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Disabled push to get back to work

Just because an individual might be eligible to receive Social Security Disability does not mean that he or she has no intention of working. However, the reason that such a large amount of people receive the payments is that jobs are statistically harder to come by for those with disabilities.

Numbers from the Labor Department reveal that roughly 27 million working-age people in Pennsylvania and across the United States suffer from a disability. Of those, less than 19 percent held jobs. The number of people with disabilities who had jobs, dropped by one million since September of 2008, making for a 17 percent plummet. This number is far different for Americans without disabilities, of which 65 percent held jobs as of present day.

A lot of this has to do with the fact that disabled workers cannot get their foot in the proverbial door by getting someone to initially hire them. Advocates and organizations for disabled workers are combating this by creating programs where they contract disabled workers out to companies so the worker can receive the valuable experience. With this experience, the disabled worker becomes more employable.

With a growing number of businesses jumping on board with such programs, advocates for disabled workers are slowly starting to narrow the gap in unemployment between disabled and non-disabled workers.

At least this is the case for the younger demographic of disabled workers. Experts say older people with disabilities are less likely to have a college degree and therefore do not want to risk seeking employment in a turbulent economy and giving up the possibility of stable Social Security Disability payments. But disabled workers under the age of 35 are more likely to have a college degree and are hungry to join the work force.

Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, "Disabled hail opportunity to narrow employment gap," Tom Fontaine, Oct. 24, 2011

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