This month’s News and Views celebrates U.S. Army veteran Renate Merritt. Renate found her way back to work with the help of Social Security’s Ticket to Work program. After her military service, Renate worked as an accountant until a series of devastating events changed her life.
“Everything happened at once,” she recalls. “I got divorced after being married for 30 years. Then I had an accident and broke my foot — a severe break that prevented me from walking or driving.” A mental breakdown and a seizure followed, immobilizing her. “It was a very…dark period. I was a mess.”
Renate left her job and got Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) while healing and getting physical and mental health treatment. When the dark cloud began to lift, Renate was concerned about finding work as a 57-year-old with multiple disabilities.
“How would I explain being out of work for three years? I couldn’t get a reference from my last employer because of the hard time I went through,” she says. “Doesn’t everyone have their moments? Does one moment in time when I had a breakdown erase 30 years of experience as a loyal and effective employee? I didn’t know what I was going to do.”
Renate needed help. Who would give her a chance after she had been out of work for so long? To find out, read Renate’s full story.
About Ticket to Work
Social Security’s Ticket to Work program supports career development for people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits (SSI or SSDI) and want to work. The Ticket program is free and voluntary. It helps people with disabilities move toward financial independence and connects them with the services and support they need to succeed in the workforce.
To learn more about Ticket to Work, visit www.socialsecurity.gov/work and contact the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 (Voice) or 866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket to Work Find Help tool.