ADEN Member Profile
David: Back on the Job
In 2003, David fell from a two-story building and suffered an extensive back injury. The injury was severe enough to make him eligible for Social Security disability benefits. David, who is now 50 years old and lives in Randolph County, NC, is back in the workforce. When David contacted Community Enterprises, a Member with the American Dream Employment Network (ADEN), in December 2017, he had not worked since his accident. He worried that if he tried to go back to work and failed, he would lose his Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) payment and Medicare.
Through Community Enterprises, David accessed the following services and supports that enabled him to achieve his dream of going back to work:
In February 2018, David secured a part-time job through a temporary employment agency as a warehouse worker for a local polyurethane foam manufacturer. The manufacturing warehouse accommodated him by structuring his job so that he did not have to lift more than 10 pounds. David was so successful in his job that, in July 2018, he was hired as a permanent employee with a $2 per hour pay raise. In 2019, David secured a new job with another local manufacturer who offered him $2.50 more pay per hour and a full-time work schedule.
David has completed his “Trial Work Period,’ a work incentive offered by Social Security that allows beneficiaries the opportunity to earn as much as they want for up to nine months! He is now earning over the “Substantial Gainful Activity” level (for 2019 is $1,220/month) and he is no longer receiving his monthly SSDI cash payment. However, through his benefits counseling with Community Enterprises, David knows he still has a safety net if something happens and he is unable to sustain working at the level he is currently working.
After his Trial Work Period, David entered into his “Extended Period of Eligibility,” another Social Security work incentive. If David’s employment situation changes in the next 36 months and his gross earnings fall below the “Substantial Gainful Activity” level, he will receive his full SSDI cash benefit again without the need to reapply.
Now that David is working, Community Enterprises continues to provide support services to help him retain his employment and explore new goals, such as:
Working has provided David with opportunities to achieve his dreams and plan for his future. For instance,
David reports that Social Security’s Trial Work Period work incentive gave him the opportunity to test his ability to go back to work and build his confidence; exactly the intention of the SSA incentive. By assigning his ticket with the American Dream Employment Network and working with Community Resources, David now enjoys meaningful employment, in addition to being an active part of his community again.
Congratulations to David for his success on the job, and for achieving gainful employment once again, which is the goal of the Ticket to Work program! The American Dream Employment Network is available to support other individuals, like David, receiving Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. For more information on how you can assign your Ticket to Work to the American Dream Employment Network, please contact ADEN at info@AmericanDreamEN.org or call 844-687-2336. Employment service providers across the country are invited to discuss the possibility of becoming an Employment Network under the American Dream Employment Network. For more information visit www.AmericanDreamEN.org.
Community Enterprises LLC, a private owned service provider located in North Carolina, joined the American Dream Employment Network in May 2016. Owner Karen Hamilton assists job seekers with disabilities to obtain and retain employment. As a Certified Work Incentives Counselor, she also advises individuals about their disability benefits and available work incentives through the Social Security Administration. Karen provides virtual employment services through the eastern half of the U.S.