I’ve written extensively recently about my struggles to find a job. I am one of the approximately eight million SSI beneficiaries in the United States. There tend to be misconceptions about those who receive disability benefits. I’ve been told on many occasions that I should just get a job instead of relying on SSI. I understand that people are trying to be helpful when they suggest that I get a job. However, this statement is not helpful whatsoever. In this economy, getting a job is tough for anyone, especially disabled people.
I have been looking for a job since 2019. In that time, I have filled out hundreds of job applications. I have only landed a handful of interviews. I couldn’t even get a job at a grocery store or a fast-food restaurant. It is difficult for me to see teenagers who are able to work part-time. I’ve wanted to work ever since I was sixteen years old. Most 22-year-olds have some employment history already. The lack of experience on my résumé has prevented me from getting jobs in the past.
Once employers find out that I have Cerebral Palsy, they are no longer interested in hiring me. They don’t even bother to interview me. Discrimination because of a disability is supposed to be illegal, but it happens anyway. Earlier this month, the manager of a local Homewood Suites hotel rescinded my interview after I disclosed my disability. This is frustrating because Cerebral Palsy shouldn’t automatically mean that I am unemployable. If societal attitudes don’t change, I could be unemployed for the rest of my life. Ableism is why I am unemployed right now.
Getting a job is very difficult when you have a disability. If I could get a job, I would be working right now. It’s not like I haven’t tried to find work. I still fill out job applications weekly. Think about this if you suggest that a disabled person should get a job.
“Number of Recipients, 1974–2020.” Social Security Administration, Social Security Administration, 1 Dec. 2020, https://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/chartbooks/fast_facts/2021/fast_facts21.html.