Work & Benefits

Success Stories


Robert lost 50 pounds, is making a decent wage, and feels like he's accomplishing something.Robert is a dishwasher/food prep worker at Grandma Bellisio's Italian restaurant in Duluth, Minnesota where he has worked since May 2006. He has severe anxiety and depression.

Before he got his current job, Robert worked on a moving crew. He received some training from Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) in its Duluth office, where he learned to reassess his goals, learned communication skills and how to recognize his limits. He searched want ads in the newspaper, and on the Internet to find job openings.

Getting this job has had a very positive impact on Robert's life. He's lost 50 pounds, he's making a decent wage, and he feels like he's accomplishing something.

To people with disabilities who are looking for a job, Robert says, "Never give up! Try to get as much help as you can getting the job you want, and don't let anyone cut you down mentally. People will try to do that, but you can't let them."


A benefits expert helped Susan pursue her career and financial goals.Five months after Susan started her own non-profit business, she realized she needed to Chat with a Hub expert about how her work might impact her benefits. She'd been working as a volunteer and decided that she'd like to be paid for the time she'd been putting in. She feared that her Multiple Sclerosis might worsen and prevent her from working, so she had concerns about giving up her Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.

The Connection gave her information about available safety nets like health coverage through the Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities (MA-EPD) program and, if she needs it, SSDI Expedited Reinstatement.

Knowledge of these programs gave Susan courage to give up her SSDI benefits as soon as she'd completed her Trial Work Period. Susan found an employer insurance plan that meets her needs and recently dropped her MA-EPD coverage.

Susan is happy that the expert information she got meant she could her pursue her goals.


"Don't sell yourself short. Get out and give yourself a chance. If you don't try you'll never know.""Failure isn't in my vocabulary," says Francisco. Francisco was paralyzed from the waist down in an automobile accident on December 15, 2001. He was driving up to northern Minnesota and hit a patch of black ice. His vehicle rolled and he was thrown about 50 yards. His "can do" attitude got him through after the accident.

In 2003 Francisco was ready to go back to work. After completing some retraining, Francisco went to the local CareerForce location where he got help with resume writing and applying for jobs. Once he started looking for a job, it took him about six weeks to find his current job at Carmike Cinemas where he works in the box office. "I decided I was going to get something; I was persistent."

To people with disabilities who are looking for jobs, Francisco says, "Don't sell yourself short. Get out and give yourself a chance. If you don't try you'll never know."


Rehabilitation Services is working with Paul to help him find a new job.In March 2007, Paul faced something many people have faced—the loss of a full-time job. A janitor for 24 years at 3M, Paul, along with the other janitors at 3M, was laid off when the task of cleaning was outsourced—a scenario that is common in today’s work world.

Paul has picked up a part-time job cleaning his church 2 days per week, but he isn’t satisfied and doesn’t feel ready to retire.

Rehabilitation Services is currently working with Paul to help him find a new job. With his stable work history, Paul hopes it won't be long before he's working full-time again.

Paul has a developmental disability and he thinks it’s important to make people aware of the services that are there to help people with disabilities and their families.


A benefits planner helped Joan find out about work rules and the safety net available to her. Joan was injured in a fall while working at a construction site. As soon as she finished recuperating, Joan wanted to go back to work. She wanted to know if she "still had what it takes." Joan got a part-time job working as a janitor in a downtown Minneapolis office building. Soon, her employer offered her a full-time job with insurance. She called a benefits planner to find out about work rules and the safety net that was available to her.

In the end, she decided to take the full-time job and give up her benefits.


Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities (MA-EPD) kept Jeff's health coverage going when he worked more hours.Jeff works in a grocery store bakery and was offered a promotion and more hours. He loved his job and was excited about his new opportunity. While Jeff didn’t want to limit the amount that he was earning, he wasn’t sure if it was a good idea for him to go off of his current benefits. A benefits analysis indicated that Jeff would be better off financially if he worked more hours.

Jeff still wasn’t working enough to be eligible for his employer’s insurance, but, after some research, he realized he was eligible for Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities (MA-EPD). When he learned about this option, it sealed the deal. He was able to earn more money and still get health care coverage to help with services related to his mental health condition.