About Us

Founded in 2000 by M.J. Willard, a behavioral psychologist with 25 years experience in working with people with disabilities, AAATakeCharge recognizes that you should be in charge of your own work attempt.

If you earn enough from your employment that you can leave the benefit rolls, you can receive up to $14,000 in reimbursement of certain work related expenses over three years. You can choose to spend these funds on goods or services that help you remain employed or advance in your career. Transportation, health care, cell phone service, Internet access, child care, a computer, software, job coaching, training or education are some of the more popular expenditures. Our ultimate goal is to support employment that will help you on your journey to financial self-sufficiency and reduce your reliance on Social Security benefits. Learn more.

Where does AAATakeCharge obtain the money we use for reimbursements? It comes from the Social Security Administration. If you assign your Ticket to an Employment Network, or EN, and leave the benefit roles, then your earnings can trigger payments from the Social Security Administration to the EN that holds your Ticket. If you assign your Ticket to AAATakeCharge, then we pass a portion of what we receive back to you. You can only be reimbursed for products and services that help you enter or remain in the workforce. Learn more.

Just keep in mind that you MUST leave the benefit roles to trigger reimbursements. The details of how those reimbursements are structured can be found in our FAQs.

AAATakeCharge was the first EN in the country to take this client directed services approach. We provide more reimbursements than any other Ticket to Work provider.

Meet the Team

MJ Willard

MJ Willard

Founder

MJ Willard is a psychologist with more than 25 years’ experience in working with people with disabilities as a clinician, a researcher at Einstein College of Medicine and Tufts New England Medical School, and as a program administer. She founded TakeCharge in 2000 which became the first Social Security approved Employment Network in the country. Her doctorate from Boston University is in Behavioral Psychology.
Jackie Esparza

Jackie Esparza

Call Center Director

Jackie Esparza joined TakeCharge in 2011.  Her experience in handling customer service, reimbursements and applications prepared her for her current role as Call Center Director.  Helping family members navigate the Social Security system has given Jackie a better understanding of why choosing one’s own form of support is so important to those struggling to achieve self- sufficiency.

Kristen Salazar

Kristen Salazar

Director TakeCharge Operations

Kristen Salazar has managed TakeCharge operations since 2007. She has over 15 years of experience in working with people with disabilities who are seeking self-sufficiency through employment. A graduate of Wayland Baptist University, Kristen has a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and a Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Education.
Susan Malardino

Susan Malardino

Director of Reimbursements

Susan Malardino has 26 years of experience working with people with disabilities to build their capacity to live independently.   Susan joined TakeCharge in 2006 as Director of Reimbursements.  She takes pride in issuing reimbursements as quickly and accurately as possible.  She knows how important they are to clients.