Looking For Work? Help Is Here For Those Living With A Disability

Looking For Work? Help Is Here For Those Living With A Disability

“When you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.”~Theodore Roosevelt

At the time of my MS diagnosis I was like a budding flower just beginning to open.  I finished college, entered the workforce four weeks after graduation, and loved my new dream job.

I was “on the road to find out”, as Cat Stevens said.

Working in Manhattan was everything I thought it would be: exciting, a lot of hard work and an entire new learning experience.

The large corporation I worked for not only provided a paycheck, but also limousine service if you worked extra hours, tickets to Broadway shows, and parties held at exclusive nightclubs. 

It was thrilling for a twenty-something.

When my diagnosis came, my work life changed on a dime.  I was tired, my legs were weak, and I was scared.  How could I keep up the daily pace of work, bus schedules and socializing?

It was too much to handle.

I ended up quitting, giving up my apartment and moving home.

I was devastated.

Does my story resonate with you?  Do you sometimes wonder how you can return to work while dealing with your MS?    

There is plenty of help.

Here are a list of some ways to help you find a job while living with a disability:

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society offers advice on finding work, whether to disclose your disability, knowing your rights, and information on how to view various brochures, videos and online programming. There is also an in-person or self-guided program called Career Crossroads that is a coaching program.

The Ticket to Work program is a free, voluntary program run by the government to help Social Security beneficiaries find a job (that may lead to a career).  The program tries to provide you with choices in finding a job that is right for you.  Check out the website if you are currently on disability to see how you can find this program in your state.

This Wikihow article is helpful in assessing your abilities, learning about interview tactics, whether to declare your disability, and other tips and tricks in finding work as a disabled person.

The National Organization on Disability offers resources and information on where to look for work, including GettingHired.com, Job Accommodations Network and National Business and Disability Council.

Disability.gov – check them out once THE GOVERNMENT IS NO LONGER SHUT DOWN!

Disability Discrimination – know your rights that are covered under The Americans with Disabilities Act, including harassment, reasonable accommodations, undue hardship and other resources to learn more.

This is a small sampling of resources available for people living with a disability who want to find a job.  There are also many websites specific to your location that may be valuable in your search.

Do your research, talk to others and let MultipleSclerosis.net know if you have any questions, further information or concerns.

Good luck!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The MultipleSclerosis.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

View Comments (6)
  • kkcurtis
    1 year ago

    This is something I struggle with daily. When I was first diagnosed I had been laid off and was convinced that I would find work again once the economy improved. I was informed by my health insurance that they would be filing a disability claim on my behalf. I went along with it thinking that there was no way I would be classified as disabled. A few months later, when I received the letter that I had been approved for disability I was devestated. I know I should be grateful (and I am) that I didn’t have to fight for years like some other MSers, but I became even more depressed. My only salvation came from the belief that I would work again some day. I have spent the last nine years trying to stay as healthy as possible. I go to the gym almost everyday, even if it means just sitting on a bike for five minutes. I’ve completely changed my diet, take massive amounts of vitamins and supplements, and have almost daily appointments of physical therapy, acupuncture and massage therapy, not to mention the regular dr’s appts, neuro appts and counseling. I am currently in another severe depression because I realized that although I am doing everything I can to stay healthy and mobile, there is no way I can go back to work. What employer is going to hire me when there is no guarantee that I can make it through one shift, let alone one week and allow me the time off I need to stay healthy? If I go back to work, there is no way I could continue my regiment and then my condition would get worse and I wouldn’t be able to work anyway. Believe me, I am grateful for the abilities I do have but I miss who I was. I just wish there were more meaningful employment opportunities for us. Most of us can complete assignments but our disease is incompatible with an hourly schedule. I am hopeful for the day when we can find sustainable work at home that fits around our schedule and allows us to function as productive members of society.

  • bandi
    1 year ago

    I was DX with MS while PG with twins. I was working fulltime and have been working 2 jobs most of my life. Always in the office sector. After my DX and various medications I was told going back to work I would have to lower my expectations due to my cognitive ability. I’ve been having to do more physical jobs on my feet, so I’m only able to work part time as to not to push my MS. I get tired very easy. So when people talk about the person they used to be before MS? I can definately relate

  • Amit
    5 years ago

    The job fairs for the disabled offer very meagre pay such that it is an outright insult to a well-qualified and experienced professional stuck in the prime of his youth by MS. Hope for better times to come and to come in my lifetime so that I am not a burden on my family personally and on the society as a whole.

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    5 years ago

    I am not in expert on counseling you, Barbara. Perhaps you can ask NMSS if they can recommend a counselor that is well versed in MS and is an experienced career counselor who could help you. Make a list of your qualifications and bring them with you so you can discuss what your strengths are. I also suggest you post this question on the Facebook page of MultipleSclerosis.net. I am one of the moderators there, but perhaps others will be able to help and comment as well. Also, take a look at some of the government websites I provided and speak with them about a career counselor. Keep us posted, and best of luck to you!

  • Jessica Petroff
    5 years ago

    Cathy:

    Thank you so much for this article. I work in the medical field and I am currently in a relapse that I just can’t shake. I am having a hard time transitioning back in to work. Just can’t shake the mental fatigue and with my job you need to be sharp as a tack. I also was discriminated against after I had to disclose my MS to my practice manager. I was pulled from a job that I loved (running a physician 3 days a week) and put up front doing checking in/out, which is such a waste of my skills and not what I went to school for or was hired to do. I wasn’t given any disciplinary examples or complaints of why and when I pushed for an answer was told that the physician I was running was concerned for my health and felt I’d be better suited doing a sit down desk job. I didn’t have any issues with my MS flaring up until this happened. So frustrating!

    I found this article very helpful and will contact the NMSS for further help. Great resources you provided, thanks again!

  • Cathy Chester moderator author
    5 years ago

    Oh, I am so glad I could be of some help to you. Remember, you have value and you matter. Your skills will always be with you, and the people who treat you that way should either be reprimanded or spoken to about what they did. If you need to consider hiring an attorney let me know. I’ll write an article on it! (just kidding, but MultipleSclerosis.net is always here to help!)

    Good luck to you, Jessica, and I do hope you will keep us posted!

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