During the first week of June I had the pleasure of attending an Annual Meeting regarding supported employment (SE) in Madison, Wisconsin. During the meeting I attended a workshop mostly of peer providers. Like any other social movement the burden of systematic change is on the people themselves who are facing social, economic, and political injustice. As service recipients we are collectively and individually capable of pursuing work and careers. Competitive work to prevent premature social security and to timely exit premature social security. Policing ourselves and collaborating with others could be an empowering cultural shift.
We can overtime strengthen our voice and respect from others. This can be achieved by [us] working gainfully as often as possible. By promoting employment it chips away at people often characterized as one of our most “vulnerable citizens.” For example, I was provided at the age of 26 to fill out a social security application by a well-intentioned provider. I was living with my parents and I did not need the “cash” benefit. Below are some action step guidelines not limited to people living with mental illness and addiction concerns:
1. Strengthen family support, i.e. housing shortage
2. Build diverse healthy relationships
3. Maintain natural supports
4. Work First Mindset- rather than premature social security
5. Social security applications as a last resort
6. Social Security- create individualized benefit plans
7. Social Security- criteria on spending premature social security
George H. Brice, Jr.