WISE Webinar 2019-05: Working with a Mental Illness

WISE Webinar 2019-05: Working with a Mental Illness


STACEY>>Welcome to today’s Ticket to Work
webinar. Ticket to Work: Working with a Mental Illness. My name is Stacey Plizga, and I’m a member
of the Ticket to Work team. And I will be your moderator for today’s webinar. We are so glad you are able to take time to
spend with us today to learn about Social Security’s Ticket to Work program and other
work incentives that can help you as you start on the path to financial independence through
work. In connection with Mental Health Month, our
webinar will also cover information and resources that may help people with mental illness as
they make the decision to find work and transition to the workplace. Each of us has our own path to follow and
we hope you will find some information today that will assist you in moving forward on
your path to employment and financial independence. So let’s get started by going over some of
the functions of the webinar platform so you can interact and get the most out of the information
presented today. First, you can manage your audio using the
audio option that is at the top of your screen. The audio option is an icon that looks like
a microphone or telephone. All attendees will be muted throughout today’s
webinar. Thus, when you are presented with the option
to join the audio conference, choose listen only, which appears at the bottom right in
the audio menu. Clicking listen only allows the sound to be
broadcast through your computer speakers or your headphones. If you are unable to connect to the audio
with your computer or if you prefer to listen to the webinar by phone, you can dial 1-800-832-0736,
and enter access code 4189148#. Next, we are going to share some information
about webinar accessibility. If you need assistance navigating Adobe Connect,
an Accessibility User Guide with a list of controls is available at http://bit.ly/adobe-accessibility. This link is also available in the web links
pod at the bottom right hand corner of your screen, and it is titled Adobe Accessibility
User Guide. Real-time captioning is available and is displayed
in the captioning pod, which is the box that appears below the slide that is on your screen
right now. You can also access captioning online by going
to http://bit.ly/captions-may19. And this link can also be found in the web
links pod under the title Closed Captioning. We are all here today to answer questions
you have on the Ticket to Work program. So please send in your questions to us at
any time throughout the webinar by typing them into the Q&A pod. We will then direct those questions to the
appropriate speaker during the Q&A portion of our webinar. We will be addressing questions at two different
points throughout today’s presentation. So go ahead and send those questions in, and
we will do our very best to make sure we answer as many of them as possible. If you are listening by phone and you are
not logged into the webinar, you may ask questions by sending an email to Ticket to Work. And the email address is [email protected] Another resource available that we think you
will find extremely helpful in connecting to the different resources mentioned today
is the web links pod, which you will find at the bottom right hand side of your screen. This pod lists all the links to the resources
that are presented during today’s webinar. To access any of these resources, you would
highlight the topic you are interested in and would like to connect to, and then you
select the browse to button at the bottom of the pod and you will be taken to the website
requested. If you’re listening by phone and you’re not
logged into the webinar, or don’t have access to the web links pod, you can email Ticket
to Work. The email address is [email protected],
or reference the confirmation email that you received for today’s webinar for a list of
available resources. And please note that SSA cannot guarantee
and is not responsible for the accessibility of external websites. Today’s webinar is being recorded, and a copy
of it will be available within two weeks on the Choose Work website, which can be accessed
at http://bit.ly/WISE_OnDemand. This link as well as the others can be found
in the web links pod we just talked about that is in the bottom right hand corner of
your screen. And this link is titled WISE Webinar Archives. We hope everyone has a great experience on
the webinar today. However, if you run into any technical difficulties,
please use the Q&A pod to send us a message, or you can send us an email at the Ticket
to Work email address, which is [email protected] As I mentioned earlier, my name is Stacey
Plizga, and I am a member of the Ticket to Work team, and I’m very excited to be here
with you today as your moderator. We are delighted to have with us two speakers
who will not only share information about Social Security’s Ticket to Work program,
but will also share information and resources that may help people with mental illness as
they make the decision to find work and to transition to the workplace. Our first speaker, Tina Skeel, is the project
director for Northern and Central Indiana Works at Aspire Indiana Inc. Tina has devoted over 25 years to promoting
employment opportunity for persons with barriers to employment. She’s a nationally recognized trainer and
consultant in her field of supported employment and benefits counseling. She was an initial trainer for the Ticket
to Work program in Indiana, and has since been working with [inaudible] to develop and
enhance employment programming under the Ticket to Work program. Our second speaker, Carla Orr, has been an
employment provider for 20 years working with individuals with various barriers to employment. She is a national community partner work incentive
counselor, a board member for [inaudible] and is an advocate for individuals with disabilities. We are excited to have these extremely knowledgeable
speakers with us today to share their experiences and expertise and assist you with helping
your employment journey. Thank you all for joining us today. We have a very informative session planned
where your guest presenters will discuss myths and facts regarding mental illness, work as
a pathway to recovery, how the Ticket program can support you on your journey to work, work
incentives available to you through the Ticket program, reasonable accommodations and disclosure
regarding your disability. And then we’ll wrap it up by discussing managing
stress during your job search and on the job. It is my pleasure to introduce Tina Skeel,
who will talk to us about the myths and facts regarding mental illness. Over to you, Tina. TINA>>Thank you so much, Stacey. And thank you to Social Security for having
once more on their [inaudible]. This particular topic is near and dear to
me, as I started out, just like Carla, we started out about the same time in supported
employment and providing assistance with job placement for individuals who experience mental
illness. And so, this, again, is a really important
topic. We’re going to start out talking a little
bit about mental illness and the myths and facts. So let’s go ahead and talk a little bit about
what is mental health. Mental health includes a lot of different
things. But the three primary categories are employment,
psychological, social well-being. So those are the three components, the emotional
side of it, the psychological side of it, and the social well-being. It affects how we think, how we feel, how
we act. It also helps determine how we handle stress,
relate to others, and also sometimes in making choices. Relate to others, and also sometimes in making
choice. Over the course of your life, if you experience
mental illness, you’re thinking, moods, and behaviors could be effected. So let’s take a look at some questions. So first of all, let’s talk about mental illness. How is it? Do you think it’s frequent? Let’s take a look. Is it infrequent? Well, apparently not. This is absolutely and completely false. So think about it this way, if you’re sitting
