Job Ideas for Disabled People Who Want to Work
Social Security Administration (SSA) Ticket to Work program
If you are age 18-64 and drawing either Social Security Disability (SSDI) or Social Security Supplemental (SSI), you are eligible to work without losing your benefits under the guidelines of the program. There is no cost and you are not required to participate. There are many service providers offering jobs about whom you can learn more via the SSA site. If you don't want to visit the SSA online to find out more, you can also call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 866-968-7842. The phone rep will either mail you a list of job providers or show you how to use the online search tool. You will also have the option of consulting with your state vocational rehabilitation services or employment network (EN) to prepare you for work, help you determine what kinds of jobs are right for you, and identify which service providers offer those jobs.
Ticket to Work jobs can be quite limited. If you wish to or have to work at home, most of the jobs will be telemarketing. Jobs outside the home might be limited, too, and not in line with your desires and skills. If that is not what you want, there are other avenues to explore.
Networking is still an option. Even if it’s been quite a while since you last spoke with former colleagues, it’s never too late to call them and express an interest in working. Letting them know what you can and want to do will bring them up to date on your abilities and job goals.
What is your passion? Volunteering is a great way to participate in activities that you truly care about. For example, there might not be a job listing for animal foster parent or Humane Society worker, but if you are an animal lover, volunteering first will expose you to the paid workers and managers who might then evaluate your work and recommend you for paying jobs you didn’t know existed. Do you like to help elderly and disabled people? You might consider volunteering at a hospice facility, or go to a nursing facility and offer to read to the patients or talk/listen to them for an hour, they’ll love the attention. You never know who you might meet there that can help you get a paying job.
Do you like to bake? Donate cookies to hospice and convalescent facilities. If they’re a hit, you might start getting orders from people who will pay you for your confections. Do crafts? You might have dabbled in it and attended the occasional craft show or given your stuff to friends and family. Now that you’re retired, you might consider devoting yourself to selling them at as many craft shows as you can manage to attend. Or, if you aren’t physically up to it, you could sell your work online, such as a professional Facebook page, Etsy, etc.
When it comes to earning a buck, sometimes it works best to think outside the usual boxes we turn to when we want to get a job. As retired people drawing a guaranteed base income, we have the freedom to pursue what is meaningful in addition to what suits our limitations. If one thing doesn’t work out, we will always have our Social Security income. Having that safety net keeps us from making desperate job decisions that we might not be happy with. We have the breathing room to go back to the drawing board and try something else. Why not choose something that will make your heart happy?
Do you celebrate your MS Anniversary?