Disability In The Workplace: The Complete Guide

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74.6 million people in the U.S. have a disability that affects their physical capacity either temporarily or permanently. Having a physical disability can make finding a job difficult. From learning about laws that protect you, how to interview, to finding accommodating companies, here is a guide to make things a little easier.

> 15%
13 – 15%
11 – 13%
< 11%

Types of Disability

There are many different types of physical disabilities and many may not be visible. Individuals do not need to be using a mobility aid (wheelchair, walker, cane, etc.) to qualify for a physical disability. With that in mind, here are 12 of the most common types of physical disabilities:

  1. Acquired brain injury: This form of a physical disability is caused when the brain is damaged after birth. These injuries can be caused by accidents (i.e. falls and car accidents) strokes, infections and degenerative neurological diseases.

  2. Cerebral Palsy: An injury to a developing brain usually causes this group of disorders. It can affect a person’s movement, muscle tone, and ability to maintain balance and posture.

  3. Cystic Fibrosis: This inherited genetic condition damages the lungs and the digestive system.

  4. Epilepsy: This neurological condition causes a person to have recurring, unprovoked seizures.

  5. Dwarfism: This condition is characterized by an adult having a height of 4 feet 10 inches or less.

  6. Multiple Sclerosis: This condition affects the central nervous system, which affects communication between the brain and the body. It can cause problems with balance, muscle control, vision and other basic body functions.

  7. Muscular dystrophy: This genetic condition causes progressive and irreversible muscle degeneration and weakness. It can cause problems with walking, breathing and organ function.

  8. Rheumatoid arthritis: This autoimmune disease affects the lining of joints. It can cause swelling, chronic pain, bone erosions and joint deformity.

  9. Scoliosis: This is an abnormal curve in a person’s spine. Depending on its severity, it can cause back problems and lung and heart damage.

  10. Spina Bifida: This congenital disability occurs when the spine and spinal cord do not completely form. It can cause weakness or paralysis in legs and learning difficulties.

  11. Spinal Cord Injury: This injury occurs when the spine is damaged. It often permanently affects an individual’s physical capacity and can cause them to lose strength, sensation, mobility and feeling.

  12. Tourette Syndrome: This neurological disorder causes involuntary vocalizations, sounds and movements.

Disability rights

Not everyone is understanding and accommodating of people with disabilities. Fortunately, legislation exists that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Here are a few key laws that you should know about.

  • Fair Housing Act (1968): This law prohibits discrimination against a person with a disability during any aspect of selling or renting a house. It also prohibits people from denying individuals with disabilities accommodation because of their service animal.

  • Air Carrier Access Act (1986): This law prohibits air carriers (i.e., planes) who provide regularly scheduled services to the public from discriminating against individuals with disabilities.

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (1990): The ADA, passed in 1990, is considered the most comprehensive disability rights legislation in U.S. history. There are 4 sections of the act that you should be familiar with:

    1. ADA Title I: Disability Employment Law: This law requires employers with 15 or more employees to provide equal opportunities to all employees regardless of their disability status. It prohibits discrimination in the hiring process, pay, promotions, and social events. It also limits the questions an employer can ask you about your disability before offering you a job and requires an employer to make reasonable accommodations for you unless it causes undue hardship to the employer.
    2. ADA Title II: State and Local Government Activities: This law requires state and local governments to provide people with disabilities an equal opportunity to benefit from their programs, services and activities.
    3. ADA Title II: Public Transportation: This law prohibits public transportation authorities from discriminating against people with disabilities and requires them to make good faith efforts to have accessible vehicles. Public transit agencies are required to provide complementary paratransit services to people with disabilities who are not able to use fixed-route bus or rail services.
    4. ADA Title III: Public Accommodations: This law prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in public accommodations like restaurants, retail stores, hotels, private schools, homeless shelters and recreation facilities. It also requires courses and examinations related to professional, educational, or trade-related processes to be administered in accessible locations.
  • Executive Order 13548 (2010): Former President Barack Obama issued this order in 2010 which increased federal employment of individuals with disabilities.

  • Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (2014): Section 503 of this act was updated to prohibit federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating against people with disabilities in employment. It also strengthened affirmative action to recruit, hire, retain and promote people with disabilities.

  • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (2014): This act strengthened the public workforce system in the U.S. It helped people with disabilities enter high-quality jobs and employers to hire and retain them. It also required 15% of public vocational rehabilitation funds to be used to help people with disabilities transition from their school to work life.

  • Work Opportunity Tax Credit (2014): Employers can get this federal tax credit for hiring people from certain target groups. One group is individuals with disabilities who have faced significant employment barriers.

  • Service Animals: In accordance with ADA, service animals are allowed in any public space. You cannot be denied service or access to somewhere because of your service animal. To find out more about how to get, train, and live with a service animal, check out this article.

  • Handicapped Parking: Private businesses and public agencies are required to have a certain number of accessible parking spaces with proper signage. If a place does not have an accessible parking spot, you can request one from the city or state who are required to create one.

Veteran Statistics

What To Do If Your Rights Were Violated

Your safety, comfort, and ability to access the places you want are extremely important and should not be jeopardized for any reason. If your rights were violated and you want to take action, here is a list of resources that you can use:

File a Title I Complaint — Employment

If you feel as though someone discriminated against you based on your disability at work, you can file a Title I Complaint within 180 days of the date of discrimination. You can submit a complaint to any U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission field office. To find an office near you, call (800) 669-4000 or (800) 669-6820 (TTY).

File an Equal Opportunity EmploymentComplaint (EEOC)

If you feel as though someone discriminated against you based on your disability at work, you can file an EEOC complaint. EEOC protects people with disabilities against workplace discrimination and retaliation because of their disability. You can submit an EEOC complaint here.

File a Title II Complaint: State and Local Government Activities

If you feel as though someone discriminated against you based on your disability in state and local government activities, you can file a Title II Complaint within 180 days of the date of discrimination with the Department of Justice by calling (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY).

File a Title III Complaint: Public Accommodations

If you feel as though someone discriminated against you based on your disability in public accommodations, you can file a complaint with the Department of Justice by calling (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY).

File a Fair Housing Act Complaint

If you feel as though someone discriminated against you based on your disability in housing, you can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development by calling (800) 669-9777 or (800) 927-9275 (TTY).

File an Air Carrier Access Complaint

If you feel as though someone discriminated against you based on your disability from an air carrier, you can file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Transportation by calling 202) 366-2220 or (202) 366-0511 (TTY).

Your safety, comfort, and ability to access the places you want are extremely important and should not be jeopardized for any reason. If your rights were violated and you want to take action, here is a list of resources that you can use:

Disability lawyer

If you feel as though someone discriminated against you based on your disability either outside of or at work, you can talk to a lawyer that specializes in disability discrimination. A disability lawyer can help you take the necessary steps to protect your rights.

Support Team

If you are still struggling with finding the right person to talk to, you can contact your state’s Human Rights Agency who can point you in the right direction. You can also use the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), a contract funded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. They have a list of vendors and organizations that enforce state civil rights laws. Once you know who can best help you, you can create a support team to help protect your rights.

ASK THE EXPERTS

What should an individual do if they experience mistreatment at their workplace?

Requesting accommodations can be different for applicants and employees. If you are an applicant and you know you need an accommodation for the interview you should make the request before the interview. This gives the employer time to understand and put an accommodation in place. For employees, when you know or expect that you might need an accommodation you should request one. All too often we here about people who wait until they are having performance issues to request an accommodation which can make things more challenging.

When requesting accommodations, we suggest that you look to see if the company has an accommodation policy or a specific form that they would like you to use. If they do not have a form, we often suggest requesting accomodations in writing. JAN has a sample template to help people write an email or a letter to request an accommodation. If people do not think that they are requesting an accommodation correctly, they can certainly call JAN to talk through what their situation is. It is always wise to do your homework before you make requests.

