Becoming an Employment Network
The Social Security Administration (SSA)’s Ticket to Work program can help veterans return to gainful employment, and while many veterans receive SSA benefits, homeless veterans who may be eligible for SSA benefits might not be connected to this critical resource. Becoming an Employment Network (EN) through the Ticket to Work program can help your organization leverage resources for employment services and benefit the homeless veterans in your programs. Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) grantees are expected to register as ENs.
On Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011, at 3 p.m. EST, the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV) and the National Veterans Technical Assistance Center (NVTAC) led by the Burton Blatt Institute co-hosted a teleconference called “Becoming an Employment Network” for HVRP grantees and their community partners. Kristen Willard, who leads the Ticket to Work Technical Assistance and Support Center at MAXIMUS, and Meg Little, an Account Manager for the Ticket to Work Program working on the Operations Support Manager contract for the SSA, covered the benefits of becoming an EN and the application process. Two HVRP grantees, Volunteers of America- Florida and YWCA of Greater Harrisburg, shared their experiences integrating EN into their programs to serve their clients.
According to the SSA, in 2007 there were 434,000 Social Security beneficiaries who were service-connected disabled veterans rated 70-100% under age 65. Another 153,000 beneficiaries of Social Security were non-service-connected disabled veterans under age 65. There were also 1.54 million service-connected disabled veterans under age 65 whose disabilities were rated below 70%. These latter individuals likely have other non-service-related conditions or disabilities that qualify them for Social Security disability benefits.
Kristen Willard, MS leads the Ticket to Work Technical Assistance and Support Center (TASC), located at MAXIMUS. Willard began her career working in bio-behavioral research at Georgetown University Medical Center’s Lombardi Cancer Center. Ms. Willard managed a veterans services project at Inverness Technologies under the DVA Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service (VR&E) division to provide a range of rehabilitation and employment services to service members and veterans with service-connected disabilities. She also served as the EN Recruitment Lead for the Ticket Program, overseeing efforts to recruit a cadre of capable and responsive ENs to assist SSI and SSDI beneficiaries in choosing work on the road to self-sufficiency.
Meg Little is an Account Manager for the Ticket to Work Program working on the Operations Support Manager contract for the Social Security Administration. She specializes in recruitment and education of organizations on the benefits of becoming an Employment Network for Ticket. She has been with CESSI for two years and previously worked on recruitment and outreach. Prior to working with CESSI, she graduated from The Catholic University of America and worked in development for a non-profit.
David Scarborough is the TEE Manager at the Cocoa Veterans Transitional Housing Program with Volunteers of America Florida. He has been with Volunteers of America of Florida for the past five years and manages the Cocoa Program’s Training, Education and Employment services. He has previously worked as an Employment Specialist, working with DVR supported employment referrals and as the Job Developer for the Cocoa Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program. Recently retired, after serving 24 years in the military, David understands the necessity of providing these types of supportive services for our veterans, which results in an increased quality of life and a level of self-sufficiency.
William Reed, MS, LBE is the Director, Economic and Neighborhood Development at YWCA of Greater Harrisburg. Among his tasks is the management of an HVRP for the serving homeless Veterans and Veterans with disabilities using EBP-SE. The YWCA is also a Social Security Administration Ticket to Work Employment Network. As a 26 year Veteran himself, Bill is aware of the importance of a job in the life of a Veteran and is focused on delivering services that help Veterans engage in the workforce.
Baylee Crone, National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
John Rio, National Veterans Technical Assistance Center & Advocates for Human Potential