As acceptance rates for disability-benefits plummet, more people are becoming employed in the general workforce. The national message is clear, "There's a job for everyone."
While the Trump Administration has made it harder to receive disability benefits, the culture is also shifting – increasingly, staying-in the workforce is the accepted norm. Employers have done more to accommodate all who want to work, and they find that the demand for quality labor, creative thinkers, and a strong work ethic counters any worries they may have about employing someone with a disability.
For a generation, the number of people on the federal government's disability insurance program grew steadily. Now for the first time in decades, that number is shrinking. Several factors are driving the statistical change: Members of the baby-boomer generation are dropping their disability benefits to enter retirement. At the same time, the US is experiencing historically low unemployment, pressuring employers to think more creatively about how to fill vacancies.
Tips for Better Living ...
You don't get what you don't ask for. It's never easy to willingly give-up the guaranteed income that comes with Social Security, but many who have taken that risk have improved their own sense of self and quality of life. Special rules make it possible for people with disabilities receiving Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to work and still receive monthly payments and Medicare or Medicaid. Social Security calls these rules "work incentives."
Always ask what kind of accommodations could be made so that you can be successful at your new job. Part of accepting a new job is negotiating terms like pay and benefit; and talking about necessary accommodations can be an important part of the package. Ask for the ramp you need, get the door re-wired to swing open, or request an ergonomic chair up front. Talk about your work hours. You are your best advocate.
There is also the option of opening a VermontABLE account. VermontABLE lets hard workers save their wages without risking their government benefits.
For more information read or listen to the article by NPR.
- The Governor’s Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities promotes inclusion, educates businesses and employers, and advises the Governor.
- Looking for a job?
Consider reaching out to Vocational Rehabilitation for assistance getting, and keeping, meaningful employment.