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  • December 12, 2019 10:30 AM | Deleted user

    By Amy Wallish, NENA Director

    Chief Executive Officer, Full Circle Employment Solutions LLC


    In case you missed the Social Security email earlier this fall or haven’t been on the choosework.ssa.gov website recently, Social Security has made several enhancements to this section. Hopefully, these enhancements will help users more easily find the information they are searching for. Here is a list of some of the updates.

    Find Help Direct Search page: You have expanded filters for searching. You can now search by specific services, disabilities, languages or service delivery mode. You can still search by zip code, state and provider type. You now have the option to pin up to 3 providers to compare. Look for the little pushpin symbol on the left side of each EN name. By each provider name there are added descriptor badges such as benefits counselor and both in-person and virtual.

    Service Provider Profile card:

    • “Time as an EN” section has been updated so the calculation is done more accurately.
    • The Ticket Assignment count is now updated monthly.
    • A Benefits Counselor badge has been added.
    • The Services/Features section was reformatted for easier reading.
    For ENs with multiple office locations:
    • If there is no zip code used in the search, the results will show alphabetically.
    • If the zip code is used in the search, the result will be the nearest office to the zip code.
    • Additional offices can be viewed within the Service Provider Profile card.

    Take time now to review these changes. You should also review your profile regularly and especially after Social Security does any updates to make sure your profile is still accurate. There are times when things might have changed due to system updates. I’d suggest you review your profile every 1-2 months.  

    Did you also know that you can add a marketing statement to your profile highlighting your services? You can use Form 1374: Ticket Program Agreement Change Form and add the marketing statement in Section 5: Additional information. Visit yourtickettowork.ssa.gov for this and other forms, located in the Forms section. This form can be used to request any other changes that you need to make based on reviewing your profile.

    On a final note, if you want to pull a list of ENs from the Find Help tool, you can do this by scrolling to the very end of the page where you can select Save/Print. You’ll then select one of the three options and click ok. I prefer to use the third option, save results as a file, which produces an excel spreadsheet that you can then sort. Happy Navigating!


  • November 18, 2019 8:00 AM | Deleted user

    By Sarah Lyngdal, NENA Director

    Ticket to Work Program Manager
    Employment Resources, Inc.

    November is the month most people stop to think about what they’re thankful for. But studies show there are physical health, mental health, and social benefits to practicing gratitude regularly. Focusing on what we’re thankful for changes the way we think, and the benefits extend to all areas of our lives. I’ll briefly touch on a few of them.

    Relationships: Gratitude can improve our personal relationships. Grateful and positive people are magnetic, and other people want to be around them. Gratitude helps us feel more positive emotions; we become more empathetic, optimistic, compassionate and kind.

    Emotions: Gratitude reduces toxic emotions like envy, frustration, regret, and resentment while improving life satisfaction, self-esteem, and happiness. We have better self-control and make better decisions because we’re more patient and thoughtful.

    Physical Health: The practice of writing in a gratitude journal before bed promotes positive thinking which helps us sleep better and longer.

    CareersGratitude can help our careers. It helps us network, increases our productivity and improves our management skills. Expressing gratitude to employees, for example, increases employee motivation; we work harder when we feel appreciated.

    Gratitude is a mindset that can guide our interactions. We celebrate the wins instead of focusing solely on the losses. This is extremely important in the work we do. Our customers may feel embarrassed and disappointed about a job ending and they lose sight of any positives from their overall experience. The positives can be their accomplishments on the job, the recent experience they gained, the relationships they built, or confidence they gained in their ability to work. It doesn’t mean dismissing disappointment and sadness–we acknowledge those feelings, but then we move forward. If we change our mindsets to focus on the positives and gratitude, the conversation changes and that makes a difference in our relationships, happiness, stress levels and resilience.

    Ways to Cultivate Gratitude

    Say “thank you.” Meditate. Pray. Keep a gratitude journal. It doesn’t matter what activity you choose, and it doesn’t happen overnight. It takes consistent and intentional practice to change our frame of mind to one that focuses on gratitude.

