Economic News Release

Persons With A Disability: Barriers to Employment, Types of Assistance, and other Labor-Related Issues Summary

For release 10:00 a.m. (EDT) Wednesday, April 24, 2013             USDL-13-0729

Technical information:  (202) 691-6378  *  cpsinfo@bls.gov  *  www.bls.gov/cps
Media contact:          (202) 691-5902  *  PressOffice@bls.gov


     PERSONS WITH A DISABILITY: BARRIERS TO EMPLOYMENT, TYPES OF 
        ASSISTANCE, AND OTHER LABOR-RELATED ISSUES -- MAY 2012


In May 2012, half of all persons with a disability who were not working 
reported some type of barrier to employment, the U.S. Bureau of Labor 
Statistics reported today. Lack of education or training, lack of 
transportation, the need for special features at the job, and a person's 
own disability were among the barriers reported. Among persons with a 
disability who were employed, over half had some difficulty completing their 
work duties because of their disability.

These findings were obtained from a supplement to the May 2012 Current 
Population Survey (CPS). The supplement was sponsored by the U.S. Department 
of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy. The CPS is a monthly 
survey of about 60,000 households that obtains information on national 
employment and unemployment for the civilian noninstitutional population 
age 16 and over, including information on persons with a disability. The May 
2012 supplement collected information about barriers to employment, prior 
work experience, career and financial assistance, requested changes to the 
workplace, and related topics for persons with a disability. For more 
information, see the Technical Note.

Selected Characteristics of Persons with a Disability

In May 2012, about 28.3 million men and women in the civilian noninstitutional 
population age 16 and over had a disability. Persons with a disability tend 
to be older than those with no disability, reflecting the increased 
incidence of disability with age. In May 2012, 45.4 percent of persons with 
a disability were age 65 and over, compared with 13.4 percent of those with 
no disability. Women were somewhat more likely to have a disability than 
men, partly reflecting the greater life expectancy of women. In terms of 
educational attainment, 15.1 percent of persons age 25 and over with a 
disability had a bachelor's degree or higher, compared with 33.4 percent 
for persons with no disability. (See table 1.)

About 18.2 percent of persons with a disability were employed in May 2012, 
well below the employment-population ratio of 64.3 percent for persons 
with no disability. In part, this reflects the older age profile of the 
group of persons with a disability. However, the employment-population 
ratio was much lower among persons with a disability for all age groups.

Barriers to Employment

Half of those with a disability who were not employed in May 2012 (that 
is, persons who were either unemployed or not in the labor force) reported 
at least one barrier to employment. When asked to identify barriers they 
had encountered, most reported that their own disability was a barrier 
to employment (80.5 percent). Other barriers cited included lack of 
education or training (14.1 percent), lack of transportation (11.7 
percent), and the need for special features at the job (10.3 percent). 
(See tables 2 and 3.)

A greater proportion of persons ages 16 to 64 reported a barrier to
employment than those age 65 and over (70.8 percent and 29.8 percent,
respectively), perhaps reflecting the fact that older workers are, in
general, less likely to participate in the labor force. Among persons
with a disability age 25 and over, 38.6 percent of persons with a college 
degree who were not employed reported a barrier to employment, compared 
with 52.9 percent of those with less than a high school diploma.

Prior Work Experience

Among persons with a disability who were not in the labor force in May
2012 (that is, neither employed nor unemployed), 87.7 percent had
worked before. This proportion was essentially the same for both men
and women. A person's disability status was established at the time of
the survey; their previous work experience may have occurred at a time
when they did not have a disability. (See table 4.)

The proportion of persons with a disability who were not in the labor
force but had prior work experience increased with age. For example,
21.1 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds had worked before, compared with
96.9 percent of those age 65 and over.

Individuals with a disability who had higher levels of educational
attainment were more likely to have had work experience. About 96.9
percent of those age 25 and over with a college degree had worked
before, compared with 84.7 percent of those with less than a high
school diploma.

Career Assistance Programs

In May 2012, 7.4 percent of persons with a disability reported using
some type of career assistance program within the past 5 years to help
them prepare for work or advance on the job. Career assistance
programs include Vocational Rehabilitation Centers, One-Stop Career
Centers, and similar programs. (See table 5.)

Persons with a disability who were unemployed (that is, actively
looking for work) at the time of the survey were more likely than
those who were employed or not in the labor force to have used some
type of career assistance. About 26.7 percent of persons with a
disability who were looking for work in May 2012 reported using a
career assistance program, compared with 11.1 percent of employed
persons with a disability and 5.9 percent of those not in the labor
force.

