Finding a New Job

In this article we’ve already discussed various health and cash benefits that can help you when you have a disability. We’ve also covered what you can do to make sure that you can keep working at the same employer you had before you became disabled. Here we are going to look at how you can prepare yourself for work if you didn’t have a job before you became disabled or if you are no longer able to do the job you used to do.

In this situation, there are two major programs that can help you:

These programs will be introduced briefly here. For more detailed information about them, see DB101’s Programs that Support Work section.

The Ticket to Work program helps people on SSI or SSDI find jobs

If you get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you can participate in the Ticket to Work (TTW) program. This program can help you get:

  • A vocational assessment
  • Training
  • Job placement
  • Job coaching
  • Other help you need to prepare for, get, or keep a job

The way the program works, you can sign up for an Employment Network (EN), which is an office that will provide these services. You get to choose your EN. The most common EN is Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS).

You can learn more about Ticket to Work and how to choose an EN in DB101’s Programs that Support Work article.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS)

Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) can provide you with a wide variety of counseling, training, job skills, and job placement services.

What It Provides

With VRS, you will get a counselor who can help you find work. If you have never had a job, your counselor will orient you to the possibilities that exist. If you had a job before but your disability means you can no longer do that job, your counselor will help you adapt to your new reality and find different work.

The exact services VRS provides are carefully chosen to match your individual needs. You and your counselor will work together closely to set goals and then develop a plan to help you reach them.

VRS does many things, including:

  • Finding you the training or other services that you need to return to work
  • Supporting you to enter a new line of work
  • Helping you enter the workforce for the first time
  • Doing vocational assessments
  • Providing you with ongoing job coaching
  • Performing other services that can help you prepare for, get, or keep a job

How You Get It

Eligibility for Vocational Rehabilitation Services is based mostly on whether you have a physical or mental disability that makes it difficult to prepare for, get, or keep work. How VRS defines a disability is different than how the Social Security Administration (SSA) defines a disability, so even if you don’t meet SSA’s definition of disability, you may qualify for VRS services.

If you get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), you are automatically eligible for VRS through the Ticket to Work (TTW) program. If you’re in Ticket to Work, you can also choose to get similar services from other Employment Networks.

If you are not on SSI or SSDI, you can still apply to get VRS services. However, VRS sometimes does not have enough resources to provide services to every person who is eligible to get them. People who have the most severe disabilities will get services first and you may be placed on a waiting list.

To apply for services, call or visit a vocational rehabilitation counselor at a WorkForce Center. To find a Minnesota WorkForce Center near you, call 1-888-438-5627 (1-888-GET-JOBS) or visit the Minnesota WorkForce Center website.

When It’s a Good Option

Vocational rehabilitation is a good option if you don’t have a job and want to get one or if you want to get additional training and education in order to get a job. It’s especially good if you are on SSI or SSDI, because you will be guaranteed services without having to get on a waiting list.

Read more about Vocational Rehabilitation Services in DB101’s Programs that Support Work article.

Minnesota State Services for the Blind

If you have vision loss, the Workforce Development Unit of Minnesota State Services for the Blind (SSB) can help you prepare for, find, and keep a job, and live as independently as possible.

To discuss your eligibility and the programs or services that might be available to you, or to ask for an application for services, call call 1-651-539-2300 or 1-800-652-9000 and ask to speak with someone in the Workforce Development Unit.

Minnesota WorkForce Centers

Minnesota WorkForce Centers can help you with your job search or career planning.

What They Provide

WorkForce Centers are places where you can get various things, including:

  • Advice about local employers who are hiring
  • The basics of how to do a job search
  • Help with your resume
  • Training on how to interview, network, and apply for jobs
  • Instruction on how to use online jobs websites like the statewide MinnesotaWorks.Net website
  • Help finding out about jobs and career fairs

WorkForce Centers also have assistive technology to help people with disabilities use their services and resources. You can also just stop by if you want to try out these technologies.

How You Get Their Services

To find a Minnesota WorkForce Center near you, call 1-888-438-5627 (1-888-GET-JOBS) or visit the Minnesota WorkForce Center website.

When They’re a Good Option

WorkForce Centers provide these services to all jobseekers, whether or not you have a disability. This means that if you don’t qualify for Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) or if VRS puts you on a waiting list, you can still get a lot of good services that can help you get a job.

Read more about WorkForce Centers in DB101’s Programs that Support Work article.