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In This Issue
Employment Conference
SSDI: A true story
Volunteering leads to employment
5 benefits to volunteering
We asked, you answered
Appealing SSDI decisions
Save the date
Greater Delaware Valley MS Employment Conference
Saturday, March 12
South Jersey

Build your employment toolkit at our first-ever employment conference for people living with MS.
Highlights of the day will include:
>Keynote from Phil Rumrill, the foremost authority on employment and MS
>Breakout sessions addressing networking; resume building; interview tips; symptom management; receiving SSDI and returning to work; and legal rights
>Mini job fair with prospective employers and service providers including SSDI attorneys and representatives from state departments of vocational rehabilitation
 >Lunch panel discussion featuring professionals with MS who will share their stories
Look for more details in the next issue of our MSConnection chapter newsletter.
SSDI: A true story
Frank Leonetti
Figuring out how to feel productive while receiving SSDI benefits can be a real challenge.

Fatigue and cognition difficulties forced Frank Leonetti to leave the workforce years ago. Then, he recently was offered the opportunity to answer phones and do basic office work at the Client Assistance Program (CAP), an advocacy program for people with disabilities who are trying to get work-related help.

Frank now works eight hours a week - a great situation that allows him to feel productive while working within his MS symptoms and SSDI rules.
Chapter receives 4-star charity rating
Quick Links
October: National Disability Employment Awareness Month
Congress has designated October each year as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). October is a time to refocus our efforts and rededicate ourselves to the importance of equal access and fair opportunities for everyone in the workforce. People with disabilities are a vital part of our nation and they contribute invaluable talent, skills, and rich diversity to our workforce.
To learn more about NDEAM, please visit the following sites:
Volunteering can be a direct route to employment 

Many times when individuals seek advice from a career counselor, they ignore the idea of volunteering because it does not provide a paycheck. Volunteering is often something people think about doing after they find employment. However, volunteering has multiple Gaylebenefits during the job hunt and can lead to a job with pay.

Gayle began volunteering with the Society after nearly a year of job hunting left her bored and depressed. Her hard work eventually led to a part-time administrative assistant job. Click here to read more of Gayle's story.
Top five benefits to volunteering while searching for employment 

1. Volunteering looks great on a resume. Not only can it bridge the gap between paid jobs, but it looks great to employers. It shows them that you are someone with a passion for work and see more than a paycheck as a reward.
2. Networking. Focus your volunteer work on your current or new career path. Network with fellow volunteers, as people may have contacts they could refer you to which could ultimately lead to paid employment.
3. Self-worth. Volunteering is not only a great way to give back, but it can help enhance your self-esteem by making you feel connected, productive and appreciated.
4. Structure. Volunteer work is a great way to keep your day structured and keep you motivated.
5. Test your skills. Volunteering gives individuals a perfect opportunity to test out old or new skills. Explore new career ideas and think outside the box!
We asked, you answered
56 individuals responded to our employment needs survey. Of the total number of respondents 46% reported they were currently working (but half of those were concerned about their job), 23.2% stated they were unemployed due to their MS and 25% stated they wanted to work but were not sure what they could do.
The reason most listed for not working was fatigue. Other reasons included pain, cognitive difficulties, depression, mobility concerns and more. The top four areas that participants marked as an interest were stress management, symptom management, assistance with legal rights and understanding health insurance.
We would like to thank everyone who participated in the survey. We value your opinion and will consider the results when shaping future employment events. Be sure to check our website regularly for upcoming employment and health insurance programs.
If you are interested in learning more about the results or upcoming employment programs, please contact Christina Forster at
Five easy tips for appealing an unfavorable SSDI decision 

1. Don't panic. Just because Social Security denied your initial application for benefits, this does not mean you do not have a disability under its rules. Approximately 62% of Social Security disability claims filed nationwide are denied on the initial application.
2. Appeal within the time limit. If you receive an unfavorable decision, it is important that you send in a written appeal within 60 days of getting the decision. If you do not appeal within the time limit, you may lose your right to have social security's decision reconsidered.
3. Review your Social Security file. Make sure that it contains medical records from all of the health-care providers who treat you for your multiple sclerosis and any other disabilities you may have.
4. Prepare for your hearing. It is important to think about your disability and how it impacts you before the day of your hearing.
5. You are not alone. Even though you are not Jamie Ray-Leonettirequired to have an attorney to file a social security appeal, it is often helpful to have one. 

Click here for more SSDI appeals advice from Jamie Ray-Leonetti, Esq., a partner in the law firm Pennington Ray-Leonetti. Her practice focuses on social security disability appeals, employment discrimination and other disability-related issues.