To the Families of Transitioning Youth:
Congratulations, your child/young adult has succeeded thus far on a pathway toward adulthood. However, now there are many new challenges they will face. Research has examined transition experiences of young adults with severe disabilities during their last year of high school. Students were remarkably articulate about plans following graduation but had few opportunities to meaningfully fulfill them. Professionals approached transition by matching needs to available programs; however, some of these programs fostered dependency and denied students a genuine opportunity to achieve full adult status.
Effective transition from school to the adult community and employment for youth with disabilities requires knowledge of an array of community agencies and organizations. This can be a daunting time for parents and young adults if one is unaware of the available resources and professionals to aid with the process. Often the most significant barrier faced when considering career options including work is lack of accurate information and fear of the potential loss of health care coverage and social security disability benefits. It is essential to dispel the fears by promoting education about benefits income and resource eligibility rules under other programs such as Housing, Foodstamps, and TennCare. Educating families and youth about work incentive options and providing support often eliminates the immobilizing fear.
WorkAbleTN staff have vast experience in various areas. They have been thoroughly trained to provide accurate, timely and understandable information about SSA work incentives and Ticket to Work. They provide long-term counseling about work incentives and the effect of work on other Federal, State, and local benefit programs and employment supports over lifetime spans. Staff understands the complexity of work incentives, disability support systems and poverty reduction programs. They are sought by other professionals in the Tennessee Disability Community as expert resources to prevent looming mishaps, e.g. loss of benefits, overpayments.
Younger individuals with disabilities are not always encouraged to consider summer and part-time jobs, build employment resumes, plan for an economically secure future, or develop self-concepts as employable individuals. We are excited to report that Tennessee is in the forefront of changing this landscape. We invite families and youth to explore the possibilities and we are here to assist. Our services are Free!