According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 19.1% of those with disabilities worked in the United States in 2021. This is a slight increase from 17.9% in 2020. It’s 2022; more than 19.1% of Americans who are disabled should be employed. I have been looking for a job since 2019 and have been unsuccessful. I am hoping to be employed by the end of the year. Having Cerebral Palsy doesn’t mean that I cannot work. I’ll need accommodations, but this isn’t a reason not to hire someone with a disability.
Potential employers don’t even want to interview me if I tell them that I’m disabled. Disabled people can be valuable employees. However, employers must be willing to hire them first. I was born with CP, and it is a lifelong condition. It will never go away. Cerebral Palsy is an apparent physical disability, so an employer cannot ignore it.
My disability won’t impact my ability to do a job if I land the right position. I will never be a chef, surgeon, or police officer. I’m not bothered by this. Regardless of disability, nobody can do every single job. I am discouraged when people say they can’t accommodate me for positions such as a cashier at the grocery store, or a teller at the bank.
Employers are sometimes hesitant to provide necessary accommodations. Having a personal care assistant on site is essential to my professional success. If I didn’t have a PCA, I wouldn’t be able to get to work or use the restroom. I couldn’t work full-time without going to the bathroom at some point during the day. Employers are not obligated to allow personal care assistants at work. Despite the fact that having a personal care assistant is likely the most important accommodation I’d require.
One of the reasons for the unemployment of many disabled people may not be thought about. Some of us with disabilities rely on government assistance, such as Medicaid, to function in our daily lives. People cannot go a day without getting dressed, having meals, or showering. The amount of money you can make and the number of assets you can retain are both limited in some of these programs. The system ultimately forces disabled people to live in poverty in order to survive. Medicaid should not be based on a person’s financial means.
I don’t want to rely on SSI for the rest of my life. If I can’t land a job, this might become a sad reality. The discrimination against disabled people in the workplace saddens me. I can be employed, but all I need is some help. If employers aren’t willing to provide the aforementioned help, I fear that I could be unemployed for the rest of my life.
“Persons with a Disability: Labor Force Characteristics Summary – 2021.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 24 Feb. 2022, https://www.bls.gov/news.release/disabl.nr0.htm.