Are you worried about losing benefit payments?

Two type of benefits that people with disabilities may receive are Supplemental Security Income (called SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (called SSDI). Both programs have rules that let you try working without worrying about losing your benefit payments. There are a lot of resources to help you figure out what benefits you may still need once you are working. It is important that you talk to someone that can get to know you and your individual situation. Below are important resources.

What You Need to Know About Your Supplemental Security Income (SSI) When You Turn 18 [PDF]
Work Incentives – General Information
Disability Benefits 101

Self-Advocates: Chris & Christina

Chris & Christina shared thoughts on employment, marriage, and self-advocacy at the 2019 Florida Self-Advocates Network’D conference in Orlando.

Chris, an employee at Home Depot, speaks about a recent recognition he received for providing excellent costumer service. Christina is a secretary at the Conklin Center for the Blind. She talks about the accommodations they provide to her to make her job easier. They are both part of a self-advocacy group from East Volusia.

Fernando, guest operations host at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium

Fernando is thrilled with his new job as a guest operations host at the aquarium, but it was a difficult journey getting there. Fernando has vision problems due to a head injury, and he was having trouble finding a job because of it. He came to vocational rehabilitation (VR), a state agency that helps people with disabilities get or keep a job, to see if they could help.

Continuing reading Fernando’s story on the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation website.

Self-Advocate: Amanda

Amanda shared her employment story at the 2019 Florida Self-Advocates Network’D conference in Orlando.

Amanda is originally from Pennsylvania, and moved to Florida about six years ago to pursue a job at Disney. Today, she works as a guest services coordinator at Universal Orlando. Amanda says, “Guest service coordinators try to make their guests’ day just a little bit better trying to figure out what to do in situations where they’re going to be, you know, upset and just try to make life a little easier for them.” Listen to the interview to learn more about her, especially her very cool first job as a Macy’s parade balloon handler!

How do you request an accommodation from your employer?

It is important to know how to ask for an accommodation. Watch our videos and check out these tips:

  • Be polite and give examples. “These are some accommodations that help me in school, and I think that they can help me on this job. Could we talk about them?”
  • Have a conversation.  Be open to feedback and suggestions. “I looked at the requirements for the job and these are the accommodations I may need.  What are some of your ideas?”

Let’s Get Everyone to Work: Shane, imaging technician

Shane has a career in data processing at a company in St. Petersburg. Watch his story to learn more about what he does and how he learned to do it.

“It feels good to have a job and a paycheck.” Shane Dahlin

Shane is one of 12 individuals with disabilities who share personal stories about employment and education as part of the FDDC’s “Let’s Get Everyone to Work: Resource Toolkit for Students and Families.” Learn more (and see more videos) at FDDC.org.

Self-Advocate Ashley Wolfe Presents at Florida Conference

Ashley Wolfe, an ICI research liaison, presented at the Florida SAND Conference in Orlando on February 3. Wolfe, who has intellectual disabilities, spoke about a new curriculum the ICI developed to help people with disabilities find fulfilling jobs and advocate for what they need.

The Explore Work Curriculum provides a chance for people with all kinds of disabilities to think about what kind of work they might like to do and to explore employment options. The curriculum includes short videos focused on asking for accommodations and finding transportation to the workplace.

Wolfe explained that the curriculum is intended “to give a sense of confidence and independence…giving real hope that you can work, capable of working, can be given the right kind of employment services.”

Wolfe said that the most fun part of the conference for her was meeting other participants from Florida. They had the chance to “socialize, dance, go out to eat and have a nice Italian dinner.”

When asked why others should attend this conference, Wolfe said, “This can be a way of connecting and having social interaction with [a] new and diverse population…People of different backgrounds, cultures, interests.”