Cory: Setting Work Goals Pays Off Big

Cory has been a resident of Atlantic, Iowa since 1998 when he moved there at 22 years old. At the time, he received Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits and worked in a sheltered workshop to develop his job skills.

Cory had a goal, though, of moving from his group home to his very own apartment. So, at age 29, he applied for a job at Walmart in 2005 and got it! He began working part-time as a cart attendant and, by the next year, was able to move into his first apartment.

Because of Cory’s can do attitude, and willingness to prove himself as a valuable team member, he was promoted to maintenance, working in the lawn and garden department.

Unfortunately, Cory became ill in 2008 and had to quit his job. During the year and a half he was unable to work, because of SSA work incentives, he was still able to access his SSDI benefits during this time period. By 2009, Cory had fully recovered from his illness and was ready to go back to work part-time. He applied again at Walmart and was rehired, this time to work in the produce department where he learned new skills.

Like his previous supervisor, Cory’s new boss recognized his willingness to work hard and be a team player. For the second time, Cory was promoted to work in the meat department.

Now Cory had a new goal – to work full-time and no longer receive a cash benefit from Social Security. After speaking with his family and receiving their full support, Cory felt ready to move forward with his goal of becoming self-sufficient. In 2015, Cory assigned his Ticket with Crossroads of Western Iowa, a member of the American Dream Employment Network (ADEN). Crossroads of Western Iowa assisted Cory with benefits planning and understanding Social Security work incentives. He also learned how working full-time would impact his benefits and how he could maintain his much needed healthcare.

In April 2017, when Cory’s supervisor asked him to work full-time, Cory was ready to say yes. Crossroads of Western Iowa assisted him in contacting Social Security to keep them informed of his work changes and to ensure a timely conclusion to his cash benefit.

Cory now works as a Second Level Associate at Walmart and has been cross-trained in four different departments — meat, produce, bakery and deli. Cory says he loves working full-time and does not regret his decision to work 40 hours a week. He recently received his 10-year pin and says he’s planning on getting a 20-year pin as well. Best of all, Cory achieved his goal of self-sufficiency and no longer receives SSA benefits!

However, Cory isn’t finished. He has set yet another employment goal for himself and has set his sights on becoming a supervisor one day. With his drive, determination and work ethic, he will get there.

Congratulations to Cory for his success on the job and for achieving gainful employment once again, which is the goal of the Ticket to Work program! The American Dream Employment Network is available to support other individuals, like Cory, receiving Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. For more information on how you can assign your Ticket to Work to the American Dream Employment Network, please contact ADEN at 844-687-2336. Employment service providers across the country are invited to discuss the possibility of becoming an Employment Network (EN) under the American Dream Employment Network.

Crossroads of Western Iowa is a nonprofit organization that empowers individuals to actively seek out opportunities for an enhanced quality of life. For over 40 years, Crossroads of Western Iowa’s goal has been to teach their clients life skills and help them attain independence. They provide residential options, programming and employment opportunities so individuals can reach their full potential at home, at work and in their communities. Crossroads of Western Iowa’s membership with American Dream Employment Network began in July of 2015 as CASS Inc. and they were one of ADEN’s first members. In 2017, CASS Inc. merged with Crossroads of Western Iowa and continue to provide Ticket to Work services with ADEN.

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