Happy Friday, Enjoy your first official summer weekend!

Every week I wake up at 6:00 get myself and my son ready and head to work. As a night owl this is not my favorite time of the day. In fact it’s not till my coffee hits my system and the caffeine does its magic that I am even very aware of what is going on. In my job there are a lot of demands and there is always something that needs done. Sometimes, I am traveling other times I am grinding away at the keyboard. It can be stressful, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. Having a job is something we like to complain about. If I could only win the lottery or if only I could just stay home is what we like to say. The truth is, though, some of the unhappiest people I have met are those who don’t work. Jobs give us purpose, a stable income, opportunities to grow, a chance to get out and meet people and many other positive things.

According to Gallup, “the longer a person is unemployed the more likely they are to report signs of poor psychological well-being,” the statistics show someone who has been unemployed for 3 to 5 weeks are twice as likely to be treated for depression and increases rapidly the longer a person is unemployed.

While the unemployment rate overall is below 4% in the United States, unemployment for people with disabilities is over 65% that means that people with disabilities are over significantly more likely to be unemployed and worse still people with disabilities are the only group that can legally be paid under minimum wage. Kansas has been working on changing this.

Recently I went to a conference called the Employment First Summit.  This is a summit devoted to helping people with disabilities gain the opportunities that everyone else already has when it comes to employment. The conference talked about the income guidelines for SSI and SSDI and the fact that people can work and still keep their benefits. It talked about the different resources available to people with disabilities to find a job: Vocational Rehabilitation, Centers for Independent Living (like us), assistive technology and much more.  Kansas has many opportunities for people with disabilities to find employment and be successful in it. The problem we are seeing is people don’t know where to get it.

Centers for Independent Living, like PILR, are here to help! We can connect people with disabilities with the resources they need to live independently, this includes employment.  We work alongside Vocational Rehabilitation and we can partner with you to find the job for you.

-Adam F.