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Disability Employment: Schedule A

  • Posted on December 20, 2013 at 10:00 AM

While preparing for my first set of finals for my MPA degree, I encountered an unexpected opportunity for disability employment. The federal government of the United States of America is attempting to increase their hiring of people with disabilities, even people with severe disabilities, with the creation of the Schedule A.

The Schedule A provides excepted authority, which is used to appoint persons with disabilities to government jobs. If you’re interested in this process, you should take a look at this guide. If you fill out the paperwork and qualify for the program, you can seek a government position without facing the usual competition for the position. You will need to be qualified for the position you apply for, though internships and other training may also be available.

There are reasons to work for government organizations, including stability, benefits, and other perks. However, government is in a state of upheaval, so some of the long-regarded perks of government employment may be vanishing. It’s also important to note that my preparations for my finals also revealed that the federal government, i.e. the sponsor of Schedule A, has been losing more workers than they’ve been hiring in 2013. State and local government agencies are only hiring slowly in most areas, and I do not know if any state or local governments have a similar program.

Voices: Bridget Allen

  • Posted on December 18, 2013 at 10:00 AM

As I delve further into the issue of disability employment, focusing somewhat on the possibilities for better employment for people with neurological differences, it’s important to recognize that there should be a choice. Bridget Allen brings us that voice.

First, I want to clarify that my focus is on disability employment because there is a problem I see that I want to fix:

But I do not work. I am autistic, and being the autistic I am means I am real-world, social-model-disabled. I do not work because I cannot. There are a dozen hypothetical ‘what if...’ or ‘should be...’ scenarios in which I could hold down a job, but that is not my reality.

There are very few reasons that I can imagine that work should be impossible for someone who wants to work. If you want to work, but you’re incarcerated for criminal activity… If you want to work, but you’re comatose… If you want to work, but you need to spend your time rehabilitating from an injury, illness, or addiction… If you want to draw a payment, but don’t actually want to work… If you want to work, but aren’t willing to abide by the ethical standards of your profession… These are a few reasons why work might be genuinely impossible.

In a society as diverse, as wealthy, as technology capable as ours, there shouldn’t be such a thing as “too disabled to work” for someone who wants to work. Accommodations and innovations are sufficiently possible to give people the opportunity to work to support themselves, regardless of their disabilities.

This idealized possibility of work shouldn’t mean someone’s self-worth or social-worth should be defined by the work that they do (or don’t do, as the case may be) as indicated by this passage:

My childhood was infused with a popular feminist theme. I was taught that a Real Woman is financially independent. She doesn’t need a man be it a husband or larger entity (The Man) to support her basic needs or the needs of her offspring. A Real Woman knows children are an accessory to a career, not something one builds a life around. I regularly heard the words ‘housewife’ and ‘brood mare’ used interchangeably. I am loathe to believe this is real feminism, because empowerment that exists on the denigration and neglect of other’s needs empowers no one.

It certainly shouldn’t be a choice between acknowledging one’s need for disability-related assistance and raising one’s children without interference from CPS as indicated in this passage:

I started to apply for disability once, but every worker I spoke to asked the same question: If you are too disabled to work, how can you be a fit mother? I was told, repeatedly and in no uncertain terms that if I submitted an SSI application, a Child Protective Services investigation would be in my future.

It should simply be a choice:

If I could choose, I likely would stay home, but I don’t really have that choice. I’m too disabled for gainful employment, and it would be a slap in the face to too many people I respect to fake that.

Disability Employment: The Chronic Crisis

  • Posted on December 16, 2013 at 10:00 AM

In November 2013, 68.6% of Americans without disabilities participated in the workforce. Only 19.6% of Americans with disabilities participated in the workforce. Of the 68.6% of Americans without disabilities who participated in the workforce, 6.4% of them were unemployed. Of the 19.6% of Americans with disabilities who participated in the workforce, 12.3% of them were unemployed. This isn’t a lingering effect of the recession. This is a chronic problem that has gone on for years.

If it were any other American minority group, there would be public outcry and a demand for action. Unfortunately, people with disabilities don’t warrant that much attention from the general public. Despite the persistent prejudice against people with disabilities:

  • People with disabilities are employable.
  • People with disabilities can make substantial contributions as part of our workforce.
  • There is no excuse for these discrepancies.

I’m not going to dwell on this. The numbers speak for themselves. But I will return later this week with more information.