In October, Americans observe National Disability Employment Awareness Month by paying tribute to the work and accomplishments people with disabilities contribute to this nation’s economy and by continuing to ensure equal opportunities for all people in this country. The effort to educate the public about the issues related to disability and employment began in 1945. Congress enacted Public Law 79-176, which designated the first week of October as National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week. In 1962, the word “physically” was removed to acknowledge individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month-long tribute to disabled workers and changed the name to National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
In New York, there are agencies and resources available for disabled employees:
- The Ticket to Work is a free and voluntary program that can help Social Security beneficiaries go to work and progress towards financial independence. Individuals ages 18–64 who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) may qualify for this program. Their help hotline is 1-866-968-7842.
- There are career centers to which people can go for employment opportunities or career training. There is an American Job Center office in Yonkers at 28 Wells Avenue. The office phone number is 914-461-0777. Career assistance is also available through the New York State Department of Labor Career Centers. On their website is a listing of centers where career counseling is available. Virtual career counseling is available if a center is temporarily closed.
- The Administrative Employment Network Partners created a directory of providers that can assist those who are disabled.
- The SSA Red Book provides information regarding Social Security benefits, health insurance, and how income will affect your benefits.
- The New York Department of Health has information available on their website regarding the Medicaid Buy-In Program for Working People with Disabilities. They have created a working people with disabilities toolkit.
- The New York Employment Services System website has additional information about Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, and other services available for people with disabilities.