Getting Off SSDI Benefits and Returning to Work
The SGA Project included quantitative and qualitative research studies that help to explain both the intervention and outcomes. However, we felt it was important to capture the stories of some of the individuals returning to work.
In these videos, you’ll hear from them about the process they went through with their team of VR professionals. They also share advice for others beginning the journey back to work.
"From working with VR, I’d definitely consider myself successful and independent, which is very important to me. I want to be as independent as I possibly can be."
"My life now has been tremendously changed. I have confidence now and I’m being productive."
"I feel confident, I work hard, I come to work on time. I feel so much better, I feel good about the work that I’m doing."
"If I had to do it over again, I would have gone to VR ten years sooner."
"It’s a big change, and being able to feel like you can accomplish things, really living again, not just kind of surviving day-to-day."
"Anyone with a disability that can work, I think they should work. So if you have to use VR, do it, there’s no shame in it."
"Working with a counselor made me feel really grateful that the resource was there for me."
"Now that I’m working, I’m independent, I’m on my own."
"It’s not about how hard life hits you. It’s about how long you stay down."
"Everything about my life is different...I just had no idea it would be this great of a transformation."
"I wanted to be productive, I wanted to be active in the community, I wanted to put my education to use."
"Getting off of SSDI gives you many opportunities to get back to everyday living...But mostly, you can really have fun."
"I have the opportunity to go back on cash benefits, but I don’t need to."
"Getting off benefits and going to work is not that hard. Don’t give up. Follow the dreams, and your dreams can do it."
"You have to trust yourself that you can work, and that you can be successful working."
"My voc rehab counselor is the reason I’m a personal trainer today."
What changed in these states? The Kentucky and Minnesota VR agencies improved their outcomes by:
- Increasing the pace of services
- Assisting with financial and benefits planning
- Providing job placement services early in the process
- Using a coordinated team approach
Share these videos so everyone can see that fulfilling employment is a reality. And don't miss any new stories: Follow the conversation on social media, using #ReturnToWorkSSDI.
The SGA Project is funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education Grant # H235L100004