    I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes— “Be thankful for what you have and you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never ever have enough”  Oprah Winfrey


  • October 17, 2019 12:30 PM | Deleted user

    By Judy Sanderson, NENA Director
    Director, Vocational Services
    Granite State Independent Living

    In this incredible age of social media, most ENs are using it to promote their organizations as much as possible. It is important, with limited time and money, to get the most out of what you are doing. For that reason, we want to pass along two ways to get more out of your business Facebook page for relatively small costs.

    These two ways are to 1) Actually post ads on Facebook; and 2) Boost a Facebook posting to specific audiences you may not otherwise reach. This article will provide an overview and actual links to where you can get the specific details to implement either or both.

    First, a word about PII and Facebook: Make sure your Facebook is set so that other people cannot post to your page to avoid possible PII violations.

    There are a number of reasons to pay for an ad or boost a post on Facebook. One is that there are 1.49 billion Facebook members (who click on the ads 22 billion times a year). You can target specific areas and people and the cost is reasonable.

    Posting Ads on Facebook:

    You can create a paid ad on Facebook using Facebook’s Ads Manager.

    Once you log in to this page, you’ll see a performance dashboard where all your campaigns will be listed, including the results they’ve driven for your Facebook page. Unless you’ve already created an ad for your Facebook page, this dashboard will be empty.

    To create a new campaign, tab over to the type of ad you want to create and click the green “Create” button to far left of these ad types. Ads Manager will prompt you to choose an objective for your campaign.

    Your next step is to configure your target audience. Facebook’s targeting criteria are accompanied by an audience definition gauge. This tool—located to the right of the audience targeting fields—takes all of your selected properties into consideration in order to come up with a potential reach number.

    Then comes the budget. Facebook allows you to set either a daily budget or a lifetime budget. Here’s how they differ from each other:

    Daily budget. This is set to run continuously throughout the day. Using a daily budget means that Facebook will pace your spending per day. The minimum daily budget for an ad set is $1.00 USD.

    Lifetime budget. If you’re looking to run your ad for a specified length of time, select a lifetime budget. This means Facebook will pace your spending over the time period you set for the ad to run.

    There will also be information on scheduling, optimization, pricing and some delivery options.

    Finally, you will get to create your ad. What it looks like will depend on your original objective. This option is broken down into two formats: Links and Carousels. Essentially, this means that you can either display a single image ad (Links) or a multi-image ad (Carousel) with three to five scrolling images at no additional cost.

    Some Recent Articles to Help You with the Nuts & Bolts of Advertising:

    Advertise on Facebook

    Facebook Paid Ad Checklist

    How to Advertise on Facebook


    Boosting Existing Posts:

    The second way to use Facebook is to boost already existing posts to specific audiences. This only works if you have a business Facebook page. This allows you to choose a specific post that you want to get out to those who may not otherwise be following your page.

    At the bottom right-hand side of the post, you will see a button that says, “boost post.” Click on that and it automatically gives you options of choosing your audience, total budget, duration, and payment method. You can use their recommended audience options or choose your own. Criteria such as zip code, age-range and others can be used. Once you have made your choices, you select “Boost” and your post will show up on the Facebook pages of the audience you selected. People who otherwise don’t follow you could be seeing positive stories about your agency, services, successes and more. The cost will depend on the size of the audience and duration of the ad. It can be less than $10-15.

    Click here for step-by-step directions for boosting.


  • August 29, 2019 8:00 PM | Deleted user

     We are pleased to welcome a guest writer this month—Cherie Takemoto, PhD, from New Editions Consulting, Inc. Cherie is the project director for the National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials, which operates through contract sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), under Contract No. ED-OSE-16-Q-0006.

    Cherie will be a featured guest at the NENA Quarterly Conference call on Wednesday, October 23rd at 3:00 pm EST.

    • Do you need current, reliable and accessible resources on a wide range of topics related to helping ticket holders find jobs?
    • Are you curious about what the technical assistance centers funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administrations are sharing with State VR agencies?
    • Are you looking for free training (some with CEUs or CRCs) on a wide variety of topics?

