Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show that people with disabilities had a jobless rate of 12.6% in 2020, representing a 5.3 percentage points increase from 2019. The unemployment rate for persons with disabilities was significantly higher compared to the rate for people without a disability.

Factors that Contribute to High Jobless Rate for People with Disabilities  

Poor Enforcement of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Poor implementation of ADA contributes to a high jobless rate for persons with disabilities. Poor enforcement of this act means most companies lack the necessary infrastructure and policies to accommodate people with disabilities in their workplaces.

Use of Algorithmic Assessments

Algorithmic assessments that are often used by big corporations have significantly reduced the odds of individuals with disabilities finding work. Applicants with disabilities are filtered out because they don’t present themselves in ways that algorithmic assessments deem normative. An applicant with a disability, for instance, is likely to get a poor score on his or her application if he or she shows facial features or gestures that are unfamiliar to the algorithm during a video interview.

Fear of the Former President Trump’s Administration

Jobless rates may also have increased because of the fear of the former President Trump’s government, especially among disabled immigrants. The public charge rule that prohibits people who have a higher likelihood of using public benefits from admission to the U.S. came into force on Feb 24, 2020. This rule along with the government’s focus on enforcing immigration laws sparked fear among immigrants with disabilities and those without disabilities. That fear barred people from disclosing their disabilities or seeking assistance to quash their barriers to employment.

Obtaining Social Security Disability Benefits

Social Security disability offers benefits to individuals who are incapable of working due to a disabling condition. Applicants must meet the following conditions to qualify for these benefits:

  • The person must have a severe physical or mental disability;
  • The disability leads to obvious limitations;
  • These limitations must keep the person from performing a substantial gainful activity (SGA); and,
  • The disability must be expected to last for at least 12 consecutive months or lead to death.

A person with a disabling condition can increase the chances of having his or her disability benefits application approved by working with social security disability lawyers. The lawyers know the information required for a successful disability benefits application and will guide the applicant through the whole process.