I work remotely now but in my previous job I was really surprised that they were proactive in asking me what I needed. It made me more comfortable to put in a request to have a step stool at my desk. They also made sure that there was a stool at every kitchen that I would potentially want to access throughout my work day. They went above and beyond making sure that those were there. In other jobs, requesting accommodations only came up when it really became a struggle for me to reach things that were part of the job. I would say right off the bat I’ve never asked for an accommodation. I’ve waited until I find a challenge and I need that extra assistance.

I recommend that employers make it known to employees that it is ok to ask for an accommodation at any point throughout the process. Candidate may then feel more comfortable asking for the accommodation that they need.

Disability Groups

It is important to remember that you are never alone. Many groups support, advocate for and bring together people with disabilities. There are many benefits to joining these groups. People in these groups often share personal experiences and can offer each other emotional support. Here is a list of the top 21 nationwide disability organizations

Social Security Benefits – How to apply for disability

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability (SSDI) can be incredibly helpful for individuals with disabilities. Both pay benefits to eligible individuals with disabilities. Here are 4 social security programs that people with SSI and SSDI should know about.

  1. Ticket to Work: This free program helps people with disabilities who receive Social Security benefits work while keeping their Medicare or Medicaid coverage. Ticket to Work provides training, free vocational rehabilitation, job referrals and other kinds of employment support to people with disabilities. You can call 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) for more information.

  2. Trial Work Period: This nine-month trial work period allows individuals who are receiving SSDI to go back to work while keeping their benefits. After this nine-month period, you can continue to receive SSDI for 36 months if you make less than the substantial gainful activity (SGA) level, which changes year to year. If you exceed this limit, your benefits will stop. You can deduct work expenses like travel, equipment and counseling services that result from you having a disability.

  3. Plan To Achieve Self Support (PASS): This SSI disability provision helps people with disabilities return to work. PASS helps individuals save money to pay for items or services that they need to achieve a specific career goal. This money can go towards childcare, tuition, job coaching, transportation, uniforms, assistive technology and more. Contact your local Social Security Office.to get an application and set up a plan.

  4. Medicare Coverage If you are eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, you are also eligible for Medicare after a 24-month qualifying period. To find out more about Medicare Coverage call 1-800-633-4227 or TTY/TDD 1-877-486-2048.

Social Security Questions

Here are 5 common questions about Social Security Benefits

What is the difference between SSDI and SSI?

  • SSDI: SSDI pays benefits to people with disabilities and some family members if they worked long enough and paid Social Security taxes. To qualify for SSDI, an individual needs to have a certain amount of work credits.

  • SSI: SSI helps people with disabilities with limited or no income to meet their basic needs. To qualify for SSI, an individual needs to have an insufficient number of work credits and a low enough income.

Who can apply for SSDI?

  • SSDI Disability: You can apply for SSDI if Social Security covered one of your previous jobs was covered, meaning you paid into the Social Security system. You also need to have a disability.

Who can apply for SSI?

  • SSI Disability: You can apply for SSI if you are at least 65-years-old, have a limited income and are blind or have a disability. You can check to see if you are eligible here.

What is considered to be a disability?

  • To qualify for Social Security disability benefits you must have a disability that meets Social Security’s definition of a disability.

How do I apply for disability? – SSDI and SSI

  • You can apply for SSDI and SSI online or over the phone by calling 1-800-772-1213 or 1-800-325-0778 (TTY).

Can I work part-time and receive Social Security Benefits?

  • SSDI: Usually, SSDI recipients are not allowed to work and receive disability benefits. However, some people with disabilities can get a nine-month trial work period where they can still receive full benefits and work.

  • SSI: Usually, SSI recipients are not allowed to work and receive disability benefits. If an SSI recipient works and earns a low enough income, they can still receive decreased SSI benefits. You can also work and receive SSI benefits if your wages and other resources do not exceed the income limit for SSI, which varies year to year.

