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U.S. Disability Employment Information and Job Resources

Disabled World: Revised/Updated: 2019/01/08

Synopsis: Information about disability employment programs in the United States including services laws and benefits for disabled persons.

Main Document

In the USA The Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) seeks to increase employment opportunities for people with disabilities by expanding access to training, education, employment supports, assistive technology, integrated employment, entrepreneurial development, and small-business opportunities.

The agency also builds partnerships with employers and state and local agencies to increase awareness of the benefits of hiring people with disabilities, and to facilitate the use of effective strategies.

The Department's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) enforces Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act, which requires federal contractors and subcontractors with government contracts in excess of $10,000, to take affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified individuals with disabilities.

The OFCCP also enforces the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA), which prohibits employment discrimination against certain categories of veterans by federal contractors. Some disabled veterans are covered under this law.

When employees are injured or disabled or become ill on the job, they may be entitled to medical and/or disability-related leave under two federal laws: the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). In addition, state Workers' Compensation laws have leave provisions that may apply. Depending on the situation, one or more of these laws can apply to the same employee.

Employment Rights of People with Specific Disabilities

Two people leaning over a desk shaking hands in agreement - Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash.
Two people leaning over a desk shaking hands in agreement - Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued four revised documents on protection against disability discrimination, pursuant to the goal of the agency's Strategic Plan to provide up-to-date guidance on the requirements of anti-discrimination laws.

The documents address how the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to applicants and employees with cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, and intellectual disabilities. These documents are available on the agency's website at "Disability Discrimination, The Question and Answer Series," www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/disability.cfm

In plain, easy-to-understand language, the revised documents reflect the changes to the definition of disability made by the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) that make it easier to conclude that individuals with a wide range of impairments, including cancer, diabetes, epilepsy, and intellectual disabilities, are protected by the ADA.

Each of the documents also answers questions about topics such as: when an employer may obtain medical information from applicants and employees; what types of reasonable accommodations individuals with these particular disabilities might need; how an employer should handle safety concerns; and what an employer should do to prevent and correct disability-based harassment. Further information is available at www.eeoc.gov

Facts and Statistics on U.S. Disability Employment

Sen. Edward Kennedy once wrote;

"...the high unemployment rate among people receiving federal disability benefits is not because their federal benefits programs have 'front doors that are too big - i.e., have eligibility criteria that are too loose - but because they have 'back doors that are too small' - i.e., once persons are on the rolls, it is too risky to come off."

Associated Sub-Topics and Pertinent Documents

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