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Census: Income Gap Marked For Workers With Disabilities


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People with disabilities are three times less likely to be employed and, when they are working, they’re earning 75 cents for each dollar others are paid.

Between 2008 and 2010, individuals with disabilities accounted for 6 percent of the workforce, according to data released this week from the U.S. Census.

Such workers were most often employed in service and administrative support roles. Positions as janitors or building cleaners, cashiers, dishwashers and in retail sales were among the most common cited.

For their labor, more than half of workers with disabilities earned less than $25,000 annually, the Census found.

“Even within the largest occupations, employed workers with disabilities, on average, earned less than similarly employed workers without disabilities,” said Jennifer Cheeseman Day, the assistant chief for employment characteristics at the Census Bureau.

The data, which was collected as part of the Census’ American Community Survey, is just the latest to highlight the persistent struggle facing people with disabilities to keep up in the workforce. As of February, the U.S. Department of Labor found a 12.3 percent unemployment rate among this population.

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Comments (9 Responses)

  1. Whitney says:

    Ah welcome to reality. The money that employers feel that are more than generous when comes to paying people with disability it is another form indentured servitude and cheap labor.

  2. shawn fultz says:

    I am disabled and I work very part time teaching computer skills to the disabled. I am very capable of working 40 hours a week, but I have not found an employer willing to give me an opportunity. I made so little teaching in 2012, I could do better financially saying “Do you want fries with that?” Oh yeah, I have a bachelor’s in computer science and a major’s in education.

  3. Whitney says:

    Even that data is skewed it means the unemployment figures is not the only thing you should take into account is underemployment. Which means that underemployment figures should be part of the unemployment labor figures to give an more accurate portrayal.

    Aspergers syndrome the last unemployment figure hovers 80%. So it begs the question what is being asked to get such low figure 12.3%.

  4. David Leonard says:

    Limiting a person who receives SSDI to SGA earnings in order to maintain their SSD and Medicare benefits acts as a barrier and becomes a “dis”insentive to return to the workforce. I know there are a few State and Federal programs to assist persons-with-disabilities gain employment, however, I believe the data presented in this census report highlights some underlying cultural bias confronting those of us with disabilities.

    David Leonard

  5. Laurie says:

    I wonder about that statement that 12.3 percent of those with disabilities are unemployed. I can’t imagine that that is accurate. I believe the number is much, much larger than that.

  6. Jennifer J says:

    Is there anything being done to help close or limit this income gap? Are there any companies out there who employ people with disabilities full-time or at least for 30hours?

  7. Donald M. Fitch,MS says:

    Recipients of SSDI are able to work their way off, but not Recipients of SSI. SSA deducts one half of your monthly gross earnings over $85.00! HUD adds 30% to your rent, FDA/food stamps is often eliminated. When you add up all the govt ” work penalties” plus taxes & the usual work related expenses it results in a net loss. 1/2 of 1% actually work their way off(SSA #s). The laws have to change, email your elected officials.

  8. Whitney says:

    There is a twofold problem with employers perceptions with people disability. If a person has disability to them that the government is providing SSI or SSDI and they do not need the job. That the person has government providing income and this will help non-disabled person. The problem is that employer often believes the income of the programs SSI and SSDI are far greater than they actually are. In some cases the Employer believes an non-disabled person needs the job more than Disabled worker does. It comes down to matter public perception of things.

  9. Philip Kirschner says:

    I work for a very large American Owned Corporation in technical support. However, I got a written warning on performance now. I am wondering what rights would I even have?

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