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Wednesday October 16, 2002

Jim Courtney, Press Officer

For Immediate Release

410-965-8904 FAX 410-966-9973


Social Security Online

SOCIAL SECURITY

News Release

Social Security Announces New Initiatives to Promote
Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities
(aquí en español)

Jo Anne Barnhart, Commissioner of Social Security, announced several new initiatives to assist people with disabilities who want to go to work. The initiatives, announced at the New Freedom Initiative Celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, include the Disability Program Navigator, a new position formed jointly with the Department of Labor, and "Ticket to Hire," a specialized referral network linking employers to job-seekers with disabilities. Also announced at the celebration was a new website--www.disabilityinfo.gov--an online resource for Americans with disabilities.

"Under President Bush’s New Freedom Initiative, the Social Security Administration is providing greater opportunities for people with disabilities to stay connected to the workforce," said Commissioner Barnhart. "SSA is committed to making positive changes in the lives of millions of Americans."

The Navigators will link people with disabilities who visit the Department of Labor’s One-Stop Career Centers with employers and benefit planning assistance and outreach organizations. The Navigators, who will work in the One-Stops, also will provide information on Social Security’s work incentives, employment networks and the Ticket to Work program.

The Ticket to Work program, currently available in 13 states, will be available in 20 additional states starting in November. The Ticket program provides Social Security and Supplemental Security Income beneficiaries with more choices and expanded opportunities to help them go to work. Upon receiving a Ticket from Social Security, individuals may give it to an employment network to obtain free vocational rehabilitation, job training, and other support services. The Ticket program, launched in February 2002, will be available nationwide by January of 2004.

As an offshoot of Ticket to Work, a new service has been developed with the Department of Labor to help employers locate and recruit skilled employment candidates with disabilities. The service, "Ticket to Hire," is a free, national referral service for employers to recruit workers from the Ticket to Work program. "Ticket to Hire" specialists, available at 1-866-TTW-HIRE (1-866-889-4473), will answer questions about the Ticket to Work program. Go to www.ssa.gov/work/Ticket/TicketHire.html to find out more about Ticket to Hire.

Please visit www.ssa.gov for more information about Social Security’s new disability initiatives, the Ticket to Work program and more.

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SSA Press Office 449 Altmeyer Bldg. 6401 Security Blvd. Baltimore, MD 21235
410-965-8904 FAX 410-966-9973

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