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Career Advice: “Change Can Be a Very Good Thing”

In Benefits and Employment Articles, Blog, Featured, News, Ticket to Work Articles by eri

On a day off you might find Lori in a canoe on a lake, fishing, or sitting with a cup of coffee just enjoying a sunny day. After many years of unexpected changes and challenging situations, she enjoys her life and looks forward to more opportunities to learn and grow.

When asked what advice she would give to someone thinking about making a career change, she says with a smile in her voice,

"You can do it. Change can be a very good thing."
Lori – ERI Plus Ticket to Work Participant

Unexpected Career Growth

Lori tore her rotator cuff lifting a heavy bag while working. She was in her 50s and had always worked physically demanding jobs. After her work injury and surgery she wasn’t sure what she’d be able to do. She began working with the Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) to explore career options, and applied for and began receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Lori decided to go grow her career. She went back to school to become a human resource professional, and after finishing school and establishing a stable career in human resources she began participating in Ticket to Work.

Ticket to Work: Increasing Financial Independence

Ticket to Work is a Social Security program for people between 18 – 64 who receive SSI or SSDI and want to increase their income and work off disability cash benefits. It provides free, ongoing support for growing a career while managing ongoing benefit needs.

Lori worked with Sarah Lyngdal, ERI’s Ticket to Work Program Manager, for several years as she grew her career, managed her benefit needs, and increased her financial independence. Sarah provided her with benefits counseling services, set up voluntary tax withholdings from her SSDI payment, and answered questions about benefits as they came up.


Ticket to Work is for people who want to increase their income and work off disability cash benefits. People who meet these requirements may be eligible:

  • receive Social Security disability benefits (SSDI or SSI) and
  • are between the ages of 18 and 64.


Ticket to Work provides a variety of services to support people reach their employment goals. Services could include help with:

  • creating a resume and cover letter
  • preparing for interviews
  • managing benefits and work incentives
  • planning for career advancement
  • getting needed support to keep a job
  • handling job change transitions
  • guidance on job accommodation
  • and more…

Some of the Best Years of Her Life

Lori looks back on those years of career change as being some of the best in her life. She says,

“I was in my 50s and didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. It was a real challenge. But I loved school. I like learning. If I can go back to school and start a new career in my 50s, just about anyone can do it.”
Lori – ERI Plus Ticket to Work Participant

Is a Career Change Right for You?

Making the decision to grow your career is a big step, and ERI PLUS is here to support you. Contact us to learn the next steps:

  • Visit ERI PLUS or call 800-710-9326.
  • You can also contact the national Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 866-833-2967 (TTY) or go online to Choose Work.

Learn more from SSA about the benefits of working with an Employment Network.