How Are Workers with Disabilities Faring in the Workplace?

Photo of man in wheelchair

Do you know how many people with disabilities are working full time in the United States of America? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics surveys, around 5 percent of the full-time workforce is made up of people with disabilities. However, a new study suggests that this number could be off, and if that’s true, we may have much to learn about how workers with disabilities fair while on the job.

How Many Workers with Disabilities Are There?

A study by the Center for Talent Innovation (CTI) analyzed professionals in the U.S. and other countries to try to help employers find new ways to improve work performance. In the U.S. it surveyed 3,570 employees and asked an array of questions. Some were basic questions you could find on a Bureau of Labor Statistics study, but other questions were designed to tease out if an individual had a disability that they were not reporting. The results were a bit shocking.

According to the CTI survey, 30 percent of full-time white-collar workers had a disability as defined by the federal government. This blows away the federal estimation of how many people have disabilities and work full-time jobs. The study when on to determine that 62 percent of the people who worked with disabilities have what is known as an invisible disability.

How Does This Affect the Workplace?

This means that many workers don’t claim the accommodations they need in order to work their best, and that can hinder their production. This can also lead to what’s called “negative bias” based on an impression that the worker lacks skills for certain assignments. In actuality, these workers could probably do more if their impairments were acknowledged and adaptations were made, but a stigma over how revealing a disability could affect their careers seems to be preventing this.

Studies like this pull back the curtain on the relationship between work and disability. It reveals that Americans have an even larger drive to work despite a disability. It also sheds a new light on those who can’t work anymore due to their disability. These are the people that disability attorneys like the ones at Troutman & Troutman fight hard for so they can get the benefits they need to get by.

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