John Glass successfully completed the Ticket to Work program in July 2023. He navigated this free employment support program through his Ticket assignment with the American Dream Employment Network (ADEN). After three years of employment and living off his earned income, rather than Social Security (SSA) cash benefits, ADEN is proud to have John among 77 Ticket Holders who have taken advantage of these employment support services and completed all stages. John has a physical disability that led him to be awarded Social Security disability benefits. Social Security disability benefits support over 10 million working-age individuals with a wide variety of physical, sensory and mental disabilities.
The employment journey for John began in 2018, when he decided to use his Ticket to Work and selected ADEN, as his service provider. John met with Jody, an ADEN representative, who is employed with ADEN affiliate ARC Broward from Florida. The working relationship between the Ticket Holder, John, and the ADEN representative is a critical element in the satisfaction of services and intended outcome of the Ticket program.
As John attested, “Jody, you have been an incremental part of my success in rebuilding my career. A gift from heaven, I’m not sure I could have done it without you. Thank you so much and I know God will bless you in your personal journey.”
John came to Jody with a bachelor’s degree, ready to reenter the workforce. With a strong education and work history, John was able to independently apply for and interview for jobs. Once John became employed, Jody was there to provide job support centered around navigating the corporate structure. Jody provided job accommodation advice, communication tips between human resources, his direct supervisor, his direct reports and other colleagues.
Social Security benefits advisement played a vital role for John’s stability in the workforce, as his goal was financial self-sufficiency. He did not want to rely on SSA cash benefits to help him pay his bills. Jody informed John of the impact his work would have on his Social Security benefits, including notification of when his cash benefits would end.
For example, John used his Trial Work Period (TWP) initially so that he could attempt to work without fear of losing his benefits. This period allows beneficiaries to maintain disability cash benefits regardless of earnings for a nine-month period. After this nine-month period, John was able to plan when his cash benefit would end. There was no surprise when John’s benefits were scheduled for suspension and he transitioned to employment-only income. Then, during a period of unemployment, John once again utilized another available Work Incentive called the Extended Period of Eligibility. This allowed John to begin receiving his cash benefit again without a new application for benefits. With his most recent employment in 2022, John was prepared for the long-term suspension of his cash benefit. With earnings over $80,000 a year, John more than tripled his income from what he was collecting from his SSA cash benefit alone.
Like John, in 2022 66 percent of ADEN Participants had post-secondary education. ADEN professionals provide support to the ADEN Participant for up to seven years after employment is obtained to ensure stability and support during any changes. Like Jody, each ADEN affiliate has a certified Work Incentive Practitioner (WIP) on staff to help explain the SSA disability benefits system, the impact of earnings and available Work Incentives.
ARC Broward has been a Member of ADEN since 2015 and serves Ticket holders in the state of Florida. Visit the ADEN website to find a list of all 60+ ADEN Members, either by your state or from the national list.