By Guest Blogger Lisa Seeley, a Ticket to Work Program Participant
As I started down my own personal journey with the Ticket to Work program, I was very nervous and felt all alone. I had not worked in quite some time and was afraid to take that first step. Navigating the waters of which Employment Network (EN) to assign my ‘Ticket to Work’ to was overwhelming enough, but to even think about actually working again was quite terrifying.
I had been receiving Social Security disability benefits since 1997 and had not worked in 12 years. I felt “rusty” to say the least. Yes, I did do some babysitting for friends and family, but that was not the same as a “real job.” I was so ashamed to answer people when they asked me what I did for a living. I was tired of saying I was on disability and felt I wanted more in my life and more for my family. Relying on my Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and my husband’s income for our family of four was tough. I had to cut a lot of corners and was not getting any extras for myself or my family. Even with couponing and stretching every penny, it was just not enough. I was tired of the constant financial worry.
In 2009, I finally took a deep breath and made the leap to return to work. I did a lot of research on the Internet and tried to figure out the best way to go about it. I researched work from home companies but ran into scam after scam. I looked into working out in the community, but with my social anxiety disorder that proved to be too much for me. Finally, after just about giving up on my dream, I found out about the free Ticket to Work program provided by the Social Security Administration. I researched what would happen to my disability and health benefits before deciding to go ahead and find an Employment Network who would help me locate suitable work. I was so thrilled to learn the program was free because I receive Social Security disability benefits!