Reflecting on National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Posted October 25th, 2011 by

Have your health conditions ever caused you to lose a job? Or prevented you from applying – or getting hired – in the first place?

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month, an event that aims to recognize the skills that those with disabilities bring to the workforce and promote employment opportunities and access for those with disabilities. The issue, of course, is that discrimination, employment barriers and higher rates of unemployment remain ongoing concerns for Americans with disabilities.

October Is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Here’s what the White House’s Presidential Proclamation has to say about these troubling statistics:

“More than 20 years after the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), individuals with disabilities, including injured veterans, are making immeasurable contributions to workplaces across our country.  Unfortunately, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities remains too high — nearly double the rate of people without disabilities — and reversing this trend is crucial.” – President Barack Obama

Last week, we featured a post about wheelchair barriers and hazards and asked readers to appraise their neighborhood for wheelchair accessibility. Today, we ask you to think about the barriers to employment that might exist for people with disabilities – both physical and mental – in your workplace. Would you say your work is “supportive” and “inclusive,” as the Presidential Proclamation states is the goal?

Whether you’ve faced job discrimination or noticed a potential barrier at work, we encourage you to share your stories in the comments section.


2 Comments

  1. Although, I personally do not see receiving a kidney transplant as a disability, I can see where a small company forced to pay high premiums on health insurance can if one of their employees has to have a transplant.

    I say that, because I feel it has happened to me, although, there is no way of ever proving it. As the possibility and reality of a transplant grew closer, my employer laid me off citing budgetary cutbacks (I know this is not the case because some six months later my position was filled).

    As I mentioned, I feel that the organization got a little scared at the prospect of higher insurance premiums, and therefore let me go – mind you this was a month after an annual review, where I received no indication of disciplianary action that would lead to the possibility of dismissal a month or two later.

    My departure from this company resulted in a delay in receiving my eventual transplant because I had to go through the approval process again when I picked up health insurance with my wife’s company.

  2. I have Fibromyalgia, and at times am very discouraged. I have been turned down for any help with getting disabled status, food stamps, or anything else, because I still have a savings account – with “too much” in it. I cannot work, tho of course I wish I could.

    In other words, until you are totally broke, no one will help you, and by that time, counting the time it takes to apply and be accepted, you will be beyond anyone’s help.

    I have used my life’s savings searching for a cure, to no avail. Doctors appear to have little to no interest in this disease, or else do not believe in it at all. Not one of them offers discount sevices for this disease…or really cares whether or not you get well. At least, so far I have never found even one willing to work with me, with a local doctor as a go-between for discussion and treatment, as I live in a remote area where there are almost no specialists. And even if there were, I could not afford the medications.

    I was diagnosed by Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, who is now head of a Fibro clinic somewhere back east, but I could not afford the treatment program, and lived clear across the country from im anyway…

    Also, medication helps the symptoms, but not THAT much. I am 65, and need a job. I have chronic issues that prevent me from applying for an 8 to 5, even if someone would hire me…so when that savings account runs out – I see myself behind the Black Bear dumpster, freezing to death. The friends I am helping may end up sharing my fate as well.

    I have been to counselors, asking them, what should I do? And they have no idea either…there is a chiropractor close to Redding that deals with Fibro, but don’t think Medicare would cover that, and even if it did, I can’t afford the gas and the hotel bills to get there and back.

    I need constant physical therapy/chiropractic for my legs and back, which of course I don’t get. My prescriptions cost so much I take very few, and just suffer instead. I have allergies to almost everything, including food allergies. I have insomnia, colon and bladder problems, depression, ADHD, chronic fatigue syndrome, and still I get up and try to keep pushing on each day.

    I have not yet found a Medicare plan which will cover my prescriptions like most people assume that they do – it just isn’t there.

    I have three other people that I am also helping who live with me, and no, I am not kicking them out. They are tying their best also to look for work, and “make it” – and they are helping me with food, and labor. They do as much as they can.

    I AM fair with my computer skills, know Word, Quicken, and some others, was a teacher, and a secretary for many years. I am a very good musician, and a good singer also (no – I am not an amateur who just thinks they are good….)

    That was my last job..which I really loved. I had to leave that behind when I moved, and the strenous work I couldn’t keep up anyway -I was a one-girl country “band.”

    Now I just feel very tired, helpless, broken, and hopeless. Is there a doctor anywhere in the country who would take me on for what Medicare would pay, and try to find me medicine I can afford? My medication limit out-of-pocket, right now, would have to be no more than $50 a month. My drug plan has a $500. deductible at the start of each year anyway, so it is a long time before I can get even the prescriptions I need when Jan 1 rolls around.

    I have to eat only organic food, or get very ill, and cannot leave the house, and we all know how much that costs.

    Anyone else out there in a similar boat? If you know of any help which I do not, please let me know. Dr. Teitelbaum said that with his recommendation I would surely get disability, but I “have too much money” and they turned me down.

    Now I am living on the last of my retirement money. It will be all gone in the next two years.

    If something hasn’t come along before that, then my income will be zero. – Hello Black Bear Diner – M

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