Persons with a disability ages 16 to 64 were more likely to have used
a career assistance program than those age 65 and over (12.0 percent
and 2.0 percent, respectively).

Financial Assistance Programs

About 58.4 percent of persons with a disability received financial
assistance within the past year from one or more of the following
sources: Workers Compensation, Social Security Disability Income,
Supplemental Security Income, Veterans Disability compensation,
disability insurance payments, Medicaid, Medicare, and other payments
or programs. (See table 6.)

Among persons with a disability, those who were employed were least likely 
to have received some type of financial assistance within the past year 
(23.9 percent). About 39.8 percent of persons with a disability who were 
unemployed received assistance from at least one of the financial assistance
programs listed above, compared with 67.0 percent for those not in the labor 
force. (Differences in use of financial assistance among those with a 
disability reflect a variety of factors such as age, work history, or 
program eligibility requirements.)

Some financial assistance programs include work limitations in order to 
establish or maintain program eligibility. The large majority (92.5 percent) 
of those who received financial assistance within the past year reported 
that the program(s) they used did not cause them to work less than they 
otherwise would have.

Difficulty Completing Work Duties

In May 2012, just over half of employed persons with a disability reported 
that their disability caused difficulty in completing their current 
work duties. About 27.8 percent reported a little difficulty in completing 
work duties, 21.1 percent reported moderate difficulty, and 7.0 percent 
reported severe difficulty. About 44.1 percent of employed persons with a 
disability had no difficulty completing their current work duties. (See 
table 7.)

Among employed persons with a disability, those age 65 and over were less 
likely to report that they had some difficulty completing their work duties 
than were those ages 16 to 64--46.8 percent versus 57.6 percent. Men and 
women were about equally likely to report difficulty completing work duties 
due to their disability.

Requesting Changes in the Workplace

Employed persons with a disability were more likely to have requested a 
change in their current workplace to do their job better than were those 
with no disability (12.5 percent and 8.4 percent, respectively). Such 
changes included new or modified equipment; physical changes to the 
workplace; policy changes to the workplace; changes in work tasks, job 
structure, or schedule; changes in communication or information sharing; 
changes to comply with religious beliefs; accommodations for family or 
personal obligations; training; or other changes. Among workers with a 
disability, 14.1 percent of those ages 16 to 64 had requested a change in 
their current work place, compared with 3.6 percent of those age 65 and 
over. (See table 8.)

Regardless of disability status, requests for changes to work tasks, job 
structure, or schedule were most common, followed by requests for new or 
modified equipment. (See table 9.)

Persons with a disability who asked for a change in their current workplace 
were more likely to have requested physical changes to the workplace than 
were those with no disability. In contrast, training, policy changes, or 
changes in communication or information sharing were more commonly 
requested by employed persons with no disability.

Commute

About 74.6 percent of persons with a disability used their own vehicle
for their commute to work. Other commuting methods used much less
often by persons with a disability included riding in a friend or
family member's car, taking a bus, walking, and taking the train or
subway. Commuting methods among persons with no disability followed a
very similar pattern. (See table 10.)

Work at Home

In May 2012, about 24.5 percent of employed persons with a disability did 
some work at home as part of their job, compared with 20.2 percent of those 
with no disability. Older workers (age 65 and over) with a disability were 
more likely to work at home than those ages 16 to 64, while men and women 
with a disability were equally likely to work at home. (See table 11.)

Persons with a disability who had higher educational attainment were more 
likely to work at home. For example, among persons with a disability age 25 
and over, college graduates were more than 3 times as likely to work at 
home than those without a high school diploma (48.9 percent and 14.8 percent, 
respectively).

Flexible Work Hours

Employed persons with a disability were more likely than those with no
disability to have flexible work schedules in May 2012 (42.2 percent and 
35.0 percent, respectively). These workers reported that they had flexible 
work hours that allowed them to vary the time they began or ended work. 
(See table 12.)

Over half (57.3 percent) of workers with a disability age 65 and over had 
flexible work schedules, compared with 39.4 percent of those between 16 and 
64 years of age. Men and women with disabilities were about equally likely 
to have flexible work hours.

Regardless of disability status, the likelihood of having a flexible work 
schedule was higher for college graduates than for persons with less 
education.

Temporary Jobs

In May 2012, about 5.8 percent of employed persons with a disability held 
jobs that were temporary, compared with 4.4 percent of those with no 
disability. These workers expected their job to last only for a limited 
time or until the completion of a project. (See table 13.)

For both persons with and without a disability, the likelihood of holding 
a temporary job was highest among persons who had not completed high school.



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Last Modified Date: April 24, 2013
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