    The National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials (NCRTM) is the Rehabilitation Services Administration’s (RSA) central repository for training resources in vocational rehabilitation. The site features robust search capabilities, and most importantly, new resources. Site content includes high-quality training materials that cover a range of topics relevant to helping people with disabilities find and maintain jobs.

    The NCRTM produces a monthly electronic newsletter featuring upcoming (free) training events, new submissions, and a variety of rehabilitation-related topics. We also contribute to a regular segment on the VR Workforce Studio Podcast featuring resources related each month’s topic. Below are some examples resources highlighted in the most recent episode about a former Social Security recipient is now successfully employed at Hershey.

    My Money. The Florida Department of Financial Services created the My Money Program to provide educational lessons for individuals with developmental disabilities and important resources for family members and caregivers. Individuals can learn and practice financial skills at their own pace, using interactive games, activities and educational videos. Lessons focus on money basics, banks and credit unions, accounts, budgeting, government benefit programs and ways to find and keep employment. Parents, guardians and support providers of individuals with developmental disabilities can also access important information on teaching financial skills, government programs and information on the different ways to save and invest money.

    Policy Brief: Building State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency Benefits Planning Capacities. This policy brief describes how State VR agencies are using and can use benefits planning services, as a VR agency-funded service, to help SSDI and SSI beneficiaries address concerns and fears about the potential loss of cash benefits and healthcare benefits (i.e., Medicaid and/or Medicare) as they move into jobs paying substantial wages.

    VR Toolkit for SSI Youth: Tips, Checklists, and Tools to Support Successful Work Outcomes for SSI Youth. As you prepare youth to join the workforce of tomorrow, access to reliable and accessible information about benefits and earnings is essential—as is access to qualified benefits and work incentive planners. That’s what the Vocational Rehabilitation Practitioner’s Just-in-Time Toolkit is about. Each of the ten tools are based on information most essential to assist you in supporting youth who receive disability benefits and their families in navigating a path toward successful employment and includes specific knowledge needed to support a youth, and takes about five to ten minutes. If you choose, each tool also contains other links to test your knowledge, print out a one-page sheet of reminders or pursue further resources.

    Financial Empowerment. The National Disability Institute (NDI) provides training and technical assistance to improve the financial wellness of people across the spectrum of disability. Tools and resources include financial education curricula, financial education toolkits, quick reference guides and connections to experts in the field and NDI at this website.

    Money Smart – A Financial Education Program. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) FDIC’s Money Smart financial education program can help people of all ages enhance their financial skills and create positive banking relationships. Learn here about Money Smart tools and strategies that you can use to teach others, as well as tools you can use to learn on your own.

    Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center for Targeted Communities (E3T3 Webinar Series on Social Security Work Incentives. This RSA-funded center offers upcoming and archived webinars that offer CRC credits. (Click on the titles below to follow the links):


  • July 29, 2019 4:00 PM | Deleted user

    by David Leon, NENA Director

    Deputy Direct Workforce Programs,
    Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services

    Working with beneficiaries to transition their way off cash benefits requires a solid understanding of money principles and financial literacy.

    By understanding and coaching financial health and literacy, ENs can add another tool to their toolbox and build a stronger foundation to support beneficiaries.

    Financial stress may contribute to depression, insomnia and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, which in turn contribute to depression, insomnia and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Which in turn contribute to depression, insomnia…

    In 2013, SHRM reported that 47% of job applications included a credit check. The US Financial Diaries reported that more than 65% of families would prefer stability to increased wages. Inconsistent schedules on hourly wages and decreased access to employer-sponsored health insurance make it more difficult to predict both income and expense for poorer households. This leads people to prefer to keep things the same and hold on to the SSA cash benefit because it is predictable. Financial Fragility is the ability to cope with emergency expenses in a short timeframe. Assisting Ticket to Work clients in these areas may increase job stability and earnings over time.

    Our agency is currently sending several staff through an online program in Financial Social Work through the Center for Financial Social Work. Financial Social Work is an interactive and introspective, multidisciplinary approach that helps guide individuals facing financial distress. This holistic process enables participants to examine and improve their relationship with their money. Identifying the origins of a participant’s attitudes toward money encourages developing healthier monetary habits thereby leading to improved financial circumstances. There are five modules and certification upon completion.