What should I include in my Federal resume?

  • If you lose your job, you will be able to keep your benefits as long as you are still considered disabled by the state. If you start or stop working, your income or the number of hours you work changes, or you have to pay for work expenses due to your disability, notify your local Social Security Office .

people with disabilities picture

70% of businesses are not hiring people with disabilities, according to empower.

Best Accessible Cities

In addition to finding an accessible job, you will want an accessible living environment. Finding that perfect work-life balance can be difficult if you have a disability. Here are the 10 best “disability-friendly” cities to live in:

Methodology: We compared the Best Places to Live in the U.S., the 2017 Wellbeing Index, and the most accessible cities to live in with Zippia’s data on the best cities in each state to get a job.

  • Denver, CO
  • Seattle, WA
  • Albuquerque, NM
  • Chicago, IL
  • Orlando, FL
  • Portland, OR
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Washington, DC
  • Madison, WI.
  • Scottsdale, AZ

Finding Accommodating Companies

Finding a job can be difficult and trying to find an accessible workplace can be stressful when you have a disability. Here are 5 things that will help you gauge how accommodating a company is:

  1. Accessibility: The law requires every public space to be ADA compliant and accessible. Elevators, accessible bathrooms kitchens, meeting areas, chair lifts, and unobstructed pathways, are signs that the employer takes accessibility seriously. If a workplace does not have these things, it is not an automatic dealbreaker. Employers are legally required to make accommodations for people with disabilities unless it results in undue hardship.

  2. Flexible hours: Find out if the employer allows employees to work from home on certain days of the week. Increasingly, more companies are adopting flexible work from home hours. There are also jobs where you can work remotely full-time.

  3. On-site Health Care: Some companies provide employees with on-site healthcare. To see if a company has on-site healthcare, you can reach out to the company’s HR department and ask. If the company does not have an HR department, you can find the company’s general email or phone number on their website under the “contact us” section and ask them.

  4. Disability networks or affinity groups: Check to see if the employer has networks or affinity groups for people with disabilities. The presence of these groups indicates that the company is a more inclusive place to work. Being a part of these groups can help you feel more heard and comfortable at your workplace.

  5. Non-discrimination policies:

    • Look it up: The first thing that you can do is search online for an employer’s non-discrimination policy. An easy google search is “[company name] + non-discrimination policy”. Pairing “disability” in a search with a company name can also bring you to a company’s non-discrimination policies.

    • Look at job postings: Employers will often put their non-discrimination policies at the end of job postings. You can look for language like “we are an equal opportunity employer” or “we encourage minorities to apply.”

    • Look at company websites: You can also go through an employer’s website. If you are overwhelmed by the amount of content on the site, searching the page for “disability,” “disabilities,” or “disabled” can bring you to the right section.

    • Contact the company: If you are comfortable doing so, you can call or email the company. Ask them if they have a non-discrimination policy and where can you find it. You can usually find a company’s phone number or email address on their website under the “contact us” section.

Jobs For People With Disabilities

Finding a great job with an accessible work environment can be difficult. Here are the 14 best places to work for individuals with disabilities.

Methodology: To make our list, and employer needed to be on Diversity Inc.’s Top 50 Companies For Diversity list, Disability:IN’s Disability Equality Index: Disability Equality Index: Best Places To Work list and have a Zippia score of 4.5 or higher.

Remote jobs for people with disabilities

Working remotely is a great option for people who need more flexible work environments. Here are 10 jobs where you can work from home:

  1. Corporate Travel agent: Corporate travel agents sell transportation, lodging and admission to entertainment activities to individuals and groups planning trips. They offer advice on destinations, plan trip itineraries and make travel arrangements for clients. Learn about what a corporate travel agent does, skills, salary and how you can become one in the future here.

