How To Find A Job If You Have A Disability

I sent out a survey the other day (access here) asking for your input on what challenges you face when it comes to job search or employment-related issues. I received many responses, but one really touched me and I wanted to address it right away. The response was from someone that found themselves suddenly disabled. They want to know how to secure a local, low-stress job. Without knowing the details of the situation, I’m going to have to address it in a very general manner.

First of all, I would like to commend this individual for not giving up! It takes a lot of courage to make a decision to forge on! I’m so happy to be able to respond and am hopeful that the information I’m providing here will be helpful.

We need to consider something first. If you’ve applied for or been granted Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”), there are restrictions on earning additional income. If you have SSDI, you don’t want to do something that would compromise your benefits or put you in a situation to have to repay the government. You DO have options if you are able to work a few hours here and there!

DISCLAIMER: I’m not an attorney so I’m not offering legal advice … Instead, the links below will help you understand your options. 

1) Disability Secrets
2) Social Security Administration
3) Americans With Disabilities Act

If you’re on SSDI, I’d recommend that you watch this video by attorneys Sharon Christie (Social Security Disability attorney) and Ben Glass (Virginia attorney)….

Okay, I’m going to assume you’ve visited the links above and watched the video. If so, you should have a pretty good understanding of your legal and monetary obligations. I will now offer some practical suggestions for those that are not on SSDI.

There are different types of disabilities and, therefore, different challenges and employment options to consider. For the most part, employers are required to offer “reasonable accommodations” to those with disabilities. In a perfect world, all employers would be able to support the needs of any disabled person who wishes to join their company. However, that’s just not possible. For example, if you are blind or wheelchair bound, it’s just not reasonable to expect that you will be able to sell beverages in the stands at a professional ballgame. Navigating stairs and aisles is just not a realistic expectation. However, you might be able to sell beverages at a walk-up counter where people line up for their purchase. See my point?!

My first bit of advice would be to look at your particular situation and start analyzing what types of positions in which you could be productive and provide the most value. DON’T focus on what you are unable to do, focus on what you CAN do! I’m a firm believer that there’s a place for everyone! Truly!!   

The first step is evaluating your skills and revamping your resume so as to target positions wherein you are able to provide value! This is where you’ll want to look at your “transferable skills.” Don’t be afraid to consider positions that appear to be something you would qualify for … disability included! On the flip-side, don’t set yourself up for disappointment by applying for positions that are clearly not a fit or that you would not be able to effectively navigate even with reasonable accommodations.

EMPLOYERS: If you’re looking for a good resource on the topic of reasonable accommodations, I found a group that updates their page regularly and encourages employers to connect with them. If you need help, click here> Job Accommodation Network

Disabilities(3)

CONCLUSION:  Regardless of your special needs, you have options … especially in today’s business environment. While limited in my response due to my lack of information on the situation, the bottom line is that business today offers more and more flexibility. It’s up to us, individually, to take control. We are the ones that know our situation intimately. Step up and set some goals and craft an irresistible plan that no employer can turn down. There truly are options out there for just about anyone in any situation (see disclaimers above). You DO have options!

 

Do you have career or life questions?

If so, comment below and I’ll be happy to respond!

 

Thanks for sharing your time with me and reading my BLOG!

Warm regards…. Debra


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