in a room full of five individuals and you look to your left and you look to your right,
there’s at least one person who is experiencing mental illness, that’s pretty doggone common. So we’re looking at stats from 2014, so one
out of five American adults experience a mental health issue at least once in a lifetime. One in 10 young people experience a period
of major depression, and one in 25 Americans lived with a serious mental illness such as
schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression. I want to make a real quick note, for those
of you how are in fact signers, there is a resource link at the bottom. So if you have questions, or would like more
information, that’s a really great place to look and find more information. So let’s take another look at another question. People with mental illness needs, even those
who are managing their mental health well, don’t tolerate the stress of holding down
a job as well as people without a mental health need. Let’s take a look at what the answer is. True or false? Absolutely false. When employees with a mental illness receive
effective treatment, the result can be really amazing. Lower total cost in medical costs, increased
productivity, lower absenteeism, and decreased disability costs. So we know that individuals can really work
and do great things out there. So let’s look at a couple more statistics. People with mental illness can be just as
productive as any other employee, just because you have a mental illness, does not mean that
you are less productive than anybody else around you, and if you’re on the line and
are experiencing mental illness, know that there are lots of people out there that are
behind you and we know, for certain, employment is a great option. So what we also found is employers who hired
people with a mental illness reported good attendance and punctuality, as well as motivation
and good work, like a really good work ethic, and years on the job actually increases on
par or greater than other employees. So what that means is, that employers have
found that by hiring individuals how maybe experiencing mental illness, they actually
get an individual who was highly motivated, good works, and come to work, and are reliable,
and that’s what employers are looking for. So let’s look at another question. There is little hope for recovery for a person
with mental illness. Once a friend or family member develops a
mental illness, he or she will never recover. Well, that’s completely and absolutely false. Studies have shown that people with mental
illness get better. They do much better. I’ve been in this field for 25 years, and
a lot of things have changed, and people do recover, and it may be possible to recover
completely, and let’s talk a little bit about what recovery refers to. Recovery refers to the process in which people
are able to live, work, learn, and participate fully in their communities. That’s really what recovery is. No matter what the definition you might see,
but it’s really about those four items. There are more treatments and services as
I mentioned just a few seconds ago than ever before. There are a number of support communities
out there. There are a number of work opportunities and
more and more people are going to work. So, we are through our myths and facts, and
I’m going to turn it over to Carla, and she’s going to take this into this path of recovery
that I mentioned. Carla? CARLA>>Wonderful, thank you Tina. I appreciate it. I wanted to talk a little bit about work as
a path to recovery. A person’s recovery is a journey and it is
just as unique as you and I, and everyone else is, but work is a huge part of this path
for many individuals, and I’ve seen some huge success with folks that have been struggling
with the recovery at all levels, because you’re not all at one place at one certain time. Everyone’s in a different area, and just as
Tina explained, there are lots of things that impact your recovery. There’s also a different and unique definition
for each one of us to explain when we’re talking about our recovery. So let me talk a little bit about work being
a part of it. When you’re ready to take this step and have
that be a part of your path. The benefits of employment for people with
mental illness include a ton of opportunity. So you can earn more money, that might mean
that you could participate and contribute more in your rent payment, or you may be able
to independently pay some bills, and feel really good about that. Then there’s some really fun things that you
can feel good about like traveling, or hobbies. I’ve seen some folks be pretty successful
at work and managing their money and creating a budget plan with some assistance from other
folks that they’ve been able to save and build and grow and do some pretty interesting things. What about establishing a routine? So one of the major founders, well not founders,
but a major principle and supported employment as a best practice for individuals with disabilities
and primarily working and in recovery when you have a mental health illness, is that
it establishes some structure, it’s a really healthy, whether it’s volunteering or going
to school, or having some setup time to do recreation, full activities, but structure
is provided for a lot of us through work, and that’s kind of a nice way to get your
structure, you’re actually getting paid to participate in your structured activities,
which fuel your mental health and your recovery. Gaining independence, meeting new people,
and being a better, bigger part of the community and being involved. It’s pretty exciting to see folks kind of
spread their wings and it gives you a self-confidence, you learn new skills, you’re esteeming,
your self-esteeming increases, and you just overall feel a lot better. Setting goals and investing in yourself, working
can give you a great sense of the future. Setting goals, such as earning a promotion
or developing new skills, that can really motivate you to take better care of yourself
perhaps, or to stay engaged in treatment and/or services. Sometimes just having a connection and being
engaged with someone else in activities is very healthy for you. Working as a way of investing in yourself
and your future, and the benefits of work discussed on these slides came from Temple
University Collaborative on Community Inclusion of individuals with psychiatric disabilities,
it can be accessed in the web links pod under Temple University Collaborative guide, and
I can tell you from experience, this curriculum has been amazing, it’s really written to … it’s
very easily understood. It really guides you through each different
step… It really guides you through each different
step. It has structured modules. You can do some self-teaching, or you can
do it with a peer, or with a family member. I am just pretty impressed with it. It’s what I’ve kind of embraced at my agency
as far as using this to work with the person to receive mental services here. It’s our go to curriculum, if you will. At that I think I hand it back over to Tina
to give you some wonderful information about benefits. TINA>>All right, well thank you, Carla. Thanks for all your help. Let’s talk a little bit about the Ticket to
Work Program, and really how it supports your journey to work. The first thing I want to clarify is there’s
actually two separate types of Social Security Disability Benefit programs. The first one is SSDI, or better known as
Social Security Disability Insurance. That means you paid into it. The second one is SSI, Supplemental Security
Income. That is a needs based program. One of the first things that’s helpful for
you to do is understand which type of Social Security you receive. The second part of this journey is really
to figure out is this the right choice? Only you can decide if work is the right choice
for you. Sometimes, I always say the hardest step is
