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Alexendria, who acahieved independence through the Ticket To Work program, is shown at work as a realtor.

Finding Independence Through Ticket To Work

Helping people find their dream home is Alexandria’s dream job. 

A licensed Realtor since 2022, Alexandria, 38, is a natural sales agent—equipped with a bright, affable demeanor; a passion for serving others; and a deeply personal understanding of what home means. 

Yet her successful career in Realty wasn’t guaranteed. Alexandria, who lives with vision loss, feared that transitioning from Social Security to self-employment could threaten her disability benefits and leave her economically disadvantaged. That’s when a Google search led her to Ability Beyond. 

Through our Ticket to Work program—designed to uplift adults like Alexandria as they transition to independence—Alexandria found expert guidance and a compassionate support system as she charted a new path forward. 

“Ability Beyond has been with me through so much, providing emotional and practical support,” Alexandria said. “Now I’m home on a team that I love, with a company that I love—and it’s just amazing.”

Inclusion in the workplace

Today Alexandria is making a name for herself at Keller Williams Coastal and Lakes & Mountains Realty in Portsmouth, N.H., where she’s “the oil in the engine” for the branch:  an Inside Sales Agent. 

In this role, the woman who once experienced homelessness is the first point of contact for qualified buyers and sellers in Maine and New Hampshire, helping field agents generate leads and connect people with life-changing opportunities. 

“A home means stability,” Alexandria said. “When you don’t have a home, it’s one of the lower points of your life. When you do have a home, everything comes together. You feel free.” 

Freedom also comes from an inclusive, uplifting workplace, and Alexandria said that’s what she found at Keller Williams. 

“I’m not treated as someone with vision loss,” she said. “I’m treated as a Realtor.”

That’s the Ticket

Stories like Alexandria’s are what Ticket to Work is all about, said the program’s manager Kevin Cooper. 

He calls it a “lifeline” for people receiving disability cash benefits, established by an act of Congress in 1999 to help adults on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) re-enter the workforce with high-paying jobs.

At that time, the rate of re-entry was just 1%—largely because people were scared, as Alexandria expressed, to compromise their benefits during the transition to employment. 

“99%—think of all that talent,” Kevin said. “We’re talking about retail experts, lawyers, nurses, doctors, aerospace engineers—folks with so many skills that are stuck at home and isolated because the service systems in each state can be mind-numbingly confusing to navigate. If you don’t ask the right questions, you’re not going to get the right answers.”

Kevin and his team are there to provide answers when job-seekers like Alexandria reach out. In fact, since 2019, the Ticket to Work program at Ability Beyond has grown astronomically, from serving six or seven clients per year to serving hundreds of people from virtually every state in the country. 

“Ticket to Work puts you on a path where you don’t have to fear independence,” Alexandria said. “When I was just getting started, there was this fear of, ‘Can I do this? What if something unexpected happens?’ With Ability Beyond, I knew I could test the waters—trying to work, and be my own person with a disability—without losing my safety net.”

Career growth at her fingertips

This year, Alexandria’s on track to serve 20 families as a Realtor—a.k.a., to become a “capper” at Keller Williams, meaning that she’s cleared her agency fees and can work on 100% commission. That’s down to talent, hard work, and a life-changing piece of technology that Ability Beyond provided through our Money Club.

The refreshable Braille display—which retails over $3,500—has put Alexandria on an even playing field with other Realtors when she’s making calls from her real estate prospect list. Simply put, the display allows her to read the listing addresses with her fingers while delivering a sales script at the same time. Before she had the Braille display, she relied on an audio device that would read information to her—making it hard to focus on her client and deliver the best customer service. Now she’s building so much speed and confidence in her work that she hopes to become a field agent one day.

“I would tell anyone with a disability:  anything is possible,” she said. “It’s just about believing in yourself, letting go of limiting thoughts, and finding people who will help you.”

Take Action

Dozens of people take the first step to independence each month by contacting our Ticket To Work team. Learn more about what they can do for you today!

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