    The Center for Financial Social Work also offers monthly webinars on various topics related to Financial Social Work. Whether or not your agency chooses to pursue this type of certification, there are many great and free web-based trainings on this topic. Last month’s webinar from the Financial Social Work program focused on money and mental health. Click here to access the replay. Ultimately, supporting beneficiaries to achieve their goal of financial independence and stability requires more than helping them achieve SGA. They need to be excited and prepared for a future of self-support without Social Security cash benefits.


  • June 13, 2019 9:30 AM | Deleted user

    By Heather Miller, NENA Director

    Ticket to Work Manager, Easterseals Nebraska


    I’ll be honest. I’m a closet introvert. The idea of going to a national conference by myself to meet with a large group of people I’ve never met in a city I’ve never visited is an extremely frightening thing for me. If I’ve spent any amount of time with you in person or on the phone, you probably didn’t notice. I hope you didn’t notice! I’ve spent decades trying to hide it and even longer trying to make myself an extrovert. It’s never going to happen. We are who we are, but I can share how I’ve worked to overcome it and make an offer to any closet introverts out there who may be considering attending NENA’s National Training Conference in September.

    1. If you are feeling uneasy about attending due to your “introverted-ness,” please find me when you arrive or reach out to me before the conference. I’ve been there. I’ve felt what you’re feeling, and it’s not fun. If you don’t want to sit at a table alone for breakfast or lunch, please find me and take a seat!
    2. Networking doesn’t have to be done in person. Start by taking advantage of our NENA committees. Any member can participate in any of the committees. This will be a much smaller group of people you’ll quickly get to know during monthly conference calls.
    3. Participate in our Quarterly Teleconferences and monthly Ticket Talks. Don’t worry, I won’t make you speak if you’re not comfortable speaking. I suspect, though, after a few meetings, you’ll feel comfortable enough to speak up. If not, that’s ok too!
    4. Participate in conference networking events. This year’s conference is packed full of them!

      *Tuesday, September 24th – Be on the lookout for an informal gathering with the NENA Board this evening.
      *Wednesday, September 25th – VIP Reception for session presenters and active committee members. This is a great way to meet other NENA members in a smaller setting. If you’ve been invited, attend! As a bonus, the food and drinks are always phenomenal.
      *Thursday, September 26th – Beauregard–Keyes House and Garden Museum Tour. Look for more information to come regarding this evening social event. Check out the beautiful museum at www.bkhouse.org.

      Also look for information posted during the conference. The planning committee is going to have an area where attendees can list when/where/what they’ll be doing during the down times. Believe me, this group of professionals always has an open-door policy!

    I hope to see as many of you as I can in New Orleans this year! It’s no secret that this is one of my favorite cities to visit. If you’re feeling lost, come find me or any NENA Board Member. With this group, you’ll be “family” before you know it!


  • March 11, 2015 8:33 AM | Anonymous

    Using the blog gadget, you can add a blog to your Wild Apricot site to provide timely updates and information to your membership.

    By using Recent blog posts, you can display a list of the most recent blog posts, with links to the full posts. The list will include the date of each post and the name of the poster – with the name linking to their profile if available.

    For instructions on inserting, moving, and deleting gadgets, see Gadgets.

  • March 11, 2015 7:36 AM | Anonymous

    You can create as many different blogs as you wish. You can limit access to a blog by placing it on a restricted page. If you make the page public, you can still use the blog gadget settings to control functionality for visitors and members.

    You can read more about setting up blogs on our Blog help page.

    If you are looking on more information on how to use blog, you can find it here.

  • March 11, 2015 6:37 AM | Anonymous

    This is another sample blog entry. Depending on your readers' access permissions, they can comment on your posts, and reply to comments.

    You can learn more about setting up blog pages on our Blog help page.

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The National Employment Network Association (NENA) serves Employment Networks (ENs), American Job Centers (AJCs), State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies (SVRAs) and other Stakeholders involved in the Social Security Administration's Ticket to Work and Self-Sufficiency Program.

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