Myth #1: I Can't Work Because of My Disability

It is common to have fears about your ability to work. You may be nervous about leaving your house, finding transportation to and from work, and handling your new work schedule. It is normal to have these concerns, but there are many resources and laws that will support you.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

This law makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against people with disabilities if they are qualified for a job. This includes all areas of employment such as interviewing, hiring, firing, training, promotions, and benefits. With reasonable accommodations, you can often be successful at more jobs than you may have thought possible. Employers are required by law to provide reasonable accommodations, but these accommodations will be different depending on each individual and each job setting.

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) can help you prepare for, find, and keep a job. The services can be different depending on the individual. The VR will work with you to determine which services you will need and a VR counselor will develop a plan with you to help you reach your work goals. If you get Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), VR is also an example of an Employment Network at which you can use your Ticket to Work. Visit the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) for more information on VR eligibility and the application process.

Job Coach

A job coach is a person who provides specialized on-site training to help you with learning and performing the job, and adjusting to the work environment. This person can help you with work-related concerns such as how to talk to your boss about questions you have on the job and what accommodations you may need. You might have a job coach through your Ticket to Work program, Vocational Rehabilitation, or through another agency.

Disability Disclosure

People with disabilities often wonder if they should tell their potential employer about their disability at the interview, when the job is offered to them, after they are hired, or at all. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, the only reason to disclose your disability is if you need to request a reasonable accommodation from your employer to perform an essential function of your job. There are many reasons you may want, or not want, to disclose your disability—this will be different with each person and each situation.

You may not have the option to not disclose your disability (for example, you may need to ask if the interview location is accessible or you may need an interpreter for the interview). If so, you will need to carefully write a disclosure statement to the employer. Remember to focus on your abilities, not your disabilities. You may want to Chat with a Hub expert for more information on disclosing your disability.