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Thursday, September 15, 2016

My Ticket to Work Journey as a California Resident

***This is the first in a six-part series about what really happens to those who sign up for Ticket to Work (TTW).***
For the past three years, I have been dealing with reproductive cancer.  Thanks to super-strong chemo, I've been in remission for more than two years.  However, the after-effects have left me drained and with the hysterectomy the good ol' docs chose for me as the first step in removing the cells, sometimes I wake up fatigued.

But I wanted to resume life ASAP and this means going back to work. Before, my freelance gigs took care of the basics but a serious health matter will change anyone's mindset about going to work for the man.  School financial aid helped out with the incidentals.

So I get a call from a toll-free number one Sunday evening and the recording states I should call another number to speak with someone about going back to work while receiving SSDI.  No obligation.  The next day, I reached someone who said they would send a list of prospects that cover my area and feel free to call if I have any questions or concerns.

A week or so later, I get a huge book in the mail.  I go with people that are local (Los Angeles) to me and it does not go well.  The first person I contact sounds okay but when I ask exactly where his Carson (the nearest to me) office is, he says that he can't give me the cross-streets, but Google can.  Uh...no thanks!

The other places, like Goodwill, no longer participate in the program or, when I leave a voicemail message, I don't get a call back.  However, there is a little light around the corner...
Either through online research or a TTW rep, I learned that the state Vocational Rehab participates in the program.  Since I didn't have a car, I was fortunate to find an office near my home.  I call, attend an orientation and fill out my life story for the prospective caseworker.

I liked this because they were familiar with my hospital situation (I don't have a regular doctor) and could work with me since I had no criminal history and fair credit.  However, when I met my caseworker, there were many surprises to be had.

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