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Workers with Disabilities

Posted on:11/25/2012
While the welfare rolls declined during the 1990s, nationwide the rolls of two other government benefit programs, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), sharply increased. Today millions of adults across the nation are unemployed and receiving SSI or SSDI.


While the welfare rolls declined during the 1990s, nationwide the rolls of two other government benefit programs, Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), sharply increased. Today millions of adults across the nation are unemployed and receiving SSI or SSDI.

 

Many of these workers have physical disabilities. An even greater number have either developmental disabilities or mental health issues. In some states, the combined number of SSI and SSDI recipients  are larger than the size of the labor force of most states.

 

This growth in SSI/SSDI parallels the increase in the unemployment rate for workers with disabilities. The conventional wisdom is that, following passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, unemployment among workers with disabilities declined.

 

The SSI/SSDI population has not received the attention that the welfare population has in recent years, nor the push to employment. But that is beginning to change, and for good reasons. Some of these reasons involve the costs to federal and state government of having such a large (and growing) number of workers on long-term SSI/SSDI.

 

Another reason is more positive: employers recognize the promise of workers with disabilities in today's highly complex and specialized labor market. These workers bring strengths to many jobs, above those of other workers. They bring specialized skills and often a work loyalty not possessed by other workers.


  
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