always that first step. It always seems like a big jump to make that
step, but I just encourage you to link up with some of the partners that we’re going
to talk about here in just a few minutes, and find those supports. You’re not alone in this journey. What is the Ticket to Work Program? The Ticket to Work Program is a free and voluntary
Social Security program. I know some of you have received information
through Social Security about the Ticket to Work. Again, it is a voluntary program. It offers career development for people ages
18 to 64 who receive Social Security because of disability benefits. What that means, if you’re receiving retirement
benefits you would not be eligible for this program, and you must be 18 years of age or
older. All right, so let’s talk a little bit more
about it. I said that it was a free program. What it does is it helps connect you with,
again, the word free employment services. Basically you decide if working is right for
you. Nobody else can make that decision for you,
that is totally up to you. Those employment services can help you prepare
for work, find a job, and really succeed at work. Social Security has done an amazing job setting
up this program to really create supports which will help you through this employment
process. How does it work? If you choose to participant you will receive
services from authorized Ticket to Work service providers. Now, there are three listed here. There is what’s called an Employment Network,
and these are entities that contract directly with Social Security to provide employment
services. There are also the State Vocational Rehabilitation
services. The state of, for instance, in your state
there is a Vocational Rehabilitation agency. Now you see that acronym, VR. Some states call it VRS, some states call
it other names. If you have a question on how to contact them
I’m going to show you here in just a little bit. There should be a link right at the side,
oh, I see it, it says Choose Work Website. If you jump on there you can find assistance
to find either an Employment Network, or a State Vocational Rehabilitation agency. Again, they provide career counseling, they
provide resume help, they also provide interviewing advice, and assistance in finding a job. Carla, you’re from an Employment Network,
correct? CARLA>>Yes, I am. TINA>>Yep, and so are there any other services
that you provide outside of this? CARLA>>Benefits counseling, because we are
certified through VCU, so we are able to really help people with their WIPA project, so we
do a lot of coordination with your program, as you know, in this state. We’re kind of like on the ground. We’re like boots on the ground, direct. We’re the people that kind of sit with them,
and not hold their hand, I mean I don’t want to make it sound like that, but we can go
to the Social Security office with them if that creates anxiety. We can help them set up an online account
so they can report their earnings for the Social Security Disability Insurance benefits
and the Supplemental Security Income so that we can really impact and reduce any overpayment
situation that can happen when individuals make mistakes in that area. TINA>>You work really closely with folks
to help support them in their job. Earning a living through employment isn’t
necessarily for everyone. However, if it’s right for you, these folks
are there to support you all along the way. Many find that the reward far outweighs the
risk. I know Carla had mentioned a couple of risks
that everybody I think that Carla and I have worked with over the years have really found
that opportunity to find the rewards of employment. The one thing that we really want to stress
is to take your time to learn about employment services and the support Social Security offers
through the Ticket to Work program. You honestly really may be surprised. That Choose Work website at the far right
is a wonderful, wonderful website full of lots and lots of different tools, tips. You can see there are many blogs on there
if you’re interested in reading about blogs. There are success stories. Just a plethora of information that you can
pull down and help you better understand the ticket to work. One of my favorite parts of the choose work
website is the success stories. I love them. I watched several of them many, many times. One of my favorite gals is Lori. Growing up, Lori, she really struggled with
managing her anxiety, but as a young adult she found that it made work really unbearable
for her. She really struggled throughout that process. However, through the Ticket to Work program,
she was able to find a job where she’s working from home and with the Ticket to Work services
provided, they really helped her find her confidence she needed to sustain the full
time employment. Her quote I think at the bottom is really
cool. It says, “I felt like I really accomplished
something for the first time in many year. I feel like I was connected to society again
and didn’t have to hold my head down.” I think that’s just a really powerful statement. If you have the opportunity, I would really
encourage you to take a look at that video because it is just so powerful and if you’re
even remotely concerned about entering the Ticket to Work program, I think some of those
success stories will help you feel a little more comfortable in making the choices. Onto the next part, which is work incentives,
and that’s my specialty. As mentioned before, I work with a WIPA project
that is here in Indiana, that in your state you also have WIPA projects. There are also lots of other providers that
provide Ticket to Work or benefits counseling, but for the purpose of this presentation,
we’re just going to talk about some basic work incentives and give you just a little
bit of an idea of how they work. So, what are Work Incentives? Social Security has more than 20 Work Incentives
that make it possible for you to explore work while still receiving benefits. They are designed to help you succeed. I hear a lot of people say, “If I go to work,
I am going to lose my benefits.” I am telling you, those 20-plus Work Incentives,
and I know there are more than 20, there are so many Work Incentives that can help you
be successful. Social Security put those Work Incentives
in there as an opportunity for you to get to test your work skills, and feel comfortable. Again, work may not be for everybody, but
Social Security wants to give you the opportunity to at least try it out. You may be able to keep your Medicaid. Now, remember that Medicaid is a state program,
and it is administered to your state. It is different for every state. The Medicare option you may also be able to
keep while you are working, that is a federal program. So, know that if you are receiving healthcare
either from the state or from the Federal Government, that there are many Work Incentives
that can help you maintain your healthcare while working. You may have access to individual support
services, so we talked a little bit about Carla, and some of the things that she does
to support individuals. As a matter of fact, we have mentioned it
a couple of times on this particular call, you can try work with confidence, knowing
that you may be able to keep some or all of your benefits during that transition stage
or period. So, Work Incentive examples. One of my favorite ones is Expedited Reinstatement,
because I get this question all of the time, “So, what happens if my benefits stop because
I am now working at a higher level?” That happens many times. I just had somebody in this particular situation. So, what happens if your benefits stopped
because of your earnings level due to work, and you are no longer able to work because
of a medical condition that is the same as, or is related to, the original disabling impairment? So, the gentleman that I am speaking of had
a back injury a long time ago. He was able to work for many years, then had
a wreck, and he damaged the already damaged back injury, and so he was out of work. So, what happens? We use this Expedited Reinstatement of Benefits. There are two bullets. The first bullet is, if you stopped working
within five years after the last benefit payment under these conditions, which he was within
that five-year period, Expedited Reinstatement allowed him to request to have his benefits
reinstated without a new application. So, although he was no longer receiving benefits,
he was able to get back onto Social Security due to that back injury, and was able to do
that without filling out a new application. So, while Social Security was determining
that, they have something called Temporary Benefits. While Social Security determines your benefits
reinstatement, you are actually eligible to receive temporary benefits for up to six months. So, while they are trying to figure out if
that disability is still in check, they will go ahead and give you six months of benefits. What a cool Work Incentive. It keeps you going, gives you an opportunity
so you do not feel like, and I use the term, “feel like you are jumping off a cliff.” This is a great safety net to ensure the success
of your employment. Where to learn more about those Work Incentives. So, I have several listed on the slide. You can see Social Security Red Book, I love
that tool, it is wonderful. I have used it for many years to help explain
benefits to individuals. You have the whole Choose Work Library, and
you have the whole Choose Work Blog. Now, as I said, there is the link there, but
the best option is to go right over to that web link that is on the right-hand side, and
you can connect right there. So, if you are looking for more information
about what Work Incentives are, and how they can be used on the path to financial independence
through work, check it out. It is really neat. They have so many neat tools. All right, I think we are at the point where
we want to take some questions. Am I right? STACEY>>Hi, Tina- TINA>>I have got one more slide, just kidding. Take the Next Step. Okay. So, let’s take the next step. First of all, the first thing that you want
to do is gather information and resources. The reason we recommend this is we want to
make sure that you know what all your options are. All those little links at the side give you
an opportunity to do some research. I will say that not every Employment Network
is the same. There is always a little bit of difference. What one Employment Network might offer might
be very different from another. One Employment Network may do “boots on the
ground” as Carla referred to, where their staff actually work face-to-face with you,
and actually live in the community where you are hoping to find employment. Other Employment Networks may actually be
outside of the state, or may serve many counties within the state, so get to know that resource
before making decisions. I always say call and interview your Employment
Network. So, gather that information, and the resources,
for your journey for employment. Ticket to Work and the Work Incentives can
help make your journey a smooth one, you know really helping provide that support to you. Get started. The best thing that you can do is to contact
the Ticket to Work Help Line. That number is 1-866-968-7842, or if you are
using a TTY, 1-866-833-2967. And, I just want to encourage you to call
that line, it is open Monday through Friday, 8:00 to 8:00, and that is Eastern Standard
Time. And, do take the opportunity to visit choosework.ssa.gov. All right, I am going to hand it back to Stacey
now, sorry about that. STACEY>>All right, thank you so much, Tina,
and Carla, for sharing the information on the myths and facts about mental illness,
and also the information on the Ticket to Work program, including Work Incentives. You provided a lot of great information about
the Ticket to Work program. We are going to pause here and take a few
moments to address some of the questions that we have received from our audience on these
topics. Tina, you had talked about Ticket to Work
service providers. What if there is no Ticket to Work service
providers in my area? Are there any that work with people virtually? TINA>>Absolutely, and I mentioned at the
very end we were talking about some Ticket to Work providers provide services nationally,
so there is actually national Ticket to Work folks. So, what they would do is they would contact
you, most likely it will be through a phone, and work with you in that way. Some of the Ticket providers actually have
video conferencing available, but most of them do it by phone if they are a national
EN. There are also, and I am going to use Indiana
as an example, there are areas in Indiana that are not covered by Employment Networks
that are housed within that particular area, but I guarantee you there are almost always
at least one Employment Network that will provide. At least one employment network that will
provide services in your area. It just might be virtual. Does that answer your question, Stacey? STACEY>>That sure did, Tina thank you so
much. And that’s great to know that you can connect
virtually. Another one for you, Tina, does the Ticket
to Work provide assistance with starting a business or being self-employed? TINA>>Absolutely, so one thing we want to
encourage you to do, is really pay attention to do your discovery or do your research on
the employment network. Actually, employment network that are specialized
within self-employment. Now they aren’t necessarily going to completely
assist you with every part of set up with self-employment. But, I know Carla and I both have worked with
people who are self-employed. STACEY>>Great, thank you Tina. Another question, that has to do with Ticket
to Work and that is will I be able to continue receiving Medicare or Medicaid when I start
working? TINA>>That’s a great question. One thing that we want to say, every person
is different and what I’d encourage you to do is contact your WIPA project that’s in
your state and get that information or one of the very very best options is to go directly
to the Ticket to Work helpline and I mentioned that earlier, right at the end of the slide,
that 1-866-968-7842 you can call that number directly and get information about your benefits. It’s probably not going to be able to identify
100% how your state is impacted, how the state benefits are impacted, but get connected through
the WIPA project through that 1-800 number and then you can receive a detailed benefits
analysis that can help identify first of all, how work is going to impact that health insurance. We want to be very clear there are lots of
work incentives. Almost every state in the United States has
a buy in program for Medicaid and what that does is that it allows you to work and continue
to receive your health care benefits with a small or moderate premium, hence the buy
in language. There are several Medicare work incentives
as well. So depending on what you receive, whether
it’s Medicare or Medicaid and whether you receive SSI or SSDI will depend on how your
health insurance would be impacted. So get in touch with your WIPA project and
see how they can help you. STACEY>>Great, thank you Tina. Earlier you talked a little bit about ENs
or employment networks. Do all ENs have benefits counselors on staff? TINA>>Well, we use, Carla’s does, she’s,
there are several that do have them and several of them, when you talk about benefits counseling,
there are different levels of benefits counseling, and understanding of benefits counseling,
so I would encourage you, if you receive benefits counseling outside of the WIPA project, ask
them about how they are certified to be a benefits counselor. As per updated, they have to go through the
same exact training that we do with the WIPA project and so therefore I can say her staff
are knowledgeable on the program. We want to make sure that nobody gets misinformation. So make sure whoever you are getting the benefits
