Having a disability makes even the smallest day-to-day occurrences more challenging than it is for others. Whether your disability is a visual or hearing impairment, a cognitive limitation, or another kind of physical ailment that restricts your ability to get around easily, you have to put in a little extra to make this world work for you. Now take situations that are stressful and difficult for everyone– say, searching for a job– and your work is truly cut out for you.
Evidence points towards some hiring companies having undeserved hesitation regarding hiring adults with disabilities. The unemployment rate for adults with disabilities was 10.5 percent in 2016 compared to 4.6 percent for adults without one. It’s obvious that the challenges of living with a disability, be it physical or mental, get in the way of many people’s job hunts even if it does not get in the way of doing the actual job.
Thankfully, there are new tools, technologies, and regulations available to us today that can help close this employment gap. Here are a few things to take into consideration when searching for a job when you are an adult with a disability.
The Americans with Disabilities Act
In 1990, the United States government passed the Americans with Disabilities Act to protect citizens’ rights by prohibiting discrimination based on a person’s disability. Much of the ADA requires companies and public institutions to make accomodations for those with disabilities including ramps, parking spaces, and allowing the accompaniment of service animals in buildings.
In addition to these accommodations, the ADA makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against a person based on their disability. Among the prohibited discriminations includes the firing or refusal to hire a person based on either a real or perceived disability as well as segregation or harassment based on it. If you feel that a prospective employer is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, consult a legal professional regarding your rights and the best plan of action.
Picking the Right Job
A big part of finding work as a person with a disability is finding a career path that is flexible enough for your needs. Jobs that allow you to work from home such as freelance writing or becoming a virtual assistant may be best for those with mobility issues. For people who are better able at getting around but need flexibility for things like doctor’s appointments, a job such as becoming a real estate agent allows you to work around your own schedule while making lucrative money. Of course, you may have a specialty or interest that goes beyond these options and requires further resources.
Helpful Websites for Job Seekers with Disabilities
Thanks to online job hunting, it’s a bit easier nowadays to find open positions and apply for them from the comfort of your own home. Sites like Indeed, Monster, and ZipRecruiter pride themselves on connecting the most qualified applicants to positions that will bring them job satisfaction. You can craft your resumé, look for positions, and even give first interviews all online. Even sites like Retired Brains, which targets seniors heading towards retirement in particular, provides resources for people with disabilities. GettingHired.com also helps people with disabilities connect with hiring companies like FedEx and Kellogg’s.
Don’t be afraid to tap into the resources the government provides, as well. If you receive benefits through Social Security, the agency provides a program called Ticket to work that helps people with disabilities with career counseling, training, and eventual job placement. There is also plenty of information regarding U.S. government disability programs and employment via their website Disability.gov. Hiring companies like Hilton Worldwide and Exelon Corp. also work with the Department of Labor’s Job Accommodation Network to help people with disabilities find work.
When you live with a disability, the little everyday things can be a bit more challenging. Things like job hunting, which can be difficult for everybody, are just that much more difficult. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits employers and potential employers from discriminating based on a person’s physical or mental disability. For many people, the challenge lies in finding the right job to suit your limitations or schedule. Once the right career path is picked, it’s easier than ever to find placement with the help of online and government resources.
By: Ashley Taylor