  2. Freelance writer and photographer: Reporters, correspondents and broadcast news analysts inform the public about news and events happening internationally, nationally and locally. They report the news for newspapers, magazines, websites, television and radio. Learn about what a freelance writer and photographer do, skills, salary and how you can become one in the future here.

  3. Graphic Designer: Graphic designers create visual concepts, using computer software or by hand to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, and captivate consumers. They develop the overall layout and production design for various applications such as for advertisements, brochures, magazines, and corporate reports. Learn about what a Graphic Designer does, skills, salary, and how you can become one in the futurehere.

  4. Social Media Specialists: Social Media Specialists create and maintain a favorable public image for the organization they represent. They design media releases to shape public perception of their organization and to increase awareness of its work and goals. Learn about what a Social Media Specialist does, skills, salary, and how you can become one in the futurehere.

  5. Language Translator: Interpreters and translators convert information from one language into another language. Interpreters work in spoken or sign language; translators work in written language. Learn about what a Language Translator does, skills, salary, and how you can become one in the futurehere.

  6. Medical Transcriptionist: Medical transcriptionists listen to voice recordings that physicians and other healthcare workers make and convert them into written reports. Learn about what a Medical Transcriptionist does, skills, salary, and how you can become one in the futurehere.

  7. Technical Support Specialist: Technical Support Specialists provide help and advice to people and organizations using computer software or equipment. Learn about what a Technical Support Specialist does, skills, salary, and how you can become one in the futurehere.

  8. Virtual Assistant: Virtual Assistants perform routine clerical and administrative duties. They organize files, prepare documents, schedule appointments, and support other staff. Learn about what a Virtual Assistant does, skills, salary, and how you can become one in the future here.

  9. Web Developer: Web developers design and create websites. They are responsible for the look of the site. They are also responsible for the site’s technical aspects. In addition, web developers may create content for the site. Learn about what a Web Developer does, skills, salary, and how you can become one in the futurehere.

  10. Work For National Telecommuting Institute: NTI is a nonprofit organization that specializes in staffing people with disabilities who want to work from home.

Government Jobs for People with Disabilities

The U.S. Federal Government offers jobs to individuals with disabilities nationwide. Check out these 3 programs that can help you find a job:

  • Schedule A: This is a noncompetitive hiring process for people with disabilities. To be eligible, an individual needs to have a severe physical, psychiatric or intellectual disability, and prove that they are qualified for the job that they are applying to. Learn more here.

  • Selective Placement Program Coordinators (SPPC): An SPPC helps people with disabilities get hired and receive accommodations. You can look through this SPPC directory to see if your state has an SPPC that can be of assistance.

  • Workforce Recruitment Program for College Students with Disabilities (WRP): The U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Defense run this recruitment and referral program. It connects federal and private employers with college students and recent graduates with disabilities and offers both summer employment and permanent jobs. Learn more here.

Interviewing

Interviews are important and preparing for them can be challenging. That’s why we answered a few common questions about interviewing as a person with a physical disability to help.

What do I do if I am asked to take a medical examination?

  • Interviewers cannot legally ask you to take a medical examination before making a job offer. After an employer offers you a job, they can only ask you to take one if all other employees are required to as well.

What do I do if someone asks me whether or not I have a disability?

  • Your employer is not legally allowed to ask you if you have a disability, to explain what your disability is or any other questions about your disability.

How do I explain gaps in my work history?

  • If an interviewer asks you about a gap in your work history where you could not work due to your disability, talk about what you did instead of working and the things that you learned by doing that. Keep the gap in the past and clearly state that you are ready to work.

When do I have to tell my employer that I have a disability?

  • USAJOBS: This decision is voluntary. You never have to tell anyone if you do not want to. If you choose to disclose this information, focus on your strengths and explain how you can still perform the job at the same quality as other employees. The 411 on disability disclosure is a great guide created by NCWD that outlines how to make informed decisions about whether or not to disclose your disability.

What if I cannot fill out an application or go through the interview process because of my disability?

