With the country’s low unemployment rate howerving just under 4%, it is harder than ever for employers to find workers to hire. This low unemployment rate has translated into a positive trend for persons with disabilities looking to rejoin the workforce.
While the share of disabled people in the workforce was still only 3.2%, that was a slight increase from the percentage in previous years. The unemployment rate for disabled workers still remains much hired than for the general population – 10.5 percent in 2016 which was about double that of non-disabled workers.
While disabled workers often face bias when seeking a return to the workforce, many employers are adopting the perspective that disabled workers have the potential talent and work ethic needed to succeed in the workplace, an offshoot of their having to deal with and overcome the many challenges they face in daily life. Still, there are many employers who are not willing to make reasonable adjustments to incorporate disabled workers into their place of work.
The general rule is that recipients of The Supplemental Security Income Disability (SSDI), a federal program that provides assistance to people with disabilities who meet certain criteria, are unable to continue receiving disability benefits if they are earning more than $1,180 per month. There are exceptions to this rule, however, including a nine-month period during which recipients can make more than $1,180 while still receiving benefits and a three year term in which recipients can collect benefits during any month in which they make less than $1,180.
The return of many disabled people to the workforce will help to shrink the amount being paid out in benefits through SSDI, a program that is overburdened and strained with applicants. That being said, people who need the SSDI program can take steps to increase their chance of getting approved to collect benefits, explains disability attorney Russell D. Hedges.
A majority of people who apply for SSDI benefits are initially denied, according to the Social Security Administration. Some people are denied because they do not adequately prepare.
Have Medical Documents Ready
Applicants should continue to see doctors, follow recommended treatments, and gather updated medical documentation while waiting for approval.
Submit Forms with Application
Applicants should submit copies of their medical records with forms so that records do not get separated from their files.
Have Answers Ready
Applicants should be ready to answer questions about their condition, when it began, their work history and how their disability impacts their capabilities.