Disabled individuals often have a very difficult time finding work, despite laws requiring employers to make reasonable accommodations for those with a disability. Unfortunately, a new study now indicates that those who are disabled who are employed are paid around 10 percent less than other workers who hold similar jobs.
The lower pay rate is just one of many obstacles faced by disabled workers who are trying to make a living. Our Boston disability insurance lawyers know that many people with severe impairments struggle to find enough income to survive, either through a job or through disability benefits programs. Those who are disabled need to understand their rights so they can protect themselves in a system that seems stacked against them.
Disabled Workers Face Struggles in Supporting Themselves
According to USA Today, a study conducted by Cornell University identified the pay gap between disabled workers and others who are in similar careers. According to the study, people with disabilities were overrepresented in certain manual labor jobs, often working in production, transportation or office/administrative support positions.
One reason that was given for the pay gap is that disabled workers may be opting for lower paying jobs that provide better benefits since they are more concerned with securing health insurance to treat their medical conditions. This hypothesis was supported by the fact that when taking a benefits package into account, disabled workers received eight percent less in total compensation, rather than the 10 percent less when considering only salary/wages.
While finding a job that offers health benefits or flexibility for doctors appointments is very important, the pay gap coupled with the fact that disabled workers are underrepresented in white collar jobs leaves many people who suffer from a disability living paycheck to paycheck or living close to the poverty line.
The state of the disability benefits system also makes survival difficult for disabled workers. Even for those who go through multiple stages of appeals, fewer than four applicants out of every ten in the United States end up receiving benefits from the Social Security Administration if they are so impaired or disabled that they cannot work at all. For those who do receive benefits, the monthly amounts they receive may, under some circumstances, be barely enough to keep them above the poverty line, especially in a time when cost of living adjustments have been non-existent or at record lows for the last several years.
Disabled workers who are having a difficult time need to know and understand their rights so they can do what they need in order to provide for themselves and for their families. For example, disabled workers must be aware that employers are prohibited from discriminating in any of the terms and conditions of employment, and that employers are required to make reasonable accommodations to make it possible for someone who is disabled to do a job for which he is qualified.
Disabled workers also need to understand the SSD benefits application process, including their right to appeal claims denials if they are originally denied SSD income.
If you are considering filing for SSDI in Massachusetts, call for a free and confidential appointment at (617) 777-7777.
More Blog Entries:
SSDI and Private Disability Insurance, Boston Social Security Disability Insurance Blog, September 30, 2013