  • The employer can provide you with accommodations during the application, interview and hiring process. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Some accommodations include but are not limited to, having an accessible interviewing space and receiving extra time or having questions asked to you orally instead of on paper. If you want to apply for accommodations, the Job Accommodation Network JAN has a sample accommodation form letter that is very useful.

ASK THE EXPERTS

Should you disclose your disability status in your resume and/or in interviews?

Disability disclosure is a personal decision. Some people say that you should not disclose until you know that you need an accomodation. Other people, especially younger people with disabilities who view their disability as part of their identity, encourage people to be much more upfront about disclosure.

There is still some unfortunate bias out there and a lot of people who view having a disability as a negative. I have heard from individuals who have listed their disability on their resume that they feel that the reason they did not get an interview is because of that reason.

I constantly go back and forth on this. I entered the job market about 14 years ago, sent my resume out to 1000 places, and went to 100 interviews. A lot of times I wonder if I could have narrowed my search down at the start if I disclosed that I was a little person. I tend to lean on the side of not disclosing your disability at first because it is nice to have that chance to get in the door to interview. Unfortunately, I think that sometimes disclosing your disability on your resume might prevent that opportunity from happening.

Hiding Your Disability At Work

Many people with disabilities feel pressured to hide their disability at work, especially if it is an invisible disability. If you have a disability, you may fear disclosing your disability because of potential discrimination. If you feel this way, you are not alone. 39% of employees with disabilities have disclosed their disability status to their manager and only 24% have told their teams, according to Harvard Business Review. If you cannot decide whether or not you want to disclose your disability, here are some rewards and risks associated with telling people you work with.

Rewards

  • You can receive accommodations that can make your job easier and increase your productivity.
  • It can reduce stress and allow you to focus more on your work.
  • You can form closer friendships with co-workers and connect to others with disabilities.
  • It can help change social stigmas surrounding disabilities.

Risks

  • People may look at and treat you differently. Unfortunately, not everyone is accepting and understanding.
  • People may view you as less capable.
  • You cannot change your mind about telling people.

Creating an Accessible Work Environment

It is important to create an inclusive and accessible work environment for individuals with disabilities. Here are 7 things that you can do as an employer to make your workplace more inclusive, comfortable and accessible for employees with physical disabilities.

  1. Make Your Workplace Accessible: Make sure that your office space, desks, meeting rooms, kitchens, common areas, bathrooms and social events are accessible to all. Your workplace should have elevators or chair lifts, unobstructed walking paths, assistive technologies and reserved parking spots for those who need them. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, you are required to provide accommodations to people with disabilities so that they can apply to or perform a job unless it results in undue hardship.

  2. Recognize Invisible disabilities: You cannot see all disability. While a person’s disability may be invisible to you, it is not to them. They should never be made to feel like they have to hide it.

  3. Change Your Recruitment Process: Use outside organizations to recruit individuals with disabilities. You can use your State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies, which can connect you with skilled candidates with disabilities. You can also partner with Disability:In Affiliates, which can help you diversify your business and hire more people with disabilities.

  4. Train Your Workforce: An employee is not required to explain to you the details of their disability or why they may need a service animal. Make sure that people at your company and individuals conducting interviews have appropriate sensitivity training. Employee Assistance and Resource Network on Disability Inclusion (EARN) is a centralized source of employer-focused tools on disability inclusion and has an excellent online training center.

  5. Make Requesting Accommodations Easy: Make accommodation requests easy to find for your potential and current employees. It is important to be transparent about accommodation requests during the application and on-boarding process.

  6. Use Correct Terminology: Instead of calling someone a “disabled person,” say that they are a person with a disability. A person is not defined by their disability. Some people may want to be referred to as a person with a disability and others may prefer that you use the term “differently-abled.” However, there is no need to use those terms when describing or identifying an individual. When you are talking about places that accommodate people with disabilities, refer to them as “accessible” instead of “handicapped.”

