Last month on our Minneapolis Social Security disability law blog, we had mentioned that the government recently decided to ease some of its requirements during the hiring process for disabled individuals who are looking to join or return to the workforce. The government has decided to do this in order to make it easier for folks with disabilities to apply for jobs and to also speed up the hiring process for disabled workers.
This move may certainly help some folks who are ready to enter the workforce after experiencing a disabling medical condition. However, disabled workers may continue to face many other challenges when looking for work.
For example, disabled workers may need to participate in vocational rehabilitation or retraining programs before they can even begin to know which types of jobs they may be capable of doing after suffering a disabling illness or injury. And after discovering their new strengths, disabled workers may be subjected to discrimination during the hiring process, which may prevent them from being able to find employment as quickly as they would like to.
The job market is competitive, which may put disabled workers at a disadvantage. Even though employers in Minnesota and throughout the country are prohibited from discriminating against employees and job applicants on the basis of their disability, disability discrimination continues to affect thousands of people every year.
According to labor data from the U.S. government, about 63 percent of working-age Americans who do not have disabilities are employed. However, only 18 percent of working-age Americans who do have disabilities are employed. Four years ago, at least 20 percent of disabled workers were employed. The economy and the ability to get to work each day may certainly have an impact on the current employment rate for the disabled. But the employment rate for disabled Americans is very low compared to the employment rate for non-disabled workers.
Disabled workers are often encouraged to look for employment when it is believed that they can use their strengths to find new work and rely on a paycheck for financial support instead of relying on monthly Social Security Disability Insurance checks. However, getting a job is not always easy. In some situations, getting a job may actually be more harmful for disabled individuals. Before returning to the workforce or thinking about applying for a new job after suffering a disabling medical condition or injury, folks may want to consult an attorney to learn more about their options as disabled workers and recipients of SSDI benefits.
Source: Associated Press, "Little progress in last couple decades getting more people with disabilities into workforce," March 25, 2013