SSDI Success Stories

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SSI/SSDI Recipients

The SSDI Success Stories are a series of short films, featuring people with disabilities who have gotten off of Social Security cash benefits and are working in the community. The films are part of ICI’s Substantial Gainful Activity Project, and hosted on the ExploreVR site. In them, ICI staff interview people with disabilities who used to collect cash benefits from Social Security, and have since found full-time employment and gone off those benefits.

The videos show how individual determination and vocational rehabilitation support can lead to fulfilling work. We hope that these stories inspire employment professionals, people with disabilities, and other viewers to raise their expectations about employment success. View the VR clients' success stories below:



SGA Minnesota













SGA Kentucky







Buddy Hoskinson


“Don’t give up. Follow the dreams, and your dreams can do it.”- Mary Kate

“Getting off of SSDI gives you many opportunities to get back to everyday living...But mostly, you can really have fun.” - Joyce

“You have to trust yourself that you can work, and that you can be successful working.” - Steve

“Everything about my life is different...I just had no idea it would be this great of a transformation.” - Desiree

“My voc rehab counselor is the reason I’m a personal trainer today.” - Tony

“I wanted to be productive, I wanted to be active in the community, I wanted to put my education to use.” - Jaime

“I have the opportunity to go back on cash benefits, but I don’t need to.” - Luciano

“It’s not about how hard life hits you. It’s about how long you stay down.” - Christian

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