  7. Be Respectful: People with disabilities should be spoken to directly if there is a communicator present. If an individual needs to be seated in a wheelchair, you should also sit instead of standing over them. Never question an employee on their disability unless they initiate the conversation.

ASK THE EXPERTS

How and when should an individual request accommodations from your employer?

Requesting accommodations can be different for applicants and employees. If you are an applicant and you know you need an accommodation for the interview you should make the request before the interview. This gives the employer time to understand and put an accommodation in place. For employees, when you know or expect that you might need an accommodation you should request one. All too often we here about people who wait until they are having performance issues to request an accommodation which can make things more challenging.

When requesting accommodations, we suggest that you look to see if the company has an accommodation policy or a specific form that they would like you to use. If they do not have a form, we often suggest requesting accomodations in writing. JAN has a sample template to help people write an email or a letter to request an accommodation. If people do not think that they are requesting an accommodation correctly, they can certainly call JAN to talk through what their situation is. It is always wise to do your homework before you make requests.

I work remotely now but in my previous job I was really surprised that they were proactive in asking me what I needed. It made me more comfortable to put in a request to have a step stool at my desk. They also made sure that there was a stool at every kitchen that I would potentially want to access throughout my work day. They went above and beyond making sure that those were there. In other jobs, requesting accommodations only came up when it really became a struggle for me to reach things that were part of the job. I would say right off the bat I’ve never asked for an accommodation. I’ve waited until I find a challenge and I need that extra assistance.

I recommend that employers make it known to employees that it is ok to ask for an accommodation at any point throughout the process. Candidate may then feel more comfortable asking for the accommodation that they need.

Veteran Statistics

According to Empower.

Myths About Disabilities

People sometimes have misconceptions about individuals with physical disabilities. Here are eight common misconceptions:

Everyone with a spinal cord injury needs a wheelchair.

  • The severity of spinal cord injuries varies. Some people may have to use a mobility aid forever, while others may be able to fully recover after rehabilitation.

Everyone who has cerebral palsy also has an intellectual disability.

  • Only 50% of people that have cerebral palsy have varying degrees of intellectual abilities.

Cystic fibrosis is contagious.

  • Cystic fibrosis is not contagious. It is genetic and you cannot get it from being around someone who has it.

You should hold someone down if they are having a seizure.

  • Do not hold someone down or try to stop their movements when they are having a seizure and do not put anything into their mouth. You can hurt someone by doing this.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a death sentence.

  • MS is not a death sentence and the life expectancy for people who have it are normal or close to normal to those who do not. While there is no cure, there are many treatments.

People with Tourette Syndrome can control their tics if they concentrate.

  • Tics are involuntary and it is not possible to stop tics from happening.

People with disabilities miss more work than other employees.

  • Employees with disabilities do not miss more work than other employees. Some studies show that employees with disabilities miss less work than employees without disabilities.

Employers cannot hire people with disabilities because accommodations are too expensive.

  • Accommodations are generally inexpensive and employers can use them as tax credits.

ASK THE EXPERTS

What other suggestions do you have for individuals with disabilities trying to navigate the the job finding process?

Do your research just like anybody should. Go to the company’s career portal. Most companies will probably have a web page that has a career portal where you can learn more about the company and how disability friendly they are.

Know as much as you can about the job you are applying for and what the duties are so that you can sound like the best candidate. This will also help you find out a little bit more if you will potentially need accommodations.

Make sure that you are passionate about the company you are applying to and their mission. If someone asks you why you want to work there or where you see yourself in 5 years, be ready to answer those questions. Before the interview process even starts, make sure that you are being true to yourself and know that you will be true to the organization wherever it may be. People will often come to me and ask me for help getting a job and they will kind of expect it to happen rather than doing their research.

I think it is really important for people to really look at the organization that they are applying to. Look at organizations that Disability:In works with and that score well on the Equality Index because those are organizations that are already known to be more inclusive.

Devon Feuer
Devon Feuer
Author