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What I Wish I Knew About Applying for Jobs with Spinal Cord Injury When I Was First Injured

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Many people relish going back to work after their spinal cord injury. Not only does it provide financial stability, but working also gives people something to wake up for. As the old adage says, saying busy keeps the mind off of things one would rather not think of. 

  

The good news is that there are hundreds of things people have learned when applying for a job with a spinal cord injury. Many of these lessons they wish they had known before going to an interview and we are sharing them below. Read on for some priceless employment advice from survivors with spinal cord injuries.

 

You’re Not Obligated to Disclose Your Disability

Many people feel they should tell a possible employer they have a disability or use a wheelchair before arriving for the interview. This is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as an applicant with a spinal cord injury. You are under no legal obligation to disclose your disability or to speak about it during the application process or interview. Needless to say, they will be curious, and you can tell them if you would like, but it is probably in your best interest to not mention your disability until you’re hired.

 

Employers Are Required to Provide Reasonable Accommodations

Because of the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers are legally obligated to provide reasonable accommodations so you can perform the job you've been hired to do. "Reasonable" accommodations mean the employer does not need to spend an exorbitant amount of money to make the job work for you and your abilities. For example, you cannot apply for a job that requires the ability to stand and then ask for an exoskeleton so you can perform your duties. 

 

You Can Do More Than a Computer or Desk Job

Many people are told by vocational counselors they should think about doing a more stationary job such as working at a desk or a computer. Not everyone however is happy sitting in front of a desk or computer all day. Many with spinal cord injuries have jobs outside of the office and are very successful at them. There are plenty of options too, from being a teacher to working at a museum. 

 

You Can Create Your Own Schedule

For many people, the thought of returning back to a full-time job is daunting. You do not however have to return to a full-time job if you don’t think it will work with your lifestyle. There are many jobs that now offer 3/4 time and other flexible schedule options. You can also work from home in many positions. Also, you can work as a freelancer in a variety of fields, which allows you to create an even more individualized schedule.

 

Working Can Help with Depression

Returning to a job you held before your injury can bring a sense of accomplishment, not to mention financial stability, which can help ease the depression that can occur after a spinal cord injury. For those who did not work before their injuries, becoming employed post-injury can provide a level of fulfillment as well.

 

Being on Medicaid/Medicare Can Help You Get Hired

If you decide to look for a full-time job and you are on Medicaid or Medicare due to the need for caregivers, many possible employers will see this as a bonus since it will be cheaper to hire you, as you will not be using the health care that comes with the position. Unfortunately, most health insurance provided by employers does not cover the hours of caregivers needed by quadriplegics.

 

We hope this list has expanded your mind to the possibilities of being employed as someone with a spinal cord injury. There are so many options and assistance available that it is almost impossible to fail if making money is something you would like to do post-injury.

Topics: Spinal Cord Injury, Caregivers, Wheelchair, Disability, quadriplegics, post-injury, Provide Reasonable Accommodations, Americans with Disabilities Act, working at a museum, jobs outside of the office, You Can Create Your Own Schedule, flexible schedule, full-time job, freelancer, Medicaid/Medicare, Working Can Help with Depression, Disclose Your Disability, interview, exoskeleton, You Can Do More Than a Computer or Desk Job

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