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Persons with a Disability Employment Report

  • Publish Date : 2013/04/29 - (Rev. 2016/11/10)
  • Author : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Synopsis:

Information about barriers to employment, prior work experience, career and financial assistance, changes to the workplace and related topics for persons with a disability.

Main Document

Persons With A Disability: Barriers To Employment, Types Of Assistance, And Other Labor-related Issues (May 2012).

In May 2012, half of all persons with a disability who were not working reported some type of barrier to employment, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Lack of education or training, lack of transportation, the need for special features at the job, and a person's own disability were among the barriers reported. Among persons with a disability who were employed, over half had some difficulty completing their work duties because of their disability.

These findings were obtained from a supplement to the May 2012 Current Population Survey (CPS). The supplement was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy. The CPS is a monthly survey of about 60,000 households that obtains information on national employment and unemployment for the civilian non-institutional population age 16 and over, including information on persons with a disability. The May 2012 supplement collected information about barriers to employment, prior work experience, career and financial assistance, requested changes to the workplace, and related topics for persons with a disability.

Highlights From the Report:

Barriers to Employment

Half of those with a disability who were not employed in May 2012 (that is, persons who were either unemployed or not in the labor force) reported at least one barrier to employment. When asked to identify barriers they had encountered, most reported that their own disability was a barrier to employment (80.5 percent). Other barriers cited included lack of education or training (14.1 percent), lack of transportation (11.7 percent), and the need for special features at the job (10.3 percent).

A greater proportion of persons ages 16 to 64 reported a barrier to employment than those age 65 and over (70.8 percent and 29.8 percent, respectively), perhaps reflecting the fact that older workers are, in general, less likely to participate in the labor force. Among persons with a disability age 25 and over, 38.6 percent of persons with a college degree who were not employed reported a barrier to employment, compared with 52.9 percent of those with less than a high school diploma.

Prior Work Experience

Among persons with a disability who were not in the labor force in May 2012 (that is, neither employed nor unemployed), 87.7 percent had worked before. This proportion was essentially the same for both men and women. A person's disability status was established at the time of the survey; their previous work experience may have occurred at a time when they did not have a disability.

The proportion of persons with a disability who were not in the labor force but had prior work experience increased with age. For example, 21.1 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds had worked before, compared with 96.9 percent of those age 65 and over.

Individuals with a disability who had higher levels of educational attainment were more likely to have had work experience. About 96.9 percent of those age 25 and over with a college degree had worked before, compared with 84.7 percent of those with less than a high school diploma.

Financial Assistance Programs

About 58.4 percent of persons with a disability received financial assistance within the past year from one or more of the following sources: Workers Compensation, Social Security Disability Income, Supplemental Security Income, Veterans Disability compensation, disability insurance payments, Medicaid, Medicare, and other payments or programs.

Among persons with a disability, those who were employed were least likely to have received some type of financial assistance within the past year (23.9 percent). About 39.8 percent of persons with a disability who were unemployed received assistance from at least one of the financial assistance programs listed above, compared with 67.0 percent for those not in the labor force. (Differences in use of financial assistance among those with a disability reflect a variety of factors such as age, work history, or program eligibility requirements.)

Some financial assistance programs include work limitations in order to establish or maintain program eligibility. The large majority (92.5 percent) of those who received financial assistance within the past year reported that the program(s) they used did not cause them to work less than they otherwise would have.

Difficulty Completing Work Duties

In May 2012, just over half of employed persons with a disability reported that their disability caused difficulty in completing their current work duties. About 27.8 percent reported a little difficulty in completing work duties, 21.1 percent reported moderate difficulty, and 7.0 percent reported severe difficulty. About 44.1 percent of employed persons with a disability had no difficulty completing their current work duties.

Among employed persons with a disability, those age 65 and over were less likely to report that they had some difficulty completing their work duties than were those ages 16 to 64 46.8 percent versus 57.6 percent. Men and women were about equally likely to report difficulty completing work duties due to their disability.

Requesting Changes in the Workplace

Employed persons with a disability were more likely to have requested a change in their current workplace to do their job better than were those with no disability (12.5 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively). Such changes included new or modified equipment; physical changes to the workplace; policy changes to the workplace; changes in work tasks, job structure, or schedule; changes in communication or information sharing; changes to comply with religious beliefs; accommodations for family or personal obligations; training; or other changes. Among workers with a disability, 14.1 percent of those ages 16 to 64 had requested a change in their current work place, compared with 3.6 percent of those age 65 and over.

Regardless of disability status, requests for changes to work tasks, job structure, or schedule were most common, followed by requests for new or modified equipment.

Persons with a disability who asked for a change in their current workplace were more likely to have requested physical changes to the workplace than were those with no disability. In contrast, training, policy changes, or changes in communication or information sharing were more commonly requested by employed persons with no disability.

Work at Home

In May 2012, about 24.5 percent of employed persons with a disability did some work at home as part of their job, compared with 20.2 percent of those with no disability. Older workers (age 65 and over) with a disability were more likely to work at home than those ages 16 to 64, while men and women with a disability were equally likely to work at home.

Persons with a disability who had higher educational attainment were more likely to work at home. For example, among persons with a disability age 25 and over, college graduates were more than 3 times as likely to work at home than those without a high school diploma (48.9 percent and 14.8 percent, respectively).

Flexible Work Hours

Employed persons with a disability were more likely than those with no disability to have flexible work schedules in May 2012 (42.2 percent and 35.0 percent, respectively). These workers reported that they had flexible work hours that allowed them to vary the time they began or ended work.

Over half (57.3 percent) of workers with a disability age 65 and over had flexible work schedules, compared with 39.4 percent of those between 16 and 64 years of age. Men and women with disabilities were about equally likely to have flexible work hours.

Regardless of disability status, the likelihood of having a flexible work schedule was higher for college graduates than for persons with less education.

Temporary Jobs

In May 2012, about 5.8 percent of employed persons with a disability held jobs that were temporary, compared with 4.4 percent of those with no disability. These workers expected their job to last only for a limited time or until the completion of a project.

For both persons with and without a disability, the likelihood of holding a temporary job was highest among persons who had not completed high school.


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