counseling from knows what they’re talking about because there are some ENs that provide
initial counseling, that there’s a little more to the story so just make sure that you’re
getting the full story and also something that is important, just because you received
initial benefits counseling, benefits counseling should go on throughout the duration of your
employment. It’s not something, if you get connected with
someone like Carla’s group or with a WIPA project in your state, keep connected with
them, things change, so therefore continuing to have that relationship can help prevent
some of the kind of bumps in the road in employment that sometimes occur with healthcare benefits
and social security benefits. So hopefully that explains it. STACEY>>Sure does. Carla, you had said earlier that goal setting
is very important to help achieve financial independence. Can you tell us a little more about that? CARLA>>Yes, every person that I meet with
when we first interview one another and decide if we’re going to be a good fit, a good partnership
to work with their ticket and their plans to return to work. We go through what they call an individual
work plan. So we kind of write up in a real state wide
process and I think if we don’t set goals then people aren’t able to really celebrate
those goals when they’re achieved even when they’re small baby steps, right? So, I think it’s pretty important, it’s way
to measure it. I believe it’s kind of my responsibility to
help individuals learn how to set specific goals that are measurable and attainable and
realistic and we set time frames so we kind of measure each other’s performance. So if we’re not making progress towards their
goal then we can reevaluate the plan and the Ticket to Work, I think that’s the easiest
plan in the world to change too because you don’t have to answer to a lot of different
funders, right? So that’s kind of nice. STACEY>>Thank you Carla, sounds like settings
goals is definitely something that everybody should do when looking for a job or working. So Carla can you offer some examples of kinds
of goals that can be set if I don’t know what type of job I want? CARLA>>Well, yeah, what I’ll try and do during
that first initial counseling session and I typically already had maybe a phone interview
so we’ll talk about and maybe have a career counseling session around different interests. Sometimes people just are not real sure what
the job is called today. It might be that they did it twenty years
ago when they were working or two years ago and with the rapid cycle change of our society
right now, it might just be that I can help them access the O*NET which is the occupational
network for employment and training. They just kind of learn different things about
what careers are out there. We might do a Bureau of Labor search so we’ll
look at statistics and see what jobs are out there. And sometimes people just see things and are
like “Oh, well I can do that.” So that might be how we’ll identify it, especially
if they have no idea. And I always let individuals know that this
isn’t set in stone, plans are meant to be changed, adapted, modified; we change over
time and you know, everybody does. So try to just make it really, I try and stay
away from any fear based like well now you know you got to pick something, it’s our goal. That’s not how I do it. STACEY>>Sounds like a great strategy and
very important with that goal setting. So again on the topic of goals, Carla, you
kind of did kind of already get into this but can incentive to work providers help set
career related goals? CARLA>>Oh absolutely, so that’s part of the
work plan, so when I first meet with someone, I say what would you like to do in the next
year or two. And then they may know that one, but when
I get to that five year or what about the next few years you may want to increase your
earning levels. So we’ll just talk about different options
of ways they can advance in their career and the nice thing about working with the ticket
holder is they walk their journey through work. There’s not a defined start and stop time. I mean, I work with a lot of folks that have
mental health illness and they cycle right? So, I may be hot and heavy for six months
with people and then they kind of fall off. And then they come back and I’m not mad at
them. I’m just… I meet them where they’re at and we start
over and start again and move forward. And some people keep with me straight through
and then they get more independent and step away. And if they want to come back and say, “Hey
here’s a promotion we’ll identify it there”. But it’s really laid out in the individual
work plan. And it’s so user-friendly. I think the clients really… the people I
work with really understand that individual work plan is pretty simple. STACEY>>I’m sorry. Thank you Carla. Great information there. And I just wanted to mention that there is
a resource that is available for download that is called Planning Your Employment Goals
with the Ticket-to-Work Program that you may find helpful and the link to that pdf can
be found in the web links pod. If you scroll down to the bottom it should
be under planning employment goals. So, that is available for download also. All right. We’re going to jump back over to you Tina. Earlier you talked about how the ticket program
can assist in finding a job. Does the ticket-to-work program provide assistance
with finding a work-from-home job? TINA>>Absolutely. Again there are… Each employment network is different and they
have different specialties. So, therefore there are some of those employment
networks that specialize in work-from-home. To do the research, I believe if you look
at the link there’s actually a success story. And we just talked about somebody who was
working from home. As you remember our gal that… Laurie is one of those examples of a work-from-home
person. STACEY>>Great, thank you Tina. And I do have another question for you. And Tina can you share with us how to apply
for work incentives? TINA>>That’s a really good question. So each work incentive is a little different. Some are automatic and some you have to fill
out a specific form. For instance, for a plan to achieve self-support
or PASS for those individuals who are on SSI or eligible for SSI there is a form to complete. For individuals who are for example taking
an impaired related work expense, it may be as simple as going into your claims representative
and suggesting that you might have an impaired related work expense and bring those receipts
in. So, each one is a little bit different. Again your employment network or WIPA provider
will be able to help you navigate that system as well as your Social Security Office. They have wonderful people in the Social Security
Office that can help you navigate through some of those work incentives. So, again each work incentive is a little
bit different. The paperwork for each is a little different. And sometimes there is no paperwork. STACEY>>All right Tina. We have some individuals who are interested
in furthering their education. Does the ticket-to-work program provide any
assistance with getting a college degree? TINA>>You know, it’s a good question. I know of some. There’s only a few employment networks that
have… it’s not necessarily a college degree but they might offer a certificate of training. If you were interested in colleges or universities
I would really have that conversation with a vocational rehabilitation counselor in your
state. They would have the resources, but not everybody
is eligible for a vocational rehabilitation. So, know it is an option. And you might want to consider contacting
them. There are also a number of grants and foundations
that you could apply for as well. If that is an option for you. STACEY>>Those are great options. Carla, what if I work with a service provider
and set goals in an individual work plans and I want to change my goals. For example, what if I started out wanting
to be self-employed and now want to find a job with a company. CARLA>>Then we might just get together and
we would revisit that plan. We would edit it and it’s as simple as that. We would both sign off on it and then we would
just change our paths, right? We would start knocking on different doors. Probably would need to tailor the resume some
to a different type of area of skill sets and identification as far as that goes, but
it’s really, really just as simple as that. STACEY>>All right. Well great. Thank you so much Carla. Tina you had talked with us about what mental
health is and how mental illness can affect your thinking, your mood, your behavior. How can someone find out how to get help if
they think they may have a mental illness? TINA>>Each state has numerous resources available. Most of the time… Or one of the best resources I find is to
get connected with what states typically call the Division of Mental Health. In Indiana we call it the Mental Health the
… I’m sorry. In Indiana we call it Mental Health and Addiction
or DMHA, Division on Mental Health and Addiction. So depending on what your state calls it the
reason I encourage you to contact them is that typically they are the entity within
the state that does the licensing and approval of services for state-funded agencies. So those are wonderful, wonderful tools to
get connected with is that Division of Mental Health and Addiction. You can Google your state and just put in
that phrase and my guess is that it will come up. It will often times show you maps where mental
health providers are located. On some websites you can actually go and click
right directly on that mental health provider website right from the Division of Mental
Health and Addiction link. So, know that that resource is there. There are also a number of private entities
in this day and age of Google. It is a good option to Google and also to
check out what people think of their services. Again, I can’t stress actually doing your
research. It’s a great opportunity for you to learn
about the resources. And again each provider is a little bit different
on what they provide. But check in with the Division of Mental Health
in your area. Or a lot of states have what’s called a 2-1-1
system where you can actually call and you ask them a question such as, “Where can I
get mental health services close to me?” And they’ll just pop it up in their computer
and tell you right off the bat. So two really good options that are typically
state-wide. Also, one other option that I totally forgot
was you may want to contact NAMI or the National Association on Mental Illness, NAMI.org and
see if they have a provider that they would recommend as well. So, three options I guess. Carla do you have anyone else that you would
recommend? CARLA>>I was just going to type in NAMI. I think that’s a wonderful resource. STACEY>>Okay, thank you both to Tina and
Carla for providing those resources that is extremely helpful. Tina, for those individuals who have recently
started working, can a Ticket program service provider still help as they get used to their
workplace? TINA>>Absolutely. I think that might even be a Carla question
because she’s actually an employment network. That sound about right to you, Carla? CARLA>>Yeah, and we are actually going to
talk a little bit about some of the resources that I actually tap into in the next couple
areas. But absolutely. When they need … you don’t know what accommodations
you need until you get the job, right? So that’s usually when some of the hats come
back on and we have to get more involved to help them get set up so that they’re making
sure if they need a flexible work option or if they need a different environment to fit
in or different supports or extra help. Once you get a job, the game kind of starts
over again for a while until you hit that stability point. So yeah, we’re not one and done and once they
get a job, we sit back. We stay involved. STACEY>>Great, thank you so much, Carla. Your experience as a [inaudible] is very helpful. Tina, you had mentioned that there are many
different work incentives and Carla, please jump in on this one too, if you have something
to add. Is there somewhere that I can go to find out
which work incentives apply to me? TINA>>Absolutely. Again, I would refer you back to that Ticket
to Work helpline, where you can actually call in, and they will link you up with a [inaudible]
provider. And again, sometimes your employment networks
will have information as well, and one of the really vast resources is your own social
security office. So you have three options right there, right
off the bat, that you can go to and get information. CARLA>>And I’ll just add one thing that I
have found really helpful with some of my folks that are working and doing a substantial
enough wage that the social security office wants to do a work activity report. So they’ll reach out to the individual and
send them what they call this WAR form, which is an assessment of their work activity, and
what’s pretty powerful on that tool is that’s where they’re kind of laying the seeds for
the social security beneficiary to throw out information at what’s really going on at work,
so that the expert at social security can help guide you through some of that. For example, it prompted one of my individuals
to get back with me, and we really sat down and took the subsidy tool into the business
and sat down with what social security had sent to them. And that was really helpful. There’s also places where you can write down
if you’re paying for medication or if you’re getting support from someone to be successful,
because that triggers the expert at social security to ask those probing questions and
find out what incentives might be available for that individual. So that’s been one of the things I’ve learned
in the last maybe five to 10 years, just working with these individuals. I didn’t understand what that work activity
report was really for but it has been very helpful for some of my beneficiaries to actually
realize some incentives. That’s all. STACEY>>All right. Thank you, Carla. And I just wanted to reiterate, Tina had mentioned
the Ticket to Work helpline and that phone number is 1-866-968-7842, or for TTY, it’s
1-866-833-2967. And also, more information about what work
incentives are and how you can use them on the path to financial independence through
work, can be found in the social security’s red books, which Tina did mention earlier,
she said was one of her favorites. And that can be accessed in the web links
pod under “Social Security Red Book.” So thank you, Tina and Carla, for the thorough
answers to the questions that have been sent in by our participants so far today. Although we do have more questions, we are
going to stop here and before we move on, I would like to just remind everyone that
accessible materials from today’s webinar are available, either in the web links pod
that we have directed you to or in your confirmation email for today’s webinar or by emailing Ticket
to Work at the email address [email protected] We are now going to turn things over to Carla,
who will share information on reasonable accommodations and disclosure. So over to you, Carla. CARLA>>Okay, great. Thanks. I did just mention this a little bit when
you guys asked the question. The audience asked the question about how
supports continue once you find a job and I find it very interesting that there’s a
lot of different things set up for it. So under the Americans with Disabilities Act,
employers are required to provide modifications or adjustments to the job to help applicants
and employees be successful. They want to get the return on their investment
in paying you and training you and getting all that stuff up and going, so if there’s
something that you feel like you need, absolutely, it’s their obligation to work with you. So requesting a reasonable accommodation does
require disclosure of your disability but employers are not allowed to discriminate
against you because of this. There’s so many of these but some reasonable
