By Guest Blogger Lori Adler, Ticket to Work Participant & Public Relations Specialist for Employment Options, Inc.

I hated the inevitable question, “What do you do for a living?” I didn’t want to say I was on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). I didn’t want to tell anyone that I did not have a job. But that was the truth. I had a disability, and it interfered with my ability to work locally.

This was a hard time for me. I had too much time on my hands. I missed having a set routine. Moreover, I missed that feeling of being productive and the intrinsic sense of pride that comes from having a job. I also missed the paycheck!

A few years went by and then, I learned the Social Security Administrationhad created a return-to-work program for people with disabilities, like me, receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/orSupplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. Even though I had not worked in a long time, I still believed that I had abilities and skills to offer the working world. I just had no idea how to go about getting a job or whether I could handle the “work world” again. Moreover, I was afraid. As much as I needed more money, I simply could not afford to lose my monthly cash or health benefits.

However, this Social Security Administration return-to-work program, officially called the Ticket to Work program, was free, which made my ears perk up. They also told me I wouldn’t lose my cash benefits or medical care all at once. It is a gradual program with a large safety net.

If I wanted to try it out, all I had to do was contact an employment network (EN) that was certified to handle program participants. I calledEmployment Options, because I liked the name. After I finished all my screenings, they told me I would be a good candidate for working from home.

At first, I didn’t think I was cut out for working from home, but then I began to realize what a great deal it was for people with disabilities and their employers. American companies save on all the overhead, while the employee avoids all the cost and time of commuting. Plus, and perhaps most important, the workspace and work environment is already set up with accommodations for a person’s particular disability.

Working from home through the Ticket to Work program has been life changing for me. I feel I got a second chance at a career because I had the help I needed to get a good job that fits my needs. Ticket To Work gave me that cushion to transition back to work, which means now I can answer the question, “What do you for a living?” with a big smile.

For More Information:

Lori Adler is a Public Relations Specialist for Employment Options, Inc., a nationally-recognized Certified Social Security Administration (SSA)Employment Network for the Ticket to Work program. The company has been in business for over 20 years and handles both work-at-home and on-site job placement. 

Please note: the links above are provided for informational purposes only. Disability.gov does not endorse any particular EN or other service providing part time or full time employment opportunities.