p.m. EST. If you plan to participate, we encourage you to register at www.choosework.net/wise. You will receive a confirmation message with webinar details including captioning information.

If you have questions about hosting a WISE Webinar Viewing Party, contact us at chooseworkquestions@gmail.com.

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Transcript now available for the March Disability Employment Chat on Twitter!

On Friday, March 30th, Ticket to Work hosted the inaugural Disability Employment Chat (#DEChat) on Twitter. In honor of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, our topic was “Career Help for People with Developmental Disabilities.” Sharon Lewis, Commissioner of the Administration on Developmental Disabilities, Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services, helped us answer questions and shared resources. We would like to thank Sharon as well as everyone who participated in the discussion! Overall, 22 people participated, and the discussion ran to over 100 Tweets!

Did you miss the chat?

Here are two ways to see what happened:

  • #DEChat highlights on Storify from one of the chat participants,
  • Or the text transcript that follows the "read more" link below

What’s next?

Stay tuned for an announcement of our next Twitter chat in the coming months! Have an idea for a chat?  Share it in the comments! And as always, follow us on Twitter, @chooseworkssa, and “Like” us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/choosework.

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