accommodations you may want to include are … Some considerations. Maybe reduce distractions in the work area. I had a coworker that worked here that could
not focus on her documentation requirements in a bullpen area, where it’s kind of set
up as cubicles, so we established an office setting, a side that she was able to use. A very simple, very inexpensive … It was
a shared space. It was already there and it was an unused
office. So she’s able to go there for certain periods
of time to do her notes, which is really good. Some people like those white noise machines
because they’re easily distracted, maybe by chitter-chatter in the office or whatever
is going on. I have a couple staff that work with me that
constantly have the music on because that’s what they need. And there’s another person in the same office
who will wear those noise canceling headphones because they don’t like that music. Try to plan for uninterrupted work time. That’s kind of like that special office aside,
without distractions. Increase natural lighting. What I’ve found is fluorescent lights bother
a lot of people, so you may be asking for an accommodation that would really benefit
your whole team, right? It’s just, leave the fluorescent lights off. Divide large assignments into smaller tasks
and goals. That’s a really common one. Very easy to do. Oh, I’m sorry. I thought I forgot to talk about a website. My bad. So while you have questions or concerns about
disclosing your [inaudible], remember, under the ADA, employers and businesses are not
allowed to discriminate against you due to your disability, nor can they ask you specific
questions about your disability. Disclosure is necessary to request and receive
accommodations that can help you succeed. It’s always your choice to disclose. You can find information and confidential
guidance about this on the Job Accommodation Network and the reasonable accommodations
discussed here are from askjan.org and can be accessed in the web links pod, under the
Jan information. So moving right along. Managing stress during a search and on the
job. So some of you asked some really good questions
around this, in the last section. Looking for work is stressful and so is once
you’re on the job. But what I also have found is that stress
triggers a lot of different things, like anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress. It affects each one of us differently, so
if you can maybe identify the signs, we’ve got some really good peer counselors that
work in our state here and I think they’re pretty powerful, because what they help people
do is identify a plan around what am I going to do when I notice these things? Well, I encourage my folks that I work with
to reach out to me. If I haven’t talked to you in a minute and
you’re having a hard time or you’re feeling kind of stressed or you’re noticing you’re
not sleeping well, I want to hear from you. And I want to maybe meet you for a soda or
do something to help you talk through that. Or just share with you some tools. There’s so many self-help tools out there
that folks can have access to on a pretty easy and independent basis. And I’ll do a lot of that type of coaching. So some tips they have here for managing stress,
is if you’re working or looking for work, try these strategies. Make a plan. I think we did that in, like, the first few
slides here. So it’s really important to break things down
into smaller tasks, so you can celebrate those successes and see progress. It helps to keep you motivated, it really
does. Take care of yourself. Be mindful of your sleep, and your nutrition,
and your medications. Try to keep a structured work schedule. Or structured activity schedule, if you will. And ask for help when you need it. I think so many times people keep trying to
take on so much that they don’t sometimes stop and ask for help when they can. And you can learn more about managing stress
by going to the choose work blog, listed in the web links pod under managing stress blog
post. And I will let you guys know, if you can sign
up for the blog posts, they are really, really good. I, I find them so useful and so helpful. And so, Brenda, I like Tina [inaudible] success
story. I love my own, when I have that personal connect. And I don’t know Brenda, but I’ll tell you
what, I could definitely see her journey in a lot of folks that I work with on a day in
and day out basis. Because she struggles a lot with psychosis
and she was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. In the blog it’s really interesting. It talks about her onset being right around
that 19 years old age, when you’ve just been, kind of, limping through life and then it
just got really, really hard for her. So it’s a pretty powerful story. I encourage you to read the article. I really liked it and I got a lot out of it. I’ll tell you a couple things that she said
that… Like her quote here is, “With the Ticket to
Work program and personal growth, I have more confidence than before.” And she feels like she has the tools that
she needs moving forward. That’s when the network did a really good
job in helping her build her own arsenal and her own toolkit, which is great. But I love that she called her employment
network and shared later, because I feel like I can relate to that with a lot of my folks
here. And that’s kind of how I explain it. I say you know I’m just going to, kind of,
be on the sidelines here, this is your game. And I also like that she said the Ticket to
Work program allowed me to put myself out there even when she was not sure. So I thought that was pretty powerful. Anyway, check it out. It was a neat story. Oh, and it’s in the pod link to the right
there. How to get mental health help. If you or someone… Oh, Tina talked a lot about this and I think
Stacey mentioned some sites, but if you or someone you know has a mental illness, there
are ways to find help. But, www.mentalhealth.gov/get-help, you can
get immediate help, help for veterans and their families and additional mental health
services. How to get started. Social Security’s Ticket to Work program has
a variety of service providers and other resources ready to help you get started. And remember Tina’s advice, ask lots of questions. Because my Ticket to Work employment network
probably works very different than the one next door. So you want to know what you’re signing up
for and it’s just as important for you to interview them as it is for them to interview
you. Get a list of all providers, find answers,
ask questions and the number for the Ticket to Work helpline, of course, is 1-866-968-7842. And, I’m sorry, the rest of the number’s kind
of blocked out, I can’t read it, the rest of the number, and I don’t know why. But, maybe Stacey can tell you that. TINA>>The number is 1-866-968-7842, or the
TTY number is 1-866-833-2967. And again, remember that’s Monday through
Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. CARLA>>Okay, and we’re going to pass it over
to Stacey. STACEY>>Okay, thank you so much, Carla. I just wanted to mention that a lot of the
information that you provided to us on accommodations and mental illness and disability disclosure,
that information came from the Job Accommodation Network, and the link to that can be found,
also, in that web links pod toward the end. Or it can be found on www.askjan.org, so that
information is available to you also. Then, earlier in the presentation, Tina had
talked about mental health, and we wanted to say thanks to the mentalhealth.gov for
all the information about the myths and facts surrounding mental illnesses. So, some really great resources for the information
that we have been able to provide to you today. All right, so we are going to jump back into
some questions. We do have a little bit of time left, so Carla,
I’m going to start off with you. And you had mentioned, or shared with us,
that in order to receive reasonable accommodations, you must disclose your disability. Does the ADA mean that my employer cannot
