Posted on Jul 21, 2013

The good news:  The economy is improving.

The not-so-good news:  Unemployment rates among disabled Americans are still increasing.

Although more than 195,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy in June, the unemployment rate for the nation stayed at 7.6 percent. The unemployment rate for disabled job seekers increased from 13.6 percent in May to 14.2 percent in June. The U.S. Department of Labor also noted an increase in individuals with disabilities who have stopped looking for jobs.

As of May 2013, 69.1 percent of non-disabled adults were working or looking for work compared to 20.1 percent of disabled adults. Since the unemployment rate considers only those who are actively seeking employment, this means that only about 18 percent of disabled Americans are gainfully employed.

Why are employment rates for disabled adults so low? One reason is age. Forty-six percent of those with disabilities are over age 65. Those who are working are more likely to be young and well-educated. However, unemployment levels for the disabled are significantly higher than those of non-disabled across all age groups and all education levels.

The truth is that many disabilities make it difficult or impossible to keep a job. It can be very challenging to work when you are in constant pain or have problems walking, standing, or sitting for more than a few hours.

Our Nebraska disability benefits lawyers help those who are no longer able to work because of disability to apply for federal benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

The Labor Department began tracking employment levels among Americans with disabilities in 2008. And the first employment report was made in February 2009. Reports are now compiled monthly, but it is too early to determine long term trends.

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Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska