For years Kristi Cule wanted a job but she didn’t look for one. She was told that if she worked, her income would reduce her husband Rick’s Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Eventually, Kristi got tired of sitting at home alone and living off of Rick’s small SSI check and $60.00 in food stamps that never lasted an entire month.
With the help of a benefits planner and some friends, Kristi learned that she could work. She also learned that she needed to work to maintain her benefits. Now, Kristi no longer gets an SSI check and she does not care. She would much rather be working and helping people instead of sitting at home alone while Rick is working.
Kristi loves her job at Albertsons. When Kristi started working at Albertsons last year, she only worked about 10 hours a week. As she became better at her job, her hours quickly increased. Within two months, she was working over 20 hours per week.
Now, she works four to five hours a day, five days a week. Her job duties include bagging groceries, loading them in cars, bringing in carts, and maintaining the bottle room. She restocks the bathrooms as needed and keeps them clean, sweeping the floors each hour. She also cleans the dairy and frozen food cases and puts returned items back on the shelves. On March 27th, 2013 Kristi celebrated her one-year anniversary working at the best job she has ever had.
When asked what she likes best about her job, Kristi says “Spending time with customers and talking to them. I give them solutions when we might not have what they are looking for. I can offer a similar product.”
What does Kristi do with her paycheck? When asked what she does with the money she earns, Kristi says she saves a little each payday and then pays for food, household goods and bills. She also saves money for insurance and her hearing aides. Working has greatly improved her quality of life. She is very happy to go to work each day and to help customers.
Both Kristi and her husband Rick contribute to their communities by working. Rick works at Walgreens. As tax payers and dedicated employees, both Kristi and Rick demonstrate daily that hiring someone with a disability is a great way to get loyal, qualified help. Kristi said she wishes every business would hire someone with a disability to help them become important members of the community.