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Finding Your Path to Employment with Ticket to Work in American Sign Language


Hello and welcome. This is the first of three videos in our ASL series, “Finding Your Path to Employment with Ticket to Work.”
I’m Kelly and I work for the Social Security Administration. SSA (Social Security) has a program called ‘Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program.’ The word “Ticket” is used
in the name of this employment support program as a symbol for having access to free services that can help you enter the workforce. But you don’t need a paper Ticket to participate! I am here to tell you that there are accessible resources and professionals who can help you achieve financial independence. The videos in this series are called:
Part 1: Ticket to Work: An Introduction Part 2: From Benefits to Employment and
Part 3: How to Find Help and Use the Find Help Tool The Ticket to Work program supports career development for people with disabilities who want to work. By participating in this program, you will have access to a wide variety of free services provided to you by the Ticket to Work service providers. The program is a good fit for people who would like to improve their earning potential and who are committed to achieving long-term success in the workforce. Thousands of people have used this program to achieve financial independence. Let’s
find out what it is all about. Through the Ticket program, you receive free employment support services that can help you search for a job or grow in the job you
currently have. Now you may wonder who can help you, and what employment support services are available to help you find or keep a job. Let’s take a look at the different types
of providers who offer support. A Ticket to Work provider known as an “Employment Network” or EN can also help you explore your options. ENs offer a range of services
to help you prepare for and find work. ENs may specialize in supporting certain populations, or may offer individualized services that begin with job exploration and continue after you are on the job to help you succeed in the workforce. Some ENs are called “Workforce ENs”, which means that they can provide access to a wide array of employment support services, including training programs and special programs. Each state has Vocational Rehabilitation
agencies or VR that can help you explore your employment options. VR agencies offer a range of support
services to help you prepare for the workforce and find a job. Once you have found work,
the services you receive from VR come to an end. Social Security rules around employment and benefits are complicated. Most people need help understanding how earning money at a job will affect their disability benefits. You can find this help, known as “benefits
counseling”, at a provider called a Work Incentives Planning and Assistance Project or WIPA Project. Organizations known as Protection and Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security, or PABSS, focus on removing barriers to employment for beneficiaries with disabilities who want to work. PABSS help people understand and protect their employment rights. In Part 2 of this series, we will look at
the range of support services these providers offer to help you reach your employment goals. We understand that the career development services you need are unique, and the Ticket program can help connect you with the right mix of resources to meet your needs. Am I Eligible? If you are age eighteen through sixty-four,
and receive SSDI or SSI, you are automatically eligible for this program. How does this Ticket program work? When considering employment, think about what your work goals are. The Ticket program is set up to give you tools that help you decide where you want to go and how to get there. Participating in Ticket to Work usually means going through some steps we will talk about next. Keep in mind that because each person’s
circumstances are unique, not everyone will go through every one of these steps in the
exact same order that they are presented here. Participating in Ticket to Work is a little
different for everyone. In general here’s how the program works. 1. Meet with a Benefits Counselor You will want to meet with someone who is
ready to help you understand how work will affect your Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI or SSI). There are professionals who are trained and certified to offer advice
about employment and benefits. They are called “benefits counselors”. The benefits counselor can help you decide whether this Ticket program works for you and if you are ready for it.
You will find a benefits counselor at a Work Incentives Planning & Assistance project, or WIPA. Some ENs also have benefits counselors on staff. In Part 3, I will show you how to find
WIPA and ENs that can help you. 2. Find a Ticket to Work Service Provider Now, once you have decided to begin exploring your options, you can choose an EN or VR to see if the services they offer are right for you. VR agencies and ENs offer a range of different kinds of employment support services to help you. 1. prepare you for the workforce;
2. look for work; 3. find a job; or 4. keep the job you currently have. Feel free to talk with as many providers as you want. We have a check list readily available
for you to use during those interviews, to help you select a provider. 3. Develop an Individual Work Plan Once you find a provider, and you and the
provider agree to work together, your provider will inform Social Security that you are participating in the Ticket program. You and your provider will develop a written plan designed to help
you achieve your employment goals. This is called an “Individual Work Plan”. The goals in each person’s work plan are different. That is why it is called an Individual Work Plan. For example, one person’s goals might include taking training
courses to prepare for a future job. Someone else’s goals could include earning a certain amount of money at their current job, or finding a new job. Your chosen provider will be there to help you each step of the way. 4. Make Timely Progress As a Ticket program participant, you will
be responsible for making timely progress in achieving the goals outlined in your Individual Work Plan. Making timely progress means achieving these goals within the timeframes set by Social Security. If you have questions about timely progress, be sure to ask your provider. They are there to help. 5. Go to Work! The idea behind Ticket to Work is to give
you choices about the kinds of support you will receive to go to work. Some people just want help finding a job. Others may continue to receive ongoing employment support services through Ticket to Work to help them stay employed. There will be more on this topic in Part 2:
From Benefits to Employment. The Ticket program is designed to help you earn your way off of cash benefits. With the right support, you can have a better future! Hi, it’s me, Kelly, again at the Social Security Administration. Welcome to Part 2 in our series, “Finding Your Path to Employment with Ticket to Work”. Now you know a little bit about the Ticket program and so in this
second video, we will go over some of the resources available to help you prepare for the workforce, find a job, or grow in your current job. What will happen to my benefits? If you are getting SSDI or SSI, you may be
concerned about how your benefits will be affected if you begin working. There are special rules that allow people to transition into the workforce while
continuing to receive Medicaid or Medicare, and some cash benefits from Social Security. These rules are called “Work
Incentives”. There are many different Work Incentives that allow people to focus on preparing for, finding and maintaining employment. Some are in place so that people continue to receive benefits while they test their ability to work. Other rules may allow people who have stopped working because of their disability to resume benefits without a new application.