discriminate against me because of my mental illness, if I do disclose that to them? CARLA>>True. They cannot discriminate against you. You’re protected through the ADA. STACEY>>All right, awesome. And then Carla, again, sometimes requesting
an accommodation can be a difficult conversation to have with an employer. So, can you recommend how I would start the
conversation with my employer, to request a reasonable accommodation? CARLA>>What I try to with both is some role
playing, like communicating with them just to kind of get an idea of their comfort level. And see if they know what they’re asking for,
right? I’ll tell you what. I’ve had employees come to me directly as
a team leader, and they’ve asked me for an accommodation and we’ve been able to talk
through some of it, but anytime there’s an accommodation, it’s really important to get
human resources involved. So, I think that’s probably, I mean, I’m no
expert, but I think that HR is a good place to start. STACEY>>Okay, I think that is great advice
to start with HR. Again, Carla can you tell us how to find out
which type of reasonable accommodation would be right for us? CARLA>>Well, I love the Job Accommodations
Network, and I think it’s right there in the web links pod. And they’ve got a whole booklet on job accommodations
specifically for individuals with mental illness. And it just goes into such wonderful depth
and it gives you a lot of different ideas. But one thing I try and talk to folks about
on an individual and a personal basis, is just to found out, what is it you need? Where are you struggling? What are other folks doing? And just kind of having that initial discussion
to see where it is that they need the support, and then, ideally, our human resources, I
mean human resources, they’re professionals and they can really guide that conversation
and be very helpful to both the employment provider, if they’re even invited to the table,
because some people don’t disclose that I’m involved, but they may disclose what they
need so they can get an accommodation. I can’t remember, I just started rambling. STACEY>>No that’s perfect, and thank you
for that, Carla. Just, again, to reiterate that the link for
the job accommodation network where you can get additional information is located in that
web links pod under job accommodation network or JAN. All right, Carla, how can I found out who
to talk to at my organization about disclosing my mental illness? Would that also be an HR function? CARLA>>Yep. That’s where I would start. That’s kind of what’s been successful both
with my employees and some of the folks that I have worked with through the Ticket to Work
program. Every once in while you find just this rock
star boss or manager or team leader that’s really involved and engaged. If that’s where you can start, that’s where
you can start. I think some of it just has to do with common
sense, but most likely that boss will also loop in HR because once you say accommodation,
they just need to be involved. TINA>>Carla, I’d like to add, I know that
you’ve done this multiple times as well as myself as an employment network is the opportunity
to practice how you’re going to disclose that information. Sometimes practicing that before you go and
talk to HR is helpful as well. CARLA>>Yep. Have a plan. Always a good idea. STACEY>>Okay thank you, Tina and Carla, for
the information on that. Tina, I’m going to jump back over to you and
can you tell us what happens if I cannot work full time but I wish to start with part time
work? TINA>>As far as what happens with your benefits
would be my guess that you’re asking, so depending on what type of benefit you receive would
dictate kind of how that income change would be impacted on your current benefits. For instance, for individuals who are on SSI,
they use a calculation. There are a couple of disregards, but after
those disregards they look at a two for, for every two dollars that you earn, your SSI
will decrease by one dollar, but don’t panic because what that means is that you’re actually
earning more income. Working with that WIPA person or the benefits
person on your employment network can help with that transition if you’re on SSI. If you’re on SSVI, there’s a whole other world
of different types of how income is impacted. I just would encourage, I don’t want to ignore
your question, Stacey, but I want to make sure that people know the importance of, first
of all, knowing what type of benefits you receive, because you might receive both SSI
and SSVI, so you would get two different types of checks from social security, and they have
very different work incentives and how work impacts them from going from a full time job
to a part time job is going to look a little bit different. That’s why it’s important to find those experts
that can help you navigate that. Hopefully I didn’t skirt your question, but
I just want to encourage you that there are those resources that can help. In most instances when you go from full time
to part time, you may either go back on benefits or your benefits may increase. It just depends on where you are and the different
work incentives. STACEY>>Thank you Tina. I also wanted to mention that we do have Lori’s
success story in the web links pod, so you may want to take a look at that and her story
has to do with achieving financial independence by earning enough income to work one’s way
off benefits. If you’d like to read a little bit more about
Lori and her success story, go ahead and check that out in the web links pod. Also, for those of you who may be experiencing
some stress with your, while you are looking for a job, also in the web links pod there
is something that is titles Manage Stress blog post, so you may want to check out that
blog post and read what we have to say about managing stress while you are looking for
that job. All right, so at this point I would like to
thank Carla for sharing information on accommodations and managing stress, and also for Tina for
helping out and jumping in on questions and responding to them. There are so many different tools available
to assist us with our journey, and all the links to these tools can be found in the web
links pod if you would like more information on any of these topics that either Tina or
Carla has discussed. We are out of time for questions for today’s
webinar, so thank you to all of you for sending in those great questions. We hope we have provided answers to all of
the ones that you have sent in that have to deal with the ticket program. If we were not able to answer your question
today, or if you have additional questions, you can reach out to the Ticket to Work help
line. That number is 1-866-968-7842, or for TTY,
the number is 1-866-833-2967. Or you can visit the Ticket to Work website
at choosework.ssa.gov. You can also find us on social media or subscribe
to blog and email updates by visiting choosework.ssa.gov/contact, and this link appears in that web links pod
under Ticket to Work contact information. Please join us for our next WISE webinar,
which will be held on Wednesday, June 26th, 2019, from 3:00 to 4:30pm Eastern Time. To register for this webinar, you can register
online at choosework.ssa.gov/wise, or you can call that help line at 1-866-968-7842,
or for TTY 1-866-833-2967. Your feedback is extremely important to us
and it helps us to plan our future webinars, so please take the time to provide your feedback,
tell us what you think about today’s webinar. To take this survey you can follow the link
that will pop up after this webinar, or you can visit the Ticket to Work website to complete
the survey. Thank you again for attending today to learn
about the Ticket to Work program. Please take the opportunity to reach out to
any of the resources we have discussed today to help take that next step in your career
path. This concludes today’s webinar. Have a wonderful evening.

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