Setting a good example

Disabilities cover a broad spectrum. Some workers suffer an illness or other medical condition that knocks them out of work for an extended period of time and it may be severe enough that they are able to qualify for Social Security Disability. However, with proper medical treatment and time away from work, which may have aggravated or caused their disability, they may regain the ability to return to work.

Others may have a medical condition or a permanent injury that significantly limits their capability for many types of work. For either disabled worker, an attempt to reenter the workforce brings with it many challenges.

One hurdle for many disabled is that employers are less likely to hire them, as they see someone with an impairment as a worker who would be less productive and cost more due to the likelihood of necessary accommodations.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has published a proposed rule that would "reaffirm" the federal government's commitment to improving the representation of those with disabilities within the agencies of the federal government.

The EEOC hopes that by collecting all of the existing requirements into a single location will assist the agencies with compliance. They also hope to improve the numbers of disabled workers employed by creating resources that are more robust to aid the workers with impairments in obtaining and maintaining employment.

In addition, there is the "example setting" role of the federal government, to provide an example for other employers in the workplace and encourage them to offer employment to those with disabilities.

But it should be clear from the start that such a program is done to benefit those with certain disabilities. Given the severity of the standards for obtaining SSD, programs like this will not serve as a means of significantly reducing the numbers of those on SSD or saving significant expense.

Source: eeoc.gov, "EEOC Proposes Regulations Describing Federal Government's Obligation to Engage in Affirmative Action for People with Disabilities," U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, February 23, 2016

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