Dear Special Education Director:

Enrollment onto the disability benefit programs managed by the Social Security Administration (SSA) has continued to increase despite improvements in health care, accessibility, and expansion of community services. Most applicants for SSA benefits turn to this option as a final solution when employment seems impossible.

It is our contention that when a young adult with a disability receives or is applying for SSA benefits, this has a profound impact on current actions and future goals in respect to career planning. The primary criteria for establishing SSA eligibility is demonstrating an inability to earn “substantial gainful activity,” essentially meaning that the individual must prove that he or she is not able to work. It is possible that parents and/or professional service providers may be concerned that any actions that point towards employment will be interpreted as not qualifying or maintaining eligibility for SSA benefits, thus engaging in paid employment opportunities is often discouraged.

To complement job placement and supported employment programs, AHEDD has been providing work incentive counseling through a cooperative agreement with the Social Security Administration since 2001 and has expanded this initiative through foundation grants , specifically targeting young adults, beginning at age 14. In order to establish a baseline for this project and also to solicit your interest in services, we invite you to respond to this survey.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation! Please contact me at (717) 763-0968 ext. 90118 or john.miller@ahedd.org with any questions about this initiative.


John J. Miller
Project Director