CareerACCESS Takes Over Washington, DC

August 8, 2016

CareerACCESS took over Washington, DC in July and reached new milestones!

CareerACCESS has found a federal agency that wants to be its lead agency. Bob Williams, the Deputy Commissioner of the Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living, stated at four different events that his agency will do all they can to help pilot CareerACCESS. At an event with people from CareerACCESS, Bob had ten of his staff learn why CareerACCESS was important. As the keynote speaker at the closing plenary, Bob stated his commitment to CareerACCESS and at a NCIL board meeting he said that Annette Shea will be our liaison. Right after the board meeting, Bob met with some of us to strategize steps.

CareerACCESS July 2016 Newsletter

July 13, 2016

June was an exciting month for the CareerACCESS initiative!

Outreach & States Activity

The current Senate appropriations bill that is making its way through Congress has provisions that could benefit CareerACCESS. In addition, advocates in Michigan, Vermont, and Massachusetts are leading the charge to pilot CareerACCESS, and continue to work towards its implementation in their states.

CareerACCESS Fall 2015 Progress Report

October 5, 2015

What is CareerACCESS?

CareerACCESS is a career-building alternative to the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program for young adults with disabilities, ages 18-30.

It is a community-driven proposed program to reform the current Social Security Administration’s Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI) rules so that young adults with disabilities can work and achieve their full potential without risking losing their disability benefits.

CareerACCESS at WID’s 2015 Disability Policy Summit

September 24, 2015

Join CareerACCESS at the World Institute on Disability’s Disability Policy Summit & Ever Widening Circle on Thursday, October 15, 2015. The summit will take place from 1:30-5:30pm (PT) in Berkeley, CA.

Neil Jacobson and Bryon MacDonald, CareerACCESS team members, will be speaking  about the need to change the definition of disability in public policy.

For more info, visit:

Watch the YO! Disabled & Proud Webinar Training on Youth Achieving CareerACCESS

August 14, 2015

Webinar: Youth Achieving CareerACCESS - Hosted by CareerACCESS and YO! Disabled and Proud

Webinar: Youth Achieving CareerACCESS – Hosted by CareerACCESS and YO! Disabled and Proud

The National Council on Independent Living, World Institute on Disability, Policyworks, and YO! Disabled & Proud recently presented a discussion on advocating for improved Social Security policies for working people with disabilities.

If you are someone with a disability who uses benefits like SSI or Medi-Cal, and you want to have a job, it can be hard and stressful because of the complicated rules and lack of help available to understand it all. Without the right support, you could lose your benefit or health care.

CareerACCESS Goes to Washington

August 3, 2015

The CareerACCESS team is proud to share that we spent a productive, rewarding week in Washington, D.C. connecting with policymakers, youth activists, and supporters of Social Security reform.

NCIL workshop panel

From left to right, Dara Baldwin, Ed Lorenzen, Andy Arias, Angel Miles, Daniel Mellenthin, Rebecca Cokley, and Justin Harford. All are seated at a table in the midst of presenting during a NCIL workshop.

Humans of SSI

June 3, 2015

CareerACCESS recently launched a new project called Humans of SSI that aims to shed light on the challenges faced by people with disabilities on SSI. We hope that Humans of SSI will make these challenges visible to the rest of society and support our mission to reform social security benefits’ policies for SSI recipients to encourage and allow for financial independence and career advancement.

Humans of SSI LogoHumans of SSI Logo

Highlights of the CareerACCESS Twitter Chat on Social Security Reform

June 1, 2015

Highlights of the CareerACCESS Twitter Chat on Social Security Reform

CareerACCESS hosted a lively and successful Twitter chat on the topic of Social Security Reform. Participants shared key insights about what is needed to improve current policies for the disability community. To all who participate, thank you! Below, you can read through the highlights of the Twitter chat and gather some important insights.

Join the CareerACCESS Twitter Chat on #SocialSecurityReform!

May 12, 2015

Twitter Chat on Social Security Reform and CareerACCESS

Get engaged and join CareerACCESS as we host a Twitter chat where you can share your stories, thoughts, and ideas about the barriers created for people with disabilities by current Social Security policies.

