Melissa has worked with Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) several times. The first was in a program during high school. Next, VR was able to help her throughout college, including financial aid.

After graduating, Melissa knew that she wanted to obtain full-time employment.

I wanted to work full-time because I wanted to be independent and make it on my own.

MelissaHer VR counselor told her about the resources they had for finding work, and Melissa took advantage of them. She used VR’s computers to look for work, took resume-writing classes, and received benefits counseling.

After receiving Social Security disability benefits for 9 years, Melissa was afraid of losing them. Her VR counselor explained to her how full-time employment could change her eligibility for disability benefits.

Despite her concerns, Melissa knew that she wanted to find permanent employment with job security and benefits, so she worked with VR to attain that goal.

Working with a VR counselor made me feel really grateful that the resource was there for me… Had I not had that resource there for me, I wouldn’t be doing so well today.

Melissa got a job in human resources for the USDA. She runs reports, returns phone calls, replies to emails, and enters job applications into the system.

She has been working at the USDA for 16 years, and has seen a huge difference in her life. She now owns a home and has a car -- two of the goals she set when she started working with VR. “I was able to move out of my dad’s house, get a mortgage. I’ve done a lot of traveling… It’s just great being independent… I can’t explain to you how happy I am that I’ve been able to do all the things I’ve done.”

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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