Although you must be completely disabled to qualify for Social Security disability benefits through Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI), there are instances where your condition may improve to the point where you can work again.
Social Security Administration (SSA) created the Ticket to Work program to support career development and financial independence for people receiving disability benefits. If you are receiving SSDI or SSI benefits, are between the ages of 18 and 64, and want to re-enter the workforce without compromising your benefits in the event that you must stop working again, the Ticket to Work program might be for you.
The program is free and voluntary for those who wish to participate and qualify. Despite the challenges brought about by COVID-19, there has never been a better time to consider returning to work, especially if you can do so from the comfort of your own home. Historically, many people who were ready and willing to work could not do so successfully outside their homes. But work from home opportunities may be ideal for accommodating otherwise prohibitive disabilities.
If you join Ticket to Work, you will work with service providers through either Employment Networks (EN) or state-run Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies that can help you determine if returning to work in a work from home capacity would be a good fit.
Because the demand for virtual work is so high, work from home openings include a wider range of professions and skill sets than ever before. Industries that are particularly conducive to work from home jobs include video gaming, online retailers, computer and technology companies, cable television and telephone companies, accounting, and disaster assistance.
Should you decide to apply for a work from home position, keep in mind that your application will likely be entirely online, so read through the instructions carefully, save your application frequently while you are filling it out, and proofread it thoroughly before submitting it.
When you do receive a job offer, spend some time thinking about how you want to work from home. If you have an office room already designated, great! If you don’t have an office, carve out some space in a room to set up a desk or small table and establish that area as your “office.” Maintain an effective morning routine and stick to a schedule to keep yourself on track for productivity and focus. And if video and messaging services are available to you, try to stay connected to your colleagues.
If you want to learn more about the Ticket to Work program and whether it can help you find a work from home position, call 1.866.968.7842 (or TTY at 1.866.833.2967). Someone will be available to talk to you Monday through Friday from 8AM to 8PM EST.