NCIL 2015 Conference’s Legislative & Advocacy Workshop Session

April 27, 2015

Image: E-flyer; "Join us at NCIL Conference's Legislative & Advocacy Workshop Session: "Reforming Social Security's Definition of Disability" 7/27/2015 1:00pm-2:15pm Grand Hyatt Ballroom Washington D.C. For more info:"

Our CareerACCESS Update – Spring 2015

March 11, 2015

CareerACCESS Logo

Our CareerACCESS Update – Spring 2015

Young Adults with Disabilities Join CareerACCESS Core Team

The CareerACCESS Core Team has grown to include young adults with disabilities who are passionate about advocating for changes to Social Security policies. Welcome to Emily Ladau, Andy Arias, and Daniel Mellenthin!

CareerACCESS is looking for an intern!

January 8, 2015

A collaboration of agencies, led by The World Institute on Disability, is looking for a young adult with disabilities to intern with us assisting to promote CareerACCESS.

CareerACCESS pilot programs will be created by changes in federal policy aimed at significantly increasing the employment rate of people with disabilities by expecting young adults with disabilities ages 18 through 30 to work. CareerACCESS will provide required support and services recognizing that disability benefits are offsets to the high costs of disability rather than subsidies for the inability to work.

Youth and CareerACCESS: The Taste Test

August 19, 2014

By Justin Harford

During our week at the 2014 conference of the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) advocating for CareerACCESS, a series of programs and supports designed to make it easier for young adults with disabilities to find and hold a job, it was evident that it had the support of those for whom it was designed. In fact,  a group of approximately 10 such young adults, with backgrounds in law, advocacy, the nonprofit sector, and research enthusiastically joined up with the CareerACCESS initiative when they learned what it was about. Yet based on many conversations that the CareerAccess team had with directors of government agencies, think tanks and nonprofits it was also evident that the higher-ups would need to hear from those supporters before anything could move forward.

NCIL Youth Lead the Way on CareerACCESS

August 12, 2014

The World Institute on Disability (WID), the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), and PolicyWorks have been working on CareerACCESS, a federal policy initiative that creates an alternative program for SSI youth that want to build careers.  NCIL youth introduced CareerACCESS to NCIL members at the 2013 NCIL Pre-Conference.

This year a larger number of NCIL youth and young adults have taken on new leadership roles on this issue; the CareerACCESS reform momentum is building.

New CareerACCESS Summary Document!

June 12, 2014

Our team has put together an accessible PDF that explains all the aspects of the CareerACCESS initiative. Check it out and let us know what you think!

Your Voice and Your Story Are Needed Now!

March 24, 2014

CareerACCESS needs your voice and your story now!  We know that current SSI rules make it a challenge for a young person on SSI to try to build a career. Policymakers need to hear your voice and personal story.   Let us know how the current SSI benefits system has impacted your choices and attitudes about seeking employment.  Only you can give a face to this policy discussion… and the picture you paint with your words will be more powerful than pages of statistics and explanations.

SCDD Supports CareerACCESS!

March 21, 2014

California State Council on Developmental Disabilities (SCDD)'s Logo

California State Council on Developmental Disabilities (SCDD)’s Logo

CareerACCESS: A Springboard to Independence.

March 14, 2014

Why CareerACCESS?

Are you a young person with a disability who dreams of a career and independence?  Do you believe having a disability doesn’t disqualify you from having a career or limit your potential to participate or contribute to your community?  Do you want to earn money, build a career, and pursue your dreams?  Today, if you receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) from the Social Security Administration – you may not be able to do these things that your peers without disabilities take for granted.

Labor Day is no time to celebrate for people with disabilities

September 1, 2013


Labor Day is no time to celebrate for people with disabilities -Neil Jacobson, 9/1/2013, Miami Herald

I FIRMLY believe that all people must work — even those with disabilities. Like me. Work brings meaning to life, provides important social connections and allows people to provide economically for themselves and their families.

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