Jaime works for the Social Security Administration as a disability support examiner. She is responsible for taking submitted materials, screening them, and scanning them so that other technicians can work with the cases. She is happy to have found full-time employment that takes advantage of the bachelor’s and graduate degrees she earned at the University of Baltimore.
Having previously received disability benefits, Jaime has a unique perspective on the issues clients face. Her time on benefits has helped her to show clients compassion and understanding:
I know where they’re coming from. I understand the difficulties that they may be going through.
She worked with vocational rehabilitation (VR) prior to finding her current job, and participated in job training programs. After gaining that first-hand experience, Jaime felt confident in her ability to go off Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.
I took a risk and I went off of SSDI benefits because I felt like I wanted to be productive. I wanted to be active in the community. I wanted to put my education to use.
Jaime is determined, hard-working, and refuses to give up. She builds on those skills, not only to further her success, but also to encourage others. She often tells people, “Whatever your ability is, whatever your talent, your gift is, you run with it.”
In May of 2013, Jaime met her future husband Jon at a dinner with friends. They struck up a conversation while waiting for their rides, and have been together ever since. He fell for her smile, and they both shared long-term goals: wanting a family and success in their careers.
While she feels that she had a good quality of life while receiving benefits, Jaime recognizes that she has an even better life since going off benefits. Her family had initial concerns, given how difficult it can be to qualify for and receive SSDI benefits, but she was determined to succeed.
Jaime used programs and training opportunities provided by her local VR office. With that training and her hard work, she has found success.
Jaime values the routine that comes with full-time employment, the satisfaction of helping others, and the ability to provide for her family. She’s found that she has more money available after paying bills, allowing Jon and her to do more recreational activities.
I don’t think I would go back to my life before I was working full-time. I think working full-time gives me a lot of advantages… So I don’t think I’ll go back.
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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