You may not know it, but October is 2018 National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). Led by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), this annual event raises awareness about disability employment issues, celebrates the important contributions made by workers with disabilities, and promotes the advantages of a workforce inclusive of their skills and talents. Workplaces that value the talents of all people, including those with disabilities, are an essential part of ODEP’s efforts to build an inclusive community and robust economy.
This year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month theme will be America’s Workforce: Empowering All.
“A workforce that empowers everyone is good for job seekers as well as job creators,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta about this year’s event. “Over the past year, the unemployment rate for individuals with disabilities has significantly declined. Continued steady job creation will provide even more opportunities for all Americans to get hired and provide for their families.”
Employers and employees can learn more about how to participate in National Disability Employment Awareness Month and promote its messages — not just during October, but throughout the year — by visiting www.dol.gov/ndeam.
History of NDEAM
NDEAM dates back to 1945, when President Harry S. Truman approved a Congressional resolution declaring the first week in October “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.”
This was done in response to growing public concern about the challenges disabled veterans faced when returning to the workplace after World War II. In 1962, the word “physically” was removed to recognize the employment needs and contributions of persons with all types of disabilities. Congress expanded the week to a month in 1988 and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month. ODEP assumed responsibility for NDEAM in 2001 and has worked to expand its reach and scope ever since.
Studies Show Benefits of Hiring Workers with Disabilities
According to the Council of Economic Advisors, no group has felt the benefits of accelerated economic growth more than Americans with disabilities. More than 343,000 people with disabilities entered the nation’s workforce last year – a four-fold increase over the previous year.
Studies have repeatedly shown the benefits of hiring persons with disabilities. Some of these benefits include:
- Higher retention rates
- Increased productivity levels
- Lower absenteeism
- Lower injury rates
- Monetary incentives, such as tax credits and deductions
- Employer brand enhancement
Employing people with disabilities does not cost any more than employing people without disabilities.
People with disabilities also benefit from working, such as an improved quality of life and income, enhanced self-esteem, expanded social network, and a sense of community.
People Who Are Unable to Work Because of Their Disabilities
Not all workers who have a disabling condition are able to remain in the workforce. If your disability has left you unable to work, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
M. Stanley Whitehead is a leading Houston disability benefits attorney dedicated to helping people across the nation to get the SSDI benefits they deserve. Certified in Social Security Disability Law by the National Board of Social Security Disability Advocacy, M. Stanley Whitehead has extensive experience handling SSDI denials through all stages of appeal. Call the Law Offices of M. Stanley Whitehead to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your situation.