Because each person’s circumstances are different, it is a good idea to talk with a certified professional, known as a benefits counselor. A benefits
counselor can help you understand how Work Incentives apply to you, so you can make an informed decision about employment. You will find benefits counseling help at
an organization in your community called a “Work Incentives Planning & Assistance,” or WIPA project. Many Employment Networks also have benefits counselors on staff.
Part 3 of this series will show you where you can find a benefits counselor to help
you understand how work will affect your disability benefits. Who can help me with employment? Once you know how work will affect your benefits, after meeting with a benefits counselor, you will want to meet with a Ticket program service provider. Many providers can help you find your way to a successful career. One kind
of service provider is known as an “Employment Network” or EN. Remember, I mentioned in Part 1 about ENs. They can help you explore your options and offer you different kinds
of supports and services to help you prepare for, find, or maintain employment. Again,
every beneficiary is different, and so is each service provider. So finding a good fit
is important. I’d like to talk a little bit about what
makes ENs special. Some have expertise that make them equipped to meet specific needs. ENs may specialize in serving people with certain disabilities, or specific groups of
people, such as individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing. Some are based in local communities and will work with you in person. Other ENs serve people in multiple states, and will help work with you over the phone or by email. Overall, ENs aim to help you achieve your
employment goals. Now, let’s talk about another service provider introduced in Part 1: a Vocational Rehabilitation agency or VR. VR agencies also help people
find work. If you find a job with help from a VR agency, you can receive ongoing support services through an EN of your choice, after your VR case is closed. What types of services do ENs and VR agencies offer? I just explained to you what ENs and VR agencies are. Now let’s talk about what they offer. They both provide services through the Ticket program to help you prepare for and find work. For example, both may offer career counseling, guide you through a job search, help you land a job, or help you develop
new career skills. A VR agency can work with you if you need more significant services, such as training, education, and assistive technology. ENs may offer other specialized supports to meet a unique set of needs over time. ENs and VR agencies sometimes
work together, to provide people with a continuum of employment supports. In this way, the Ticket program sets people up for success in the workforce. For example, many people benefit from support services that continue after they have found a job. ENs provide that kind of help. Job coaching or advice about job accommodations, are examples of the “job retention services” some ENs offer.
A good EN will help you stay in touch with Social Security. Your EN may make sure you are reporting your earnings properly. They may also help you understand correspondence you receive from the Social Security Administration. Some people find a job with help from VR,
and then choose an EN for ongoing support services that help them stay employed after their VR case is closed. Others work with an EN from the beginning. Whether you work with VR, an EN or both, the services they provide can support you in each step toward self-sufficiency! It’s me again, Kelly, at the Social Security
Administration. In this third and final part of our series, “Finding Your Path to
Employment with Ticket to Work”, you will learn where you can go to find help. Remember, I mentioned an online feature of Social Security’s web site in Part 1, called the “Find Help Tool”? Let’s take a look at what it is about, and
see all the features it offers! The Find Help Tool can help you locate service providers to meet a range of needs. The Find Help tool can help you find ENs,
VR agencies, WIPA Projects and other providers that serve your area. Scroll down the home page to the Find Help section and click on “Find Help to Reach a Better Future.” You will see a brief description of the Find Help section and a key to help you understand each service provider’s symbol. You can search for service providers in two ways. “Help Me Choose” will ask you a series of questions and provide you with a list of recommended service providers. You can also use the “Search Providers by ZIP, State or Name” section to get a general list of service providers in your area. When you scroll to the bottom of the page, you will see “Help Me Choose” on the left “Search Providers by ZIP, State or Name” on the right. Once you begin your search for providers, you can narrow your search to look for specific types of providers. Use the “Refine Your Search” feature on the left of your screen to find providers that have experience working with a specific population; speak a language of choice; offer specialized services; or serve a local region. For example, you can find benefits counseling at your local WIPA project by entering your ZIP code, clicking “Search” and selecting “Has Benefits Counselor on staff” in the “Refine Your Search” menu. You can refine your search further by selecting the different options available in the Refine Your Search pull-down menus: “Provider Type”, “Languages”, “Disabilities”, “Services”, “Experience In…”, and “Distance”. Let’s try a different search. This time, we will look for a provider that serves California-based job seekers… …and communicates using American Sign Language. In the “Search Providers by Zip, State or Name” section, type California and click Search. In the “Refine Your Search” menu, click on Languages and select ‘ASL (American Sign Language)’. Click on “Update Results” and you will see a list of service providers that will be able to meet these needs. The tool allows you to save and print your customized list of service providers. Once you have the list of service providers that will meet your needs, click on the blue “Print/Save Results” icon to the right of the “Refine Your Search” box. On this screen you can decide which layout you want your list to be printed. Your results can also be saved as an Excel document on your computer. Once you have made a selection click “OK.” Some service providers have an “Open EN Profile” icon on the bottom of their profile. When you click this icon, it will show you information about the Employment Network, such as number of Tickets assigned, the number of years as an Employment Network, and so on. Still need help? You can also contact the Ticket to Work Help Line, shown at the end of this video, to ask for a list of service providers that may be able to work with you. The Help Line representative will either email or mail the list to you. Please note, if you are viewing this website on a mobile device or tablet, you may not be able to see all of these features. With the right support through Ticket to Work, you can find your way to better earnings and personal fulfillment through employment. The idea is to help you earn your way off of cash benefits so you no longer have to rely on a fixed income. When you reduce your dependence on SSDI or SSI, you will have more choices. When you rediscover your talent, you will feel great! Learn more and find out whether the Ticket to Work program is right for you.

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