Anna suffered from depression for many years in her life, as well as anxiety, including social anxiety, which made it hard to work and be around others. Eventually, she even lost the will to try to look for a job.
Anna had previous work experience in the medical and health care fields and had always liked working in those industries. She knew she wanted to return to work, or possibly ‘try’ again, but she was worried about many things – including how working again would affect her overall health, as well as what would happen to her Social Security cash benefits, which she depended on for herself and her daughter.
Anna did research and discovered the Ticket to Work program. She learned that this free program is specifically for people, like her, who receive SSDI or SSI disability benefits from Social Security. She was ecstatic to learn that the expert services in the program could help her return to the workforce, while protecting her cash benefits and healthcare. She researched employment networks in the program and found Employment Options. She then submitted an application for Work at Home jobs.
When Anna came to Employment Options, she had just completed a medical coding and billing course. Her schooling helped her to find an internship at a local hospital, which gave her hands-on experience and references – which is a requirement to work from home in the medical billing or coding field.
Employment Options went to work for Anna right away. She was assigned to her own job counselor who worked one-on-one with her. She received assistance on writing her resume and even practicing for interviews. She started to see her self-confidence increasing! An Employment Options’ Benefits Counselor explained the stages of Ticket to Work. Anna was feeling more at ease.
Anna is a very hard worker and though her journey has had its up and downs, she feels thankful to have found the program because it allowed her to achieve even higher goals than she originally set for herself!
Anna’s personally written story: “I suffered throughout my life with depression and major anxiety issues, which included social anxiety. It became hard to work around people and I lost the will to look for a job on my own. I knew I wanted to return to work in the medical field, but I had a lot of fears and concerns about my health and disability benefits.
The Ticket to Work program and Employment Options motivated me to get back out there and try. After I started working, sometimes I had anxiety and I had difficulty dealing with distractions. I also had problems relating to people and working with people due to my mental health disorders. Sarah Lind, my personal job counselor, was there to counsel me and help me with learning coping skills.
Before I found Employment Options, I didn’t understand how working would affect my benefits and I didn’t have any resources to turn to. I was totally in the dark. I’m grateful I found Employment Options and learned about work incentives. I would not have even tried to go back to work without the safety net of the Trial Work Period. Teresa Nier was great with benefits counseling and explaining what happens after the Trial Work Period. I really appreciated that she was able to provide me with an earnings sheet that I could take to Social Security.
Sarah also helped me with my resume, which helped increase my confidence to go out there and try. The staff helped me overcome my barriers. They really listened to me and counseled me when I needed it the most. When I had interviews scheduled, I was so nervous, but Sarah helped to calm me down and get through them.
I now work from home as an Outpatient Coder who prepares for the medical billing! Before I found my current position, I took jobs that I knew would not be long term. But, these jobs gave me work experience and were stepping stones in my career. When I needed a new job, Sarah helped me update my resume and practice interviewing.
Through the counseling I received from the staff at Employment Options, as well as having found a job that pays well, I gained the confidence to become self-sufficient again! I am now working on a plan for further career advancement. I am really glad that this is also an important part of the Ticket to Work program. Ticket to Work has allowed me to become a great role model for my daughter!”