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

My doctor or other important people in my life have told me that I cannot work. They say it is too stressful and may make my condition worse.

Your disability may impact the kinds of jobs you can do and the number of hours you’re able to work. However, many people with disabilities are finding that with good, thoughtful preparation and support, they are able to succeed at jobs that are satisfying and meaningful to them. 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, having new work-related expenses, 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)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that 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. Often, with reasonable accommodations you can be successful at more jobs than you may have thought possible. Employers are required by law to offer reasonable accommodations, so that you can do your job. These accommodations will be different from person to person, depending on each person’s needs and job setting. Read more about the ADA and reasonable accommodations in the DB101 article on Job Supports and Accommodations.

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) can help you prepare for, find, and keep work. The services will be different from person to person, depending on each person’s needs. VR will work with you to figure out which services you will need. You and a VR counselor will develop a plan to help you reach your work goals. VR is an example of an agency where you can use your Ticket to Work. To apply for services, call or visit a VR counselor at your local VR office.

Job Coach

A job coach is a person who offers specialized on-site training to help you with learning and performing your job and adjusting to the work environment. A job coach 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 employers about their disability. And, if they decide to do so, should they disclose their disability during the interview, when they get a job offer, or after they have been hired. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the only time you have to disclose your disability is if you need to request a reasonable accommodation from your employer to perform an essential function of your job. However, there are other reasons you may want, or not want, to disclose your disability. This decision will vary from person to person and from situation to 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 that’s the case, you will need to carefully write a disclosure statement to the employer. Remember to focus on your abilities, not your disabilities.

For more information about disclosing your disability, read the DB101 article on Job Supports and Accommodations or check out the Job Accommodation Network (JAN).