Tuesday, June 9, 2009

HOW does the Social Security Administration define "Substantial Gainful Employment"?

I often get asked this question by folks denied either SSDI or SSI. Here is how I recently answered an inquiry from someone who is 40 years old; who drives trucks; and who was denied SSDI.

In essence, the eligibility criteria for both SSDI and SSI is as follows: Are your symptoms so bad that they impair your normal daily living activities to such a degree that you cannot perform what Social Security calls "substantial gainful employment" - any employment for which your age (25 years under the age of 65) education, and past work experience qualify you to perform, for which you can earn - in 2009 - a minimum of $980/month. For SSI there are additional financial criteria.

In otherwords, SGA - Substantial Gainful Employment - is any occupation for which you can be paid about $12.25/hour, 20 hours/week. If you can do such work and earn such money, you are ineligible for either SSDI or SSI.

For a FREE ebooklet that explains this concept in great detail, please email me at this link to my website: www.disabilitykey.com/contact.htm


Friday, June 5, 2009

How Do I Discover my "Core Competencies"? AND, WHAT ARE THEY?

In these economic downturn times, lots of us are having a hard time by having our job end. OR, we are disabled; we are already on Disability Insurance, and want to give back to our community, but don't know how to do so.

Here are some weblinks that will allow you to better define your CORE COMPETENCIES - what is it that makes YOU special - different from all the others out there!!

Before you begin the job/volunteer search, it is important to prepare yourself by reminding yourself of your own "core competencies" - that is, what your strengths are; where your interests lie. Here are some links to assist you in that step of the job transition process.

1) Marcus Buckingham’s free 8 session course entitled: “Take Control of Your Career and Your Life” at Oprah’s website.

http://www.oprah.com/article/money/care ... ham_course

2) Welcome to the Self-Directed Search by Dr. John L. Holland


At this website, you can take the Assessment online for $9.95. For this, you will receive an 8 – 16 page personalized report. This printable assessment report provides a list of the occupations and fields of study that most closely match your interests.

3) Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) - This particular “personality scale” has been used for decades to assist people determine their skills, strengths, and gifts. This particular link – from “Personality Pathways” – is excellent in that it is focused on assisting the person in “exploring personality type and its applications”.


• You can take the MBTI test for free.
• There is a new section entitled “Career Choice and Career”


Working with a Disability

I continually receive requests for assistance about working with a disability. Below are some website links that contain tips about increasing your effectiveness as you continue to work with a disability. If you have additional questions after reading the following - and/or the links, please post them, and I'll see about coming up with an answer.

While the following website is a link to a Canadian site, the info it contains works well here in the US and the UK, Australia and New Zealand also!!


Accommodations — Working With Your Disabilities

Today, more job seekers with disabilities are entering the workforce. For persons with disabilities, finding and keeping work is usually no different than for persons without disabilities. However, there may be additional things to consider.

What is accommodation?

As a person with a disability, you may need certain accommodations such as working conditions, tools and technologies to help you become a successful employee. These accommodations will have to be discussed with your potential employer.

The changing workplace

Many businesses and organizations are exploring alternate working relationships and accommodations to meet the needs of workers. Accommodating the needs of persons with disabilities is no different.

The following workplace trends can benefit workers with disabilities:

1) Increased demands on productivity and effectiveness are leading to new technologies.

2) Working at home or from satellite offices is becoming common.

3) Tasks are being assigned on a temporary or permanent basis, based on skills, interests and abilities.

4) Workplaces are introducing larger computer monitors, improved lighting and ergonomic chairs to reduce physical strain.

Most accommodations are easy to introduce and cost very little. While some government funding is available, most employers consulted said that costs are minimal and the majority chose not to pursue funding.

Types of accommodations

Workplace accommodations take many forms:

* making workplace facilities accessible

* modifying work schedules

* restructuring the work

* acquiring or modifying equipment, software or devices

* providing support services or qualified assistants

* changing work locations

* retraining or reassigning employees.

Accommodation hints

You may already have some experience with accommodations in the workplace. Here are some additional strategies for job seekers:

Take care of your own needs, if possible, by providing the equipment or technology. This eliminates a potential stumbling block to employers who are considering your application.

Be open, honest and clear. Explain what your specific needs are. Don't expect your employer or co-workers to anticipate them.

Know how much it costs to provide physical accommodations you need and where they can be purchased.

Know what funding is available for accommodations and let your potential employer know about it and how to access it.

Offer solutions, not just what you can or cannot do. Note: if you want a free e-book How-To do this, please email me at csmagura@yahoo.com. I also have one for your employer about how best to help you.

Make it work

It is estimated that the majority of job accommodations required for persons with disabilities can be made for less than $500. Know the facts when you present your case. Show employers the solution. It will be more beneficial to you and them than only presenting the challenges.
Whether you are looking for full-time or part-time work or exploring opportunities through volunteering or self-employment, the right work situation is out there waiting to be found.

Other Relevant Tips

Plan for Success — A Tip for Job Seekers with Disabilities
Talking About Invisible Disabilities
For more, visit the TIPS home page at http://www.alis.gov.ab.ca/tips

Additional Reading
Employment Series for Persons with Disabilities: Tips for Job Seekers produced by Alberta Human Resources and Employment. For your copy:

download an on-line copy or order the publication from the e-CareerShop website at http://www.alis.gov.ab.ca/careershop

Additional Contact Information
Visit the Employment section of the ALIS website at http://www.alis.gov.ab.ca/employment/main.asp for some helpful hints. Click on Alberta Work Search On-Line, choose Special Groups and select People with Disabilities.
For more information, check out other Tip of the Week articles on career, learning and employment topics at http://www.alis.gov.ab.ca/tips/archive.asp
Last Updated: February 22, 2006

The following website provides FREE ASSISTANCE ON RESUMES; there are also a variety of great links.


National Council for Support of Disability Issues

Online Employment Counseling

If you would like to have individual online help, fill out the form below. Our Board Member Gary Schriver, will be happy to assist you. Gary is a professional in the vocational rehabilitation field with a Masters in Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling and Human Resources. Gary is also a person with a disability.

Gary is willing to assist individuals with physical, developmental, psychological and emotional impairments reach one's highest level of vocational, physical, psychological, social, educational, and economic potential. [b]These services are without cost to you.

Areas of Assistance Provided
Resume Consulting
Interviewing Assistance
Job Readiness Assessment
Career Counseling
Job Placement Strategies

Also, many “on topic” links from this website for people working, or wanting to work, with a disability.

Hope that these are of assistance to you!! AND, if you have any